A new community grants programme has been launched in Bath and North East Somerset, Swindon, and Wiltshire to invest in schemes to support groups and communities that have been affected by Covid-19.
Since March 2020, more than £140m has been donated to the NHS Charities Together (NHSCT) Covid-19 Appeal, including the funds raised by Captain Sir Tom Moore.
NHSCT has developed these donations into a grant scheme aimed at supporting community partnerships with over £400,000 allocated to BSW.
Locally, the national charity has delegated responsibility for managing the funding to The Forever Friends Appeal, the charity of Royal United Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust in Bath.
The Forever Friends Appeal will lead the programme with help from other local NHS charities, including Brighter Futures at Great Western Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, Stars Appeal at Salisbury District Hospital and Headlight at Avon and Wiltshire Mental Health Partnership NHS Trust.
Grant allocations will be made up of smaller grants up to £10,000 (£5,000k a year for two years) and larger grants capped at £40,000 (£20,000 a year for two years).
Grant applications above £40,000 may be considered if the proposed scheme demonstrates a number of organisations working in partnership.
Projects will need to be related to Covid-19, involve working in partnership with NHS organisations, and prioritise the most vulnerable and marginalised groups which have been impacted by the virus, with a key focus on deprivation, ethnicity, and mental health.
Rhyannon Boyd, Head of Fundraising, The Forever Friends Appeal, said: “Covid-19 has shone a harsh light on some of the wider health inequalities that persist in our society.
“It has become increasingly clear that the pandemic has had a disproportionate impact on many who already face disadvantage and discrimination. “With just over £400,000 made available to our local area, we’re so excited to be working in collaboration with our surrounding hospitals, and NHS Charities Together to launch this funding opportunity.
“We’re looking forward to building upon our relationships with local community organisations and helping to support our local hospitals.”
Tracey Cox, Chief Executive, BSW Partnership, said: “Throughout the pandemic, we saw how the voluntary, community and social enterprise sector played a critical role in reaching our more marginalised communities and understanding and responding to their needs to avoid crisis.
“This new funding opens doors for more fantastic work that supports our most vulnerable people affected by Covid-19 and helps ease pressures on the local NHS.”
Applications can be received up until 20 September 2021 and will be reviewed independently by the BSW Partnership, which brings together many of the organisations providing local health and care services including our acute hospitals, local councils, and community providers.
Decisions on which applications are successful and the allocation of funds will be confirmed by November 2021.
For further information, or to apply for funding, visit the Forever Friends Appeal website, www.foreverfriendsappeal.co.uk/community-partnerships-funding.