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Be part of something wonderful in our community

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Wednesday 26 August 2020, 9am

The COVID-19 pandemic has been a confusing, stressful and worrying time for many people.

Social isolation, financial hardship and hunger have hit some of the most vulnerable families and Individuals in our community and the creators of the Southend Emergency Fund are on a mission to help support these local people in need.

The Southend Emergency Fund has been created to give a helping hand to those individuals who are experiencing hardship during the coronavirus pandemic.

Small grants are made to local community groups and charitable organisations to distribute out to those suffering in the current climate.

Local businessman and Southend Emergency Fund co-creator Alan Kirkman said, “As we begin the gradual exit from lockdown, life will be returning to some sense of normality but many people whose lives have been profoundly affected, will need a little bit of extra help.”

So far, over 40 causes, including families who have children with special educational needs, food banks and hungry primary school children have benefited from SEF support. Organisers are now appealing to local businesses and individuals to help fundraise and become ambassadors for the fund