Over the past couple of months, our brilliant, established voluntary and community sector, have worked alongside mutual aid groups, who are self-coordinating to deliver support. They have rallied together to care for the most vulnerable in our communities and support the frontline response to the coronavirus pandemic. These groups embody the inclusive, welcoming and caring nature at the heart of Hackney’s ethos, and we continue to be inspired by their passionate commitment to supporting their communities in the face of the greatest global crisis in modern times. 

Hackney’s voluntary and community sector (VCS) – one of the strongest in the country – has adapted rapidly to respond to this crisis, helping to serve the community in new ways. However, as with all areas of the economy, the sector is facing immense challenges – including meeting increased demands, coping with high staff absences, moving services online and struggling with financial hardship. 

Both ourselves and our VCS partners are deeply concerned about the impact that coronavirus will have on the small voluntary and community organisations that are central to building community resilience and cohesion during this time of intense national and local strain. 

To help address these issues, our partners Hackney Council for Voluntary Services (HCVS) have rapidly repurposed their Hackney Giving fund. This fund is already making a significant difference to the sector at a local level, having provided grants of £3,000 each to five brilliant frontline organisations that are helping people to access food and essentials during the crisis. The organisations so far are African Community School, Cambridge Heath Salvation Army, Community African Network, Day-Mer Turkish and Kurdish Community Centre and the Schoenefeld Foundation

Hackney Giving is helping these organisations to continue the incredible work that they’re doing during these difficult times, and we want to help support these efforts as best we can. As part of our recently-announced £370k coronavirus support package for our Voluntary and Community Sector, we have committed to matching donations from residents and businesses to Hackney Giving’s Coronavirus response fund. 

Through Hackney Giving, residents and businesses can donate money knowing that it will be fairly and diligently distributed to the key organisations who are supporting communities locally. 

I would like to give a huge thanks to the residents and businesses who have donated to the fund so far. Your support is playing a key role in helping both the local people who rely directly on voluntary and community organisations’ services, as well as supporting the sector to take the strain off our NHS and the other key services that we all rely on. 

I would also like to thank Hackney CVS for the incredible work that they do. For over two decades, they have worked tirelessly to make Hackney fairer because they, like us, believe strongly that everyone deserves the best start in life and the opportunity to reach their full potential regardless of race, background, socioeconomic status, sexuality, gender, age or disability. 

We are extremely grateful for the work that they have done to support our VCS and we continue to be inspired by their ability to adapt rapidly to meet the needs of the sector. 

If you want to find out more or to donate to Hackney Giving’s Coronavirus Response Fund, you can visit hackneygiving.org.uk.

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