28th April 2020

Laura Thurlow

The Community Foundation for Surrey urges people to continue to donate as Surrey’s charities face increased demand.

The Surrey Coronavirus Response Fund, established by the Community Foundation for Surrey, has reached the remarkable milestone of £1 million raised. The Foundation, which brings together local donors with those providing positive solutions to the issues facing Surrey, has already distributed more than £600,000 from the emergency fund.

Laura Thurlow, Chief Executive of The Community Foundation for Surrey says:

“The generosity and response of our community to this crisis has been extraordinary. This milestone is the clearest example yet of what our community is able to do when we come together. And whilst this is definitely good news, the reality is there are still hundreds of groups who are in need of funding. I am certain this £1 million milestone will inspire those of us in Surrey who can help, to donate now so we can keep on helping and plan for the crucial next stage of support.”

The £1 million figure includes £326,700 from the National Emergencies Trust Coronavirus Appeal, and more than £717,000 in donations from generous local donors and partners. This concerted effort has ensured the Foundation has been able to quickly award emergency funding to 122 community groups reaching more than 90,000 beneficiaries across Surrey.

Funding needs continue during uncertain times

These emergency grants have been used by charities to cover unexpected expenses. Sarah Beasley, Scheme Manager at Home-Start Runnymede and Woking, and her team were surprised when they discovered many families lacked simple basics for their children, such as craft materials, pens and paper:

“Our family support worker offered to bring around some colouring books for the children. And the mum said, ‘OK, yeah, that’ll be great. But we don’t have any crayons or pens.’ And that was when it really hits us that actually so many families don’t have anything. So what we’ve used some of our [grant] funding for is a whole load of resource packs.”

The urgency has also seen the charity, which supports families with young children through their challenging times, distributing its Christmas donations in April due to the sudden need for toys and games. Sarah Beasley continues:

“Obviously that will be a challenge when it comes to Christmas. But we just thought, actually, this is where the real need is now. It’s the kind of decision that needs to be made straight away – and we just have to do it.”

Other charities are finding themselves unexpectedly struggling to meet their essential running costs during a period of increased demand. Jen Clay, Fundraising and Partnership Manager at Oakleaf Enterprise, a mental health charity based in Guildford and serving Surrey, says:

“The £5,000 grant from The Community Foundation for Surrey, from the emergency fund, that was one of the very first grants we received. And I remember it being such a moment of hope, because to be honest, that was at the start where we really were concerned whether Oakleaf was financially going to make it through this.

We don’t know when the lockdown is going to lift. We don’t know when fundraising will resume. We expect a shortfall of £100,000 this financial year, which for us a small charity is huge. We need to make sure that our core costs are covered so that not only can we be there during this crisis, but we can also be there on the other side when we’re only going to see an increase in the need for our services.”

Laura Thurlow continues:

“So many of our community groups have had their fundraising efforts put on hold whilst demand for their services only continues to increase. We are grateful to everyone for the amount we’ve raised, yet we know we need to keep looking ahead to that next milestone. Together we can make sure that this emergency fund is there for our community’s charities even beyond the lockdown – just as they have been there for so many in Surrey during this crisis.”

The National Council for Voluntary Organisations (NCVO) have estimated that charities across the UK stand to lose £4 billion in 12 weeks as a result of the crisis.

Charity and community groups interested in applying for Coronavirus Response Funding, can find the eligibility guidelines online and apply online here. Applications can be made either by filling out a short online form or by selecting a time for a telephone interview with a CFS volunteer.

To donate
Donations to the Fund are collected securely online through Virgin Money Giving and by direct bank transfer.

A list of additional grantees is available here.