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NEWS > Charity Sector News > The Community Foundation of Ireland Issues New Covid-19 Response Grants

The Community Foundation of Ireland Issues New Covid-19 Response Grants

Combatting inequalities which have widened during the Covid-19 Pandemic is the focus of a new round of grants being announced today (Monday 15th March 2021) by The Community Foundation for Ireland.

Combatting inequalities which have widened during the Covid-19 Pandemic is the focus of a new round of grants being announced today (Monday 15th March 2021) by The Community Foundation for Ireland.

Projects being supported include those combatting food poverty, traveller discrimination, the digital divide and those supporting people living with autism as well as communities impacted by climate change and women wanting to exit prostitution.

The Foundation for Ireland is providing €495,000 for lifeline services, advocacy and research.

The grants are being made from a Covid-19 response fund which was established 12-months ago and has through corporate and private donations provided grants on an on-going basis.

Overall, the Foundation says pandemic support has accounted for €9m of the €15m in grants it has provided in the past 12-months.

Projects receiving support in this latest round include:

Food Poverty: Meals and Wheels is more important than ever for increasing numbers of families. Up to 25 local organisations in rural communities are receiving funding to keep this vital lifeline service going. There will be a strong focus on those which are at risk of falling into food poverty because of the impact of the pandemic on household income.

Family Resource Centres: Family and Senior Citizen support, hygiene hampers, counselling and digital training are among the services operated out of Family Resource Centres in Dublin and Limerick which will be supported.

Access to Education: The Covid-19 pandemic has disproportionately affected children, especially those with special needs and those who are vulnerable. Continued school closures since January have left thousands of children at risk of neglect and abuse. The Children’s Rights Alliance ‘Get Schools Back’ campaign asks that extra supports are provided to children who have fallen behind and that schools be supported in providing a summer programme.

Migrant Workers: The Migrant Rights Centre will run a programme to advance the rights of migrant workers in agri-food and domestic work, homecare and for undocumented workers by providing information and advocacy, securing vaccinations and presenting data and experiences of migrant workers to the government.

Digital Divide: Exchange House runs a variety of training programmes and after-school programmes for Travellers, but the Covid-19 restrictions has meant that many Travellers have difficulty accessing the programmes online through lack of digital equipment or Wi-Fi. Exchange House has established a laptop loan scheme to reduce this digital divide and looks to expand this to the after-school programmes.

Access to Work: Discrimination in the workplace prevents many Travellers from accessing or maintaining work and Covid-19 has exacerbated these issues as unemployment is high and job opportunities are scarcer than pre-Covid. Business in the Community is setting up the Traveller Employment Programme to provide supported employment opportunities for Travellers and to change the ways Travellers are perceived in businesses.

Exiting Prostitution: Collaborating with Ruhama and the Immigrant Council of Ireland the Sexual Exploitation Research Project at UCD aims to document the process of exiting and recovery from sexual exploitation, the barriers women face and the supports required to rebuild lives outside of the sex trade.

Autism: AsIAm aims to pilot an Autism Information Line which will provide access to evidence based, professional guidance and support for autistic people and family members. AsIAm will highlight issues raised through the helpline to key decision makers in the HSE to advocate for further development of the service.

Young People: Young Social Innovators works to harness and develop young peoples’ passion to change the world for good. Covid-19 has sparked a desire in young people to help their communities deal with the impact of the pandemic but there is no formal mechanism for young people to make change. Young Social Innovators is therefore developing an online platform for young people to share ideas and gain support and funding to improve the lives in their communities.

Engaging Communities on Climate Justice: Covid-19 has starkly shown that some communities fare much worse than others when faced with a crisis. The current climate crisis shows this inequality even more acutely. Community Law and Mediation has recently established the Centre for Environmental Justice to engage communities, particularly those experiencing disadvantage, provide legal support and advocate for law reform.

Announcing the funding Denise Charlton, Chief Executive with The Community Foundation for Ireland said:

“For over a year we have been working with communities where the impact of Covid-19 has widened inequalities. The need today is unfortunately as great as it was at the very start of this crisis. We are hugely grateful that our private and corporate donors recognise this need and are responding. This latest round of funding comes at a time when our donors are digging deeper than ever before. However, it is also a harsh reality that the demand and need continues to outpace the generosity we are seeing.

The Community Foundation remains absolutely committed to working in partnership with those providing lifeline services, our donors and with Government to try and ensure that no-one is left behind or isolated as we all continue to deal with the impact of the pandemic.”

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