believe housing has announced new support for projects tackling isolation and financial hardship during the coronavirus outbreak.

At least £10,000 has been allocated to the Seaham-based housing association’s new Coronavirus Crisis Fund. The funding will be directed at community groups in most parts of County Durham, and some neighbouring areas, to keep vulnerable people connected and to provide help with food at a time when many people are seeing new financial difficulties due to the economic impact of the virus.

Projects that are expected to benefit include foodbanks, help with shopping for vulnerable people, and schemes that help families with food while free school meals are not available. Initiatives that look after wellbeing remotely, create virtual social groups or workshops and deliver activities for families are also likely to be awarded funding.

The Coronavirus Crisis Fund will follow the same model as believe housing’s hugely successful community grant programme. Two funding streams of up to £500 and up to £1,000 have been created for the new crisis fund. It is open be open to community groups or organisations and schools that work in areas covered by believe housing. A simple application process will be maintained to ensure that fast turnaround funding decisions can take place and get work underway.

Groups that have previously received funding from believe housing’s standard community investment scheme will be eligible to apply for funding again under the crisis fund alongside groups that have not previously been given support.

believe housing’s Community Investment Team Leader, Angela Stobbart, said: “We’re switching our funding focus to help as many people as possible during these unprecedented times. This new crisis fund has been designed specifically to help those that need it most, whether that is with support for their mental health or for their financial wellbeing. We’re taking applications immediately and we’re really keen to hear from any organisation in the area that is looking for backing to improve what they can do for their communities during the coronavirus outbreak.

“Whether you’ve worked with us before or have never thought about funding from believe housing, we’d really like to hear from you if you’ve got a relevant community project that needs support.”

Full details of the Coronavirus Crisis Fund are available on the believe housing website, or by calling the Community Investment Team on 0300 1311 999.