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London Covid-19 Response: Bulletin 8

From the Funding, Community and Voluntary Sector cell of the London Covid-19 Strategic Coordinating Group. This weeks bulletin includes funding opportunities such as for charities supporting people experiencing homelessness and the London Community Response fund as well as COVID-19 related news and resources.

Funding

The Department for Education has announced the creation of a £37 million fund to support children with special educational needs and disabilities in 2020-21. The multi-million-pound settlement will help low-income families with seriously ill or disabled children with the cost of equipment, goods or services – from washing machines and refrigerators to sensory and educational equipment that they might not otherwise be able to afford.

The Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government has announced £6 million of emergency funding for frontline homelessness charities who are directly affected by the COVID-19 outbreak. Homeless Link will be distributing the fund on the ministry’s behalf to facilitate this support to the sector. Organisations must be small to medium sized (up to £5 million annual turnover), that currently work directly with people experiencing homelessness and where more than 50% of beneficiaries are people experiencing homelessness.

As part of the Government’s plan to tackle loneliness during the coronavirus lockdown, the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport has launched a £5 million Loneliness Covid-19 Grant Fund. The objectives of this fund are to provide effective, targeted relief for those most at risk of loneliness as a result of Covid-19. The fund will make grants of between £500,000 and £1,000,000. The deadline for applications is 29 May 2020.

The London Community Response, launched four days after the start of lockdown, has now awarded over £11m to support the capital’s community and voluntary organisations during the pandemic. More than 50 funders have contributed to the Response, with founding funders the Mayor of London, the City of London Corporation’s Charitable Funder the City Bridge Trust and Bloomberg L.P. The total funds pledged across the collaboration now stands at over £18m. The London Community Response is currently taking applications for crisis response grants for up to £10,000. A further funding programme will be announced in early June.

Sick Pay Rebate Scheme

The Government announced that it will be launching a new online service on 26 May for small and medium-sized businesses (including charities) to recover coronavirus-related Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) payments they have made to current or former employees.

Mental Health and Well Being

The theme of Mental Health Awareness Week (18 – 24 May) is kindness. Every Mind Matters has expert advice and practical tips to help you encourage your residents and followers to take time to look after their mental health and wellbeing. You can also access a range of Every Mind Maters resources to help you celebrate the week, including social media graphics and posters on the Campaign Resource Centre.

Travel and Transport

From Monday 18th May, Transport for London (TfL) will be stepping up public transport service levels to make journeys as safe as possible for people who have no alternative other than to use public transport. This is in response to national restrictions on movement being carefully and gradually lifted. The latest government guidance around using public transport can be found here.

TfL has announced restrictions on the use of Freedom Passes (stopping free travel for under 18s and reduced free travel for over 60s) as a condition for receiving Government financial, to help with the loss of revenue caused by lockdown measures.  The restrictions have not yet come into effect, so Freedom Pass holders can carry on using their pass as before. Any changes to the scheme will be published here.

Schools re-opening

The Department for Education has published its overview of the scientific information on Covid-19 which draws on information from the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE) and its sub-group the Children’s Task and Finish Working Group, as well as the broader advice from engagement with Public Health England.

London boroughs secure PPE to protect the vulnerable

London boroughs have agreed a new pan-London partnership to secure emergency supplies of personal protective equipment (PPE) for care homes and other crucial local services on the Covid-19 frontline. The initiative is expected to result in more than 48 million PPE items becoming available for all London local authorities to distribute in the coming weeks, as care services across London continue to face intense pressures. The story was covered in OnLondon and the MJ.

National Coronavirus Testing Programme Expansion

Secretary State Matt Hancock, has announced that all symptomatic people in the UK are now eligible to receive Covid-19 tests. Other details in his announcement include:

  • All symptomatic people over the age of five now eligible for testing.
  • Essential workers are prioritised for testing.
  • A loss of smell or taste being added to the list of COVID-19 symptoms which send a signal to people and their household to self-isolate.