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Long-term support will be the next focus for Cambridgeshire Coronavirus Community Fund

Michael O'Toole, CEO of the Cambridgeshire Community Foundation which runs the Cambridgeshire Coronavirus Community Fund. Picture: Keith Heppell
Michael O'Toole, CEO of the Cambridgeshire Community Foundation which runs the Cambridgeshire Coronavirus Community Fund. Picture: Keith Heppell

Long-term support to help the most vulnerable recover from the Covid-19 crisis will be the next focus for the Cambridgeshire Coronavirus Community Fund.

It has so far raised £761,000 for charities and groups to help those affected by Covid-19, and the target for the fund, which is supported by the Cambridge Independent, remains trying to reach £1million to further assist the work in the short-term.

However, attention is also turning to look at how to support particular charities and groups focused on vulnerable communities in the future and assist them in adapting to cope.

Michael O’Toole, the chief executive of the Cambridgeshire Community Foundation which runs the coronavirus fund, said: “The short-term crisis response was absolutely rightly about making sure people were safe, and those that were very restricted and isolated within their homes had the basic things they needed to be safe – food, medicines, a certain level of support.

“There are going to be people like that for much longer so I’m not going to say that phase of our work is complete, but what we are looking to do now is to identify who are the hardest hit in our communities and to support the organisations that are particularly working to support those most vulnerable people. It’s going to need a longer-term approach because the charities and community groups that are working with those people and those communities need to adapt the way they work given the change in circumstances.

“The other thing that I’m really mindful of is the impact of the last few months, and the months to come, is going to be long-term for many people.

“There is already quite a lot of talk and beginnings of research into the longer-term mental health impact on people, the isolation and the trauma the whole thing is going to cause.

“People have been without the kind of support they need for a long period.

“We need to look at the long-term support for the most vulnerable to help communities recover from the virus.”

The role will be multi-faceted, in both working with charities and raising money.

Mr O’Toole thanked the support of the public and businesses who have contributed to the fund to be able to assist in the short term. But there is likely to be more of a strategic approach goingw forward, which involves talking to a range of bodies and businesses.

He said: “The next phase is going to be more about helping communities recover from the impact of the virus, and the longer-term impact like the economic impact, health and mental health impacts, and these are going to be lasting for months and months, and probably years and years to come, so we need to find ways to help those communities recover.”

He added: “The fund is going to be really targeted on trying to help those people that have been hardest hit and are going to be feeling the effects of the coronavirus crisis the longest.”

To make a donation to the fund, go to justgiving.com/campaign/Coronaviruscommunityfund.

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