Ealing Council has announced the creation of a £1.5m COVID-19 Emergency Fund to aid essential community services across the borough. It will provide support for organisations, providers and individuals where financial support is needed as a result of the unprecedented challenges created by Coronavirus (COVID-19).
Grant funding will be for:
- Food assistance – the council, voluntary and charity organisations delivering food provision to people vulnerable to COVID-19
- Childcare provision – providers of childcare including nursery schools
- Community service providers – carrying out vital services to the elderly, vulnerable and young. This includes transport providers such as Ealing Community Transport
- Voluntary sector organisations – which are working to address the challenges caused by COVID-19 and not covered by the above groups. This includes Stepchange and Ealing Community and Voluntary Service
- Exceptional Hardship – for individuals experiencing great difficulty due to COVID-19. This fund can be used to support a range of areas including enhanced Local Welfare Assistance provision.
The council also commits to:
- Continuing to pay existing essential service providers regardless of their ability to deliver the full range of services expected in normal operating circumstances
- Offering preferential payment terms to support its providers and suppliers and their cash flow needs at this time of challenge
- Offering support to businesses and residents to pay their bills in a flexible way with payment deferral options. This includes for the self-employed who can defer council tax payment by up to six months.
This Emergency Fund is part of a series of more than £9.5 million worth of measures, investments and interventions approved by the council’s cabinet yesterday (23 March 2020), which provides vital support to the borough as it responds to the effects of COVID-19.
These measures come in addition to the new council tax support scheme which gives those faced with financial hardship easier access to immediate relief on their council tax.
Leader of Ealing Council, Julian Bell said: “We recognise the truly unprecedented social and economic impacts of COVID-19 on our residents and businesses. We have therefore set up an Emergency Fund to meet this hugely difficult challenge, ensuring that those affected are given the support they need.
“We are issuing grant funding to a range of local organisations, providers and groups as they continue to offer vital services to local people, as well as pay staff and suppliers at this uncertain time.
“Ealing’s community is its greatest strength and across the borough people are standing together to help our most vulnerable residents. We have come together with charities, local groups, businesses and concerned residents to rapidly respond to this unprecedented situation and have launched/ will soon be launching a new Ealing Together platform. “
Ealing Together is designed to support the helping activity already going on in the borough. People who would like to support this activity can go to Ealing Together and volunteer, give cash donations to local charities or support in another way. Residents can also safely request support for themselves, a vulnerable person in their family or someone else they know through a structured referral mechanism.
Councillor Bassam Mahfouz, cabinet member for finance and leisure said: “COVID-19 has already had a profound effect on us, nationally and here in the borough. We will do all we can to provide financial support to those who are playing a vital role providing for vulnerable residents and those who have been severely impacted by the effects of this virus both in terms of their health as well as financially.
“The package I have announced today is the beginning of measures we will take to ensure residents and organisations in our borough are supported throughout this most difficult of times. If you are someone, organisation or business who thinks they will be impacted, then please check what support is available to you and share this information with others.”
Further details on the Emergency Fund will be available on the council’s website in due course.