Past Grants | 2020
Street Child serves the most vulnerable in 14 African and South Asian countries, all of which have cases of COVID-19 and are implementing restrictive measures. These communities are the least prepared for, let alone able to respond to the threats of the virus.
Since the end of March, Street Child have reached 3.78 million people with prevention messaging, provided almost 400,000 people with access to handwashing facilities and over 32,000 people have been reached with food, cash and livelihood support.
Their initial focus was on preparation and prevention as well as caring for and where possible, continuing to educate vulnerable children.
To understand the impact of the COVID-19 on marginalised and vulnerable communities and to inform future response planning to meet their needs, Street Child collaborated with over 50 national partners to survey over 12,000 respondents. 56% of respondents reported hunger and starvation as the first and foremost issue of significant concern.
They are now focused on the next stage of their strategy, delivering essential education to the most marginalised and preventing long-term school drop-out.
Mayor’s Fund For London
Through their Kitchen Social programme, The Mayor’s Fund For London offer packed lunches, hot meals and educational activity packs for collection or delivery, to families across London.
The Greater London Authority’s Survey of Londoners report (2019), found 400,000 children aged 16 or under living in food insecurity. Of these, 196,000 were eligible for free school meals or the government food vouchers whilst schools were closed, leaving around 204,000 children in food insecurity without access to free food. This figure is now likely to be a significant underestimate given the rise in unemployment and loss of self-employment income, evidenced by the three million new Universal Credit applications across the UK.
During lockdown, the Mayor’s Fund For London partnered with 29 ‘hubs’ (community groups, youth clubs and primary schools), delivering the Kitchen Social programme across 24 London boroughs, which served 120,000 meals to 36,000 children by the end of the school term (22 July).
Hubs cost £4 per child per day to run, including all staff, preparation and delivery costs. Over the summer holidays further hubs were sponsored to continue delivering the kitchen social programme to those who needed it.
In Cambodia, many of the public were unclear on the symptoms and prevention methods of COVID-19. Cambodia is particularly vulnerable to the virus due to its lack of resources, education & medical staff. CCDO implemented an awareness-raising campaign in a targeted rural area. They worked with Angkor University medical students to reduce public fear and increase knowledge about the virus. They attached loudspeakers to three tuk-tuks, which were driven round rural areas, broadcasting best practice advice. They have also donated soap, informative leaflets and masks to over 100,000 villagers.
During lockdown, all hotel industries, restaurants and schools were closed. Of the 1 million population in Siem Reap province, approximately 80% lost their income as a result.
As rice planting season approached, CCDO decided to offer micro loans of $60 worth of rice seed per farmer. Repayment takes the form of 125kg of rice plus $10 in cash. The loan repayment will fund and provide rice for CCDO’s school breakfast programme, feeding more than 1,000 children, 6 days a week (continuing, socially-distanced), which the farmers’ children benefit from.
The MeeTwo app provides a fully-moderated, anonymous platform for young people to air their concerns and support one another. When schools closed in the UK, posting rates increased by 50% and more than 30% related to COVID-19.
The app now supports 30,000+ users with a team of counsellors, moderators and super-peers. Most significantly, 40% of MeeTwo users are boys, who find it very difficult to ask for help, even though they are three times more likely to die by suicide.
Because young people using the app help each other, the MeeTwo model is a much more economical way to provide support. It costs roughly £25 to support a young person for an entire year. By comparison, it costs £6 to answer a single phone call to a volunteer helpline.
The MeeTwo Mental Help Handbook combines the voices of young people with opinions of experts and a completely holistic directory of ways that young people can help themselves.
- 1 in 5 young people self-harm by age 16 (BMJ, 2017)
- Mental health issues cost the UK £105 billion a year (NHS England, 2016)
Cambodian Children’s Trust
Cambodian Children’s Trust serve a large population of Cambodian urban poor who have little or no access to hygiene or sanitation facilities and Covid-19 is having a devastating effect on this already vulnerable population.
CCT have experienced an increased demand for support, especially from families requiring basic needs such as food, rental assistance and hygiene supplies. Many families are out of work due to shut-down across the country.
During lockdown, more than 1,400 families were given instructions on how to prevent the spread of COVID-19, more than 2,000 meals were delivered to children at home and over 200 students were provided with home-schooling packs to ensure their education continued. In situations where a child or family is experiencing symptoms, CCT are offering food drops to homes so the family can remain quarantined.
In July CCT were able to reopen their youth centres to offer vital support to local children including healthcare, hot meals, supplementary education, extra-curricular classes and counselling.
They have also continued to deliver their Village Hive programme, building resilience amongst local communities and offering various support programmes including financial literacy.
Tukongote Community Projects
The Zambian villages supported by Tukongote have been harshly impacted by the pandemic as locals rely heavily on tourism. With all lodges and tourist facilities closed, there are no income flows. Poor rains this year resulted in crop failures and many families rely on their children being fed at least one meal a day at school.
Zambia manufactures very few of its own supplies. Much comes from South Africa, Botswana and China. With these and other neighbouring countries in lockdown recently, there is uncertainty over the long-term availability of food and supplies.
We helped Tukongote support their 40 staff by contributing to salaries for the next 6 months and ensuring enough food is available. Each salary paid feeds and supports 6 extended families.
