CHARITIES and community groups responding to the threat of COVID-19 across the county have received a financial boost from the Cumbria COVID-19 Response Fund this week.

Almost £62,000 from the Fund, established by Cumbria Community Foundation, has been split between 17 local charitable and voluntary groups. The money will help those who have been homeless, provide food for young people living in temporary accommodation, assist the volunteer community effort in various locations and provide online support for those with learning disabilities.

Ulverston Mind is reaching out to isolated people to encourage positive mental health with the support of £1,362 from the Cumbria COVID-19 Response Fund.

The charity anticipates that the ongoing crisis will result in a deterioration of mental health for a significant number of people, some of whom will have experienced a drastic loss of income with associated anxiety and stress. The funding will provide online and telephone counselling through its one-to-one ‘listening ear’ support service to people, who until the pandemic, were attending a weekly peer group.

The volunteer-led ‘Waste into Wellbeing’ project ensures that waste from local shops and supermarkets is turned into nourishing meals or is distributed to areas of greatest need. Run by South Lakes Action on Climate Change Towards Transition (SLACC), it works in partnership with the Kendal People’s Café and Food Hub on Stricklandgate.

The project received £4,000 to support the recruitment and training of additional volunteers and coordinating food donations. Last week, 120 food bags were distributed through three locations in Kendal and the charity states that demand outstrips supply.

Trustee of South Lakes Action on Climate Change, which is the parent charity of Kendal People’s Café and Waste into Wellbeing, Chris Rowley, said: “This is wonderful news for us as it will enable us to cope with the enormous demand for food coming from a variety of sources. We would like to thank the generosity and support of the many among the local food retailers and from our volunteers, who are currently working hard to expand our operation.”

Andy Beeforth, Chief Executive of Cumbria Community Foundation, said: “We can only support these groups thanks to the generosity of our donors.

“Funding projects that are adapting and supporting the most vulnerable in our communities is exactly why we set the Fund up. Over the coming weeks, we will continue to support groups who are responding to the needs in their communities. Looking ahead, our community groups will need support to get back on their feet after the outbreak eases so they can keep up their vital work and I encourage anyone that can donate to the Fund, to please do so.”