In the 14 weeks of operation the Voluntary Services Emergency Fund (VSEF) has awarded almost £7.5million in response to emergency grant requests from voluntary organisations on the front line in Wales. VSEF was funded by Welsh Government to support the voluntary sector to expand and adapt services, meeting new challenges caused by the pandemic.
The activity funded by VSEF has helped the sector support the most vulnerable across Wales in response to COVID-19, projecting engagement with almost 6,000 volunteers and supporting over 700,000 beneficiaries over the coming months. The work of voluntary organisations over the last four months has been incredible and invaluable, providing communities with essential lifelines, tackling isolation, and improving community cohesion.
BMMR Parish Trust, for example, used VSEF grant funding to expand their food hub and food distribution services, responding to an increase in requests for support with essentials in their community.
Entering the recovery phase
As lockdown measures are eased and voluntary services resume some face to face activity, Welsh Government and WCVA will open a new phase of the emergency grant scheme to enable the sector to address different challenges in the coming stages of the pandemic.
VSEF in its current form will be closing to applications on 31 July 2020. From the 17 August 2020, the new phase of grant funding will become available to help the sector address the challenges now arising as we move into the recovery phase of the pandemic.
The aim of this funding will be to contribute towards a fair and just recovery in Wales. Guidelines on what will be funded in the next phase of the grant scheme are currently being developed, and further details will be announced as soon as possible.
If you are planning on applying to VSEF ahead of July 31, please contact Sian Baker Maurice on 02920 431778, before you submit, to discuss your proposed request.