Thanks to National Lottery players and The National Lottery Community Fund (NLCF), we have been awarded a £154,197 lifeline over six months to meet the additional needs arising from the impact of COVID-19 on our most vulnerable clients.
The funding from the NLCF will help clients of our Peer Advisor Network and Peer Circles project. It will support fast emerging needs around digital skills and IT equipment, mental health support, help with employment and establish a crisis fund for the most at risk and socially excluded.
The pandemic and lockdown have had severely detrimental impact on our clients who are at risk of becoming its hidden victims. The ongoing pandemic has meant they are experiencing social isolation, unemployment, poverty and mental health needs at a level we have never experienced in recent years. Many were in the process of turning their lives around when the pandemic struck and clients we had helped into employment were suddenly made redundant and have turned to us again for help.
The Peer Circles team saw their caseloads treble at the start of the lockdown. People undergoing our Peer Advisor Programme were forced to temporarily put their training on hold until laptops and IT connections could be sourced for those who did not have these resources at home.
The NLCF funding, alongside the immense generosity of people who have donated to our COVID-19 Appeal to support clients across our services, means we are in a stronger position to give our clients the practical support they deserve and also help them stay motivated and engaged in their progress.
Ann Griffiths, St Giles’s Peer Advisor Network Senior Manager, said:
"We're incredibly grateful to have received this extra funding. Local services and community-led support have never been so important and these resources will help ensure people with lived experience, who have worked so hard to overcome their own barriers and help others, continue to make all the difference at the heart of this."
Alongside immediate benefits, the support from the NCLF will have a longer-term impact in protecting people from the negative impacts of unemployment and promoting wellbeing, digital inclusion and social connectedness.