NEWS: 8,000 groups have benefitted from Tesco Bags of Help funding to support local communities during Covid-19

A new report has found that 8,000 groups across the UK have received over £4 million emergency funding from the Tesco Covid-19 Emergency Response Fund to support their work to help communities throughout the pandemic.

The grant programme, administered by Groundwork, was created to support groups which experienced disrupted services, or had a need for a new service, as well as existing groups that were experiencing increased demand due to Covid-19. Examples include supporting food banks, setting up telephone services to support beneficiaries and setting up an online patient service.

The fund was first launched on 1 April 2020 and provides a single payment award of £500 to organisations which are supporting vulnerable groups during Covid-19. Groups across the UK are encouraged to apply for funding, including voluntary and community organisations, schools, registered charities and Parish and Town councils.

The report, which examines a period of activity between 1 April and 17 July 2020, found that 63% of the applications been from registered charities, with community and voluntary organisations making up 20% of the applications.

Close to half of the applications received were to fund existing activity due to disruption following the coronavirus outbreak, with a third of funding going towards new services. The remaining applications were from organisations who had experienced an increased demand on their existing services.

While funding has supported a variety of different projects, children and young people have benefitted the most from the funding and other groups such as older and socially isolated have also been supported.

The report also highlighted that the speed in which the funds were allocated to groups also played a key role in ensuring communities were supported.

Caithness Community Connections, said:

The funding we received allowed to us to respond quickly and effectively within our local community. It’s important when people are stressed about their situation that they can get help as soon as they need it so they feel supported, and we are able to do that.

The grants have also been integral in ensuring that families and households had food during the coronavirus outbreak, with 40% of applications mentioning ‘food’ in their project description, including food parcel distribution to those most in need. Mental health and wellbeing have also been an application focus, with groups running online support forums for their service users. Safety was also a key factor, with groups applying for funding for PPE equipment.

Kenward Trust, an organisation helping those affected by addiction, homelessness, and crime, said:

The £500 has helped us purchase vital PPE to ensure that we can keep both our residents and staff safe and help us keep the virus off our site in Yalding. We have also been able to purchase bedding so that we can utilise more of our accommodation both to be more bedrooms to meet the increase in demand we have been facing.

Graham Duxbury, national chief executive, Groundwork, said:

What is clear from the findings of this report is the importance of timely support and funding for local communities. The Covid pandemic has meant many local community groups have lost funding at precisely the time when their services have been most needed. We’ve seen how small amounts of money distributed quickly can play a vital role in ensuring local projects thrive and can continue to support those who are most vulnerable in the most challenging of times.

Claire de Silva, Head of Local Community and Media, Tesco, said:

We are so grateful that our continued work with Groundwork quickly enabled so many people, charities and community groups to find a lifeline of vital support throughout the Covid19 crisis. To see how our support was received in such a positive way by so many thousands of individuals is incredible. The insight from this report will help to shape our thinking around how we can continue to really benefit local communities in the future.

Read the report

Find out more about the programme