Covid-19 Emergency Fund replaced by new £20m match fund

The Steve Morgan Foundation Covid-19 Emergency Fund has closed after handing out 611 awards totalling £5.66m and helping 1.4 million people.

The fund, which was launched in March to help charities across Merseyside, North Wales and Cheshire, 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.

The Covid-19 Emergency Fund was only initially scheduled to run for 12 weeks but was extended until the end of September as charities continued to struggle with the impact of the pandemic. 

Mr Morgan said the original fund had exceeded all its targets, directly helping 181,000 children, 176,000 young people, 746,000 adults and 298,000 older people. 

He said: “When Covid-19 struck it was clear that the most disadvantaged members of society would be the hardest hit again – and we couldn’t allow that to happen.

“We were inundated with calls from struggling charities who found their ability to fundraise had been hit by the pandemic.

“Many charities were on the brink so we launched the Covid-19 Emergency Fund, pledging up to £1m a week.”

The biggest beneficiary of the Covid-19 Emergency Fund by region was Merseyside, which received £3.4m, followed by Cheshire with £1.16m and North Wales with £905,000. 

As well as the £5.66m, Steve Morgan also pledged up to another £1m in match-funding to Cheshire Community Foundation’s Covid-19 Response Fund.

Mr Morgan added: “We’ve supported charities working across the full spectrum of need, including food banks, mental health, homelessness, domestic violence, bereavement, social isolation and cancer support.”

In September it was revealed that Mr Morgan had agreed to match-fund a £10m award from the £85m Community Match Challenge Fund by the DCMS, which the Redrow founder said would help hundreds of charities stay open.

The philanthropist has already given out £50m in grants and committed another £250m since launching the Steve Morgan Foundation in 2001 but warned that the charity sector faced an unprecedented challenge because of the pandemic.

Mr Morgan explained: “The Covid-19 Emergency Fund was only ever intended to be an interim measure but I extended it until the end of September because the need of the charities was so acute.

“Now we’ve launched this new £20m fund and it’s going to make a massive difference.”

The £20m will be split between around 100 smaller North West-based charities and larger charities including Maggie’s; JDRF; and The Reader.

The £10m comes from a new £85m Community Match Challenge Fund by the DCMS and is part of the Government’s £750m support package for charities. 

Under the terms of the DCMS funding the £10m award has to be spent by March 31, 2021, at which point the Steve Morgan Foundation match-funding will kick in.

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