Grants of up to £5,000 were distributed to 63 community groups as the pandemic began in March 2020, with SYCF initiating a host of changes to their grants processes to make sure funds were distributed swiftly in those exceptional times.
This resulted in communities across Doncaster receiving invaluable help with 35,734 people being supported through the amazing commitment of over 836 volunteers, with 48% of the total funding given to groups advancing people's physical and mental health, wellbeing and safety.
The SYCF Covid-19 Response Awards and the Response and Recovery Awards allowed community organisations to support people with their mental health, addressing social isolation and providing information and advice, which was particularly important in sharing public health messages.
SYCF Chief Executive Ruth E Willis, said: “As a grant giving organisation in a national emergency, we understood the need to distribute funds smoothly and allow community groups to start their activities such as delivering food parcels, picking up prescriptions, and I.T equipment for young people to continue their studies.”
Activities carried out by community groups included befriending services so people self-isolating had regular contact, activity packs and outdoor activities for children, provision and delivery of food parcels and NHS workers receiving free transport to and from work.
Second Generation provided a weekly hot meal service to elders of Doncaster's African-Caribbean community during the lockdown.
Alex Watson, Second Generation’s chairperson, said: “It’s been wonderful to see the impact our efforts have made on the communities we have been serving, this was personified by a comment given to one of our volunteers whilst delivering meals to community elders, who was told ‘You bring happiness’ and that sums it up.”
Over 45 per cent of SYCF’s Response and Recovery grants were distributed to Doncaster organisations supporting black, Asian and other minoritised communities, to reflect the disproportionate impact of Covid-19 they experienced. There were also webinars to encourage applications from diverse communities.
“The societal impact of Covid-19 has been demonstrated in the Vital Signs 2021 report, which shows the ever more importance of community groups to provide a lifelife for communities across South Yorkshire,” said Chris Booth-Mayblin, chair of SYCF.