COVID projects receive over a million pounds in first wave of Hope Beyond grants

27 OCT 2020

Hundreds of churches and Christian charities have already responded to Allchurches’ call to deliver projects to support communities post COVID. With applications continuing to flood in, Allchurches is delighted to award its first round of grants under its new Hope Beyond programme.

Cheques will be landing on the doormats of 149 churches and Christian charities in the next few days, providing over £1.25 million funding. The projects to benefit will all play a key role in giving communities hope as the longer term impact of the Coronavirus pandemic becomes clearer. 

Grants under the Hope Beyond programme will fund projects offering new and enhanced activity and support as a direct response to the pandemic, and that respond to the three areas of major need identified in Allchurches’ recent research:

• Projects responding to issues of loneliness and isolation 

• Projects focused on growing community resilience and promoting positive mental health and emotional wellbeing

• Projects focused on growing technology capability and resilience, particularly increasing digital capacity to support communities online

While we continue to assess the hundreds of applications already received, we’re excited to share some of the first examples of projects hoping to make a difference and support their communities in these difficult times…

Youthscape, Luton

Youthscape has developed a new, national online resource hub responding to the urgent mental health crisis among young people that has been exacerbated by the pandemic. Allchurches’ £30,000 grant will support Youthscape to launch the ‘Headstrong’ website and offer young people a lifeline through live support and advice in a format that they can readily access, understand and relate to.

Chris Curtis, CEO of Youthscape, said: “Allchurches Trust has stepped in at a crucial time for our work with young people. Young people aged 12 to 24 are the age group whose mental health has been most impacted by COVID-19 and we are desperate to put the church at the heart of responding to that need. This grant means we can now get to work to make that happen.”

Children and teacher at school
Chichester Cathedral Trust
Local statistics suggest that there are more 65-year-olds living alone in Chichester than average - a group that are 15% more likely to feel isolated and less digitally engaged. ‘Community Connect’ is a project that aims to increase the reach and delivery of Chichester Cathedral’s ‘buddy’ scheme, set up prior to lockdown to tackle loneliness, anxiety and digital isolation. £5,100 from Allchurches Trust will support in the recruiting and training of ‘digital buddies’ to reach out to the most isolated in the cathedral’s community.
East Belfast Mission
The prevalence of mental illness is 25% higher in Ireland than in England, according to recent statistics. £20,000 funding from Allchurches will enable East Belfast Mission to expand its Care Counselling Service and Community and Pastoral Service so that it can provide vital emotional and practical support in a time of crisis.
Restored, Teddington, Middlesex
A £7,500 grant will support Restored to develop its communication and training materials to empower churches to tackle the isolation felt by women affected by domestic abuse, during, and after, lockdown. The National Domestic Abuse Helpline shared that reports of abuse were up 80% in June, with more than 40,000 calls being made in the first three months of lockdown. The charity is equipping the church to step up and take a vital role in ending domestic abuse and support those affected in their congregations and the wider community. 
Ykids, Bootle, Merseyside
Ykids, with the support of £15,200 funding from Allchurches Trust, is seeking to employ a digital youth worker to deliver digital content, train staff in digital approaches and create projects teaching young people how they can stay safe online. Before COVID, Ykids recognised a gap in children’s understanding, access, skills and safety around digital channels and want to address this to prepare them for navigating a world that is increasingly moving online!
Children playing hungry hippos game
Arbury Road Baptist, Cambridge
Arbury Road Baptist is supporting its community and bringing people together by creating a safe space for people to support one another, listen and heal. A £10,000 grant from Allchurches will enable the church to employ new staff and increase the remit of existing staff so that they can run support sessions for members of the community who need a helping hand and a listening ear in times of hardship.
Arbury Road Baptist church listening booth

*Header image: Chichester Cathedral

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