CHARITIES are heartened by a £750m Government lifeline as fundraising efforts dry up because of Covid-19...but they have implored people to keep giving in troubled times to help them survive.

The coronavirus lockdown has triggered a dramatic cut in fundraising events and donations which keep our charities and voluntary groups afloat.


Pleased - Steve Smith, chief executive of Havens Hospices

However, plans announced by Chancellor Rishi Sunak will see £750million of financial aid handed to UK charities.

About £200million has been set aside as a “rescue package” for hospices whose care is essential in our communities.

Havens Hospices, which runs the new £17m Fair Havens in Southend and Little Havens in Thundersley, says it will still heavily rely on the support of communities.

Steve Smith, chief executive of Havens Hospices, said: “It’s heartening to see the importance of hospice care recognised by the Government and the contribution we’re making towards protecting the NHS to save lives.

“For our nursing, medical and support teams on the frontline at both Fair Havens, Little Havens and in the community, it’s a relief to know that they can still provide essential hospice care for the immediate future.

“We are still waiting to hear how Havens Hospices can benefit from this announcement.”

Havens Hospices’ income is starting to decline because of the cancellation and postponement of public fundraising events such as the Southend half marathon.

Mr Smith added: “All of our upcoming public fundraising events have been cancelled so we hope the grant will help reduce some of the pressure our charity was facing regarding income.

“It’s still vital that our community continues their kind and generous support as it ensures we can continue supporting the NHS, caring for patients at the end of their lives and supporting their families.”

Homeless charities also hailed the extra help and Government cash.

Kirsty Fields, 30, founder of Off The Streets in Southend said: “We will be applying for this and it’s going to be a massive help. As we’ve cancelled our fundraising events, we are in need of help.

“The thing is waiting for it come through, we’ve homed 72 people in about 18 months but still have bills and rent to pay.

“The community support must continue and has been amazing even at this time.

“With our events we get the money almost the next day, so of course any Government help is amazing but know there will be a wait.”

The Essex and Herts Air Ambulance Trust has been struggling due to lost funds during the pandemic.

A spokesman said: “The Chancellor’s announcement is great news. We look forward to receiving more details on how charities can apply for the funds.

“Our crews continue to provide a life-saving service to the people of Essex and Hertfordshire 24/7 using helicopters and rapid response vehicles, whilst taking all appropriate precautions.

“Raising funds is even more vital than ever, so please follow us on social media where we detail all the ways you can help our charity.”