£1.5m distributed to South Yorkshire groups during the Covid-19 pandemic

Community groups across South Yorkshire received over £1.5m to help them deliver vital services and support during the Covid-19 pandemic, in a new report published by South Yorkshire’s Community Foundation (SYCF).

Nearly 400 community groups received grants of up to £5,000 as the pandemic began in March 2020, with SYCF initiating a host of changes to their grants processes to make sure funds were distributed swiftly in those exceptional times.

This resulted in communities across South Yorkshire receiving invaluable help with 312,481 people being supported through the amazing commitment of over 10,645 volunteers, with 35% of the total funding given to groups distributing food and essential items.

The SYCF Covid-19 Response Awards and the Response and Recovery Awards allowed community organisations to support people with their mental health, addressing social isolation and providing information and advice, which was particularly important in sharing public health messages.

As a grant giving organisation in a national emergency, we understood the need to distribute funds smoothly and allow community groups to start their activities such as delivering food parcels, picking up prescriptions and I.T equipment for young people to continue their studies

SYCF Chief Executive Ruth E Willis

Activities carried out by community groups included befriending services so people self-isolating had regular contact, activity packs and outdoor activities for children, provision and delivery of food parcels and NHS workers receiving free transport to and from work.

Over 50% of the Response and Recovery grants were distributed to organisations supporting Black, Asian and other minoritised communities, to reflect the disproportionate impact of Covid-19 they experienced. There were also webinars that were delivered to encourage applications from diverse communities.

The societal impact of Covid-19 has been demonstrated in the Vital Signs 2021 report, which shows the importance of community groups providing a lifeline for communities across South Yorkshire

Chris Booth-Mayblin, SYCF Chair

SYCF’s Vital Signs 2021 report, through official data and community feedback, identified Crime and Safety, Disadvantage and Inequality, Work and the Local Economy, and Mental Health, as the four most important needs in South Yorkshire.

Unemployment while young is linked to long-term reductions in wages, increased chances of subsequent periods of unemployment, and poorer health outcomes. Vital Signs led to the launch of a themed programme, called “Moving On Up”, allowing community groups to support young people with pre-employment skills and employability opportunities.

Notes to Editors:

  • South Yorkshire’s Community Foundation helps to support and build strong resilient communities across the region. It provides community groups with grant funding through its many donors, to help people facing hardship and disadvantage alongside those working to improve the communities they live in. SYCF connects people, who care about South Yorkshire and want to invest in supporting the Foundation to build stronger and healthier communities. Over the last 35 years South Yorkshire’s Community Foundation has awarded more than £31 million in community grants. sycf.org.uk
  • We have avoided use of the term BAME throughout this report as it has been highlighted as homogenising and confusing by some of the organisations we have worked with on this fund. Instead, we have used “Black, Asian and other minoritised ethnic groups” in line with our colleagues at UKCF. We are reflecting on how we can improve the language we use to reflect the distinct but unique needs of those communities who experience racial inequity.