Charities say Covid-19 Emergency Fund helped the most vulnerable

Following the news that the Steve Morgan Foundation Covid-19 Emergency Fund had closed and been replaced with a new £20m pot, a number of the charities have spoken of the difference the grants made to the vulnerable people they support. 

In total the Covid-19 Emergency Fund handed out 611 awards totalling £5.66m and helped 1.4 million people.

The fund was launched in March and is being replaced with a new £20m pot, made up of £10m from the Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport (DCMS) and £10m by Steve Morgan.

St Helens-based Teardrops Supporting Your Community (formally known as Supporting the Homeless) had been facing a financial blackhole until the Steve Morgan Foundation stepped in with emergency funding of £14,500.

CEO Denise Kelly said: “The Steve Morgan Foundation has been a lifeline to so many in our community during the pandemic. Without their support we believe families living in extreme poverty in our community would not have been able to feed themselves or their children.” 

Stick ‘n’ Step is a charity with bases in Wallasey and Runcorn and has been helping children with cerebral palsy for nearly 20 years. It received two grants totalling £38,788 from the Covid-19 Emergency Fund and has adapted its classroom because of the pandemic.

Janet Ratcliffe, trusts and grants fundraiser at Stick ‘n’ Step, said: “The funding contributed to the shortfall in salaries for six months of our conductors who were responsible for the provision of our online service delivery and for providing support to the children and families during what was a very challenging time for them.”

Wirral-based JourneyMEN supports men’s mental health and was awarded £22,292 from the Covid-19 Emergency Fund.

It was the brainchild of former Wirral policeman Phil Roberts, who described the support of the Steve Morgan Foundation as ‘critical’.

He said: “Since opening five months ago, we have been able to provide early counselling intervention within 24 or 48 hours. Now having over 100 registered men, we know from our own experiences that 50 per cent of them have either thought of or attempted suicide. These are men whose lives are now being saved from reaching breaking point either again or for the first time.”

Cheshire-based Passion for Learning is a long-term partner of the Steve Morgan Foundation.

The charity helps children from some of the most disadvantaged areas of Ellesmere Port, Chester and Winsford but had to stop all its child-facing work when Covid struck.

 Viv Couche, development manager at Passion for Learning, said: “The Steve Morgan Foundation’s fast response and understanding of the needs in our local communities meant that we could act quickly and effectively. The feedback we received from families described our support as life-changing, particularly for children with additional needs who were most impacted by school closures. 

“The increase in requests for resources when we launched our webform was almost overwhelming, but Steve Morgan Foundation’s timely support enabled us to continue this service throughout the summer and reach hundreds more children than we’d ever envisaged. To say we consider Steve Morgan Foundation as a true partner rather than a funder, doesn’t fully convey how much we recognise and value their support.”

Homebaked is a community-owned bakery in Anfield baking fresh bread daily, making award-winning pies and providing a cafe producing good quality locally sourced food. 

A lot of its income came from Liverpool FC fans so it was hit hard when Covid-19 struck and supporters were banned from stadiums.

Homebaked received £28,942 from the Covid-19 Emergency Fund and treasurer Sally-Anne Watkiss said the awards were a life-saver.

She said: “The grants enabled the bakery to remain open producing up to 100 loaves per day, five of the team were kept off furlough and could develop new business streams and deliver care to our community. The grant bought us time until we could reopen.”

In North Wales a not-for-profit company set up by two brothers during Covid-19 to produce face visors for healthcare workers received £2,130 from the Steve Morgan Foundation’s Covid-19 Emergency Fund.

·         Joseph, 13, and Isaac Sparey-Taylor, 11, were challenged by their parents to produce some PPE using a 3D printer they’d been given for Christmas and ended launching their own community interest group called PPE Hwb Wrecsam.


Fundraising manager Alison Thompson said the money from the Steve Morgan Foundation enabled them to buy a hydraulic press to speed up production.

“We currently use it to stamp visor screens out of huge rolls of specialist material,” she said. “The hydraulic press allows us to increase the speed of production of visor screens to help us use more of that capacity.”

Since taking delivery of the hydraulic press the group has provided 13,000 approved face shields to the community free-of-charge.

Liverpool-based charity Brunswick Youth and Community Centre supports young people in Bottle and received two grants for £8,558 and £8,962 respectively.

Development manager Val Johnson said Covid-19 had a ‘devastating impact’ on their centre and income generation.

She said: “The Steve Morgan Foundation was swift in its development of a grant programme that enabled us to quickly put in place food/non food stuff essentials for our families and the vulnerable elderly.”

Thanks to the funding the charity was able to provide 8,050 lunches, deliver 620 hot evening meals and 896 food hampers over a 24-week period.

They were also able to provide 5.5 tonnes of food to supplement meals; £980 in Asda vouchers and £3,600 in vouchers towards school uniforms.

Knowsley-based Caring Connections delivers 5,000 hours of social care a month across Liverpool City Region to reduce feelings of isolation and improve people’s levels of independence.

It was awarded £7,200 by the Covid-19 Emergency Fund, which enabled them to deliver social wellbeing hampers alongside wellbeing calls over a six-month period. 

CEO Paul Growney said: “All of these individuals were in need of support and had a care need which required them to shield from the rest of the community. This service was extremely successful and popular amongst our communities.”

Wirral-based social enterprise Happy Times Activities  provide social activities for vulnerable adults with a range of complex needs and was awarded two grants totalling £10,000 by the Steve Morgan Foundation.

Founder Helen Oliver said: “The first grant from the Steve Morgan Foundation enabled us to provide telephone support and a variety of activities by mail. This then progressed into us recording activities and providing home access via our website.  

“After launching our online activities it was later identified that 15 of our regular participants were unable to gain access.  Your second grant fixed this and enabled us to purchase equipment and provide a technology library system.  We cannot put into the words the difference this has made.”

Target Football CIC is an organisation that uses football to create a safer and stronger local community in Toxteth and was awarded two Covid-19 Emergency Fund grants totalling £27,835.

Director Paul Hurford said: “When Covid-19 first struck we pivoted by providing meals to vulnerable people – delivering over 1,500 meals to 105 people for 12 weeks after receiving a grant from the Steve Morgan Foundation.

“We swung into action again by getting our popular summer soccer camps back on when the FA gave the green light to grassroots football resuming. For four weeks in August more than 20 children a day have taking part in the sessions on the grass football pitch at Admiral Park.

“The summer holiday activities have been part-funded by a grant from the Steve Morgan Foundation, which enabled us to take on two extra coaches and subsidise some of the spaces.”

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