They are now focused on developing the Waterberry Tukongote Agricultural Co-operative Project, a sustainable solution to food shortages and over-reliance on tourism. Locals are learning to grow crops and keep livestock so that they can provide food for their community, including local schools. We funded irrigation pipes, fencing, tools, seed and salaries for 2 staff members to coordinate the project.
The Bike Project
Refugees are usually placed in temporary accommodation on the outskirts of town, far from essential services. They’re unlikely to have access to a car and living on £38 per week meant they couldn’t prepare for self-isolation.
The Bike Project have safely delivered over 300 donated bikes in London and Birmingham, since the end of March. They also offer an online service to their community, with group activities to reduce social isolation.
“At The Bike Project we know that being unable to afford public transport means that 89% of our beneficiaries are unable to make essential journeys. In the time of Coronavirus, that might include getting food for a refugee child or urgent medicine. Now, more than ever, a bike offers a lifeline to refugees and asylum seekers, enabling them to access essential services.”
Their ‘Refugee Routes’ challenge allows supporters to cycle the distance of a typical journey taken by refugees, ranging from 51 to 918 miles. Every £100 raised provides a bike to a refugee, plus cycling safety kit and a lesson with The Bike Project’s instructors.
Facing death, injury, persecution or prison, many academics around the world are forced to flee their homes. CARA’s fellowship programme supports 300 fellows (and their families) to study, work or continue their research at a partner university in the UK, on regular visas with no access to state benefits.
Around 100 existing Cara fellows now face uncertainty about whether they can continue their study or research. Delays mean increased living costs of tens of thousands of pounds. 70 new applicants are finding it hard to escape dangerous scenarios at home due to travel restrictions. Some who have escaped, are now stranded in third countries with no means of support.
Fellows undertaking postdoctoral research have two year, non-extendable visas. Many of them have lost valuable laboratory time and may not complete their research. If visa extensions are permitted, this would also result in huge increased living expenses. Universities, now anxious about their own finances, may not be able to subsidise such increases, forcing CARA to seek the funds elsewhere.
St. Giles Trust
St Giles is a charity using expertise and real-life past experiences to empower people who have been held back by poverty, exploited, abused, are dealing with addiction or mental health problems, or caught up in crime.
St Giles show people there is a way to build a better future and help them create this through support, advice and training.
Since late March, their Covid-19 appeal has raised £280,000, enabling them to offer emergency help during the lockdown.
Many of their clients have lost their jobs and are struggling to afford essentials. Lack of access to technology, compounded by added issues around mental health and substance misuse, means that some of the most vulnerable in society could become increasingly isolated and left behind.
St Giles converted their social enterprise café into a fresh food pantry which now delivers free food to more than 700 clients across 18 London boroughs. Food parcels are customised for recipients and include cooking suggestions and advice. They are now hoping to set up another pantry in Leeds.
The Favela Foundation
Rio’s Rocinha favela, situated on a 1 square kilometre hillside is home to more than 250 thousand people. They have little or no access to clean water or healthcare facilities and social distancing is impossible. Most people don’t have enough savings to last more than a week.
Rocinha is famous for its bright colours, friendly communities and art but also its troubled reputation of crime, poverty and over population. Thankfully there are many NGO-led projects providing educational stimulus, training facilities and a safe place to engage with energetic communities.
Lack of state intervention to protect these communities has meant that the residents are having to implement their own responses to the crisis. The Favela Foundation is working with community organisers that are buying, collating and distributing care packages, with household basics and enough food, clean water and hygiene supplies to last for three months. They are also supporting local artists who are making facemasks for residents.
They hope that the provision of care packages will encourage people to stay home, avoiding others while also minimising the harsh financial impacts of not working.
Birkbeck, University of London
During lockdown Birkbeck, University of London received increased applications for their Hardship, Crisis and Needs-Based funds which cover emergency costs and longer-term financial support.
A survey found that 632 students were studying via their mobile phones and those with dyslexia and disabilities were finding it especially challenging to shift to online learning. Via a means-tested scheme Birkbeck provided laptops and suitable internet connections for as many of these students as possible.
Many students have significant digital anxiety and are not confident interacting online, particularly in a “classroom” environment. Birkbeck hope to help to increase digital literacy, skills and confidence of students and help them navigate online environments successfully.
There’s also been a significant increase in counselling and mental health support requirements from students, including a rise in reports of domestic abuse. Many are cut off from vital support in their communities and are unable to access NHS mental health support. Birkbeck are working with a consultant psychiatrist to try and manage some high-risk cases, via online and phone sessions.
Supporting Wounded Veterans
Supporting Wounded Veterans strive to offer independence to wounded veterans via ground-breaking physical and psychological care.
Every year they provide a carefully selected group of medically discharged military personnel with seven days skiing rehabilitation which enables them to regain their confidence and embark up a new path to fitness and wellbeing.
Once back in the UK, veterans join a mentoring and job-search programme that supports them into re-training and employment. The ultimate aim is to help veterans re-integrate into society, ensuring long-term stability for themselves and their families.
A long term challenge for many veterans is living with PTSD. Supporting Wounded Veterans are hoping to get a new study off the ground, focused on supporting veterans with treatment-resistant PTSD.
MDMA psychotherapy treatment in the US is at advanced stage approval trials, with outstanding results – over 60% of those who have previously not responded to other treatments have had positive outcomes and SWV hope to be able to run a study in the UK, in collaboration with London universities.
During lockdown they have continued offering support to veterans via online pain management clinics and mentoring programmes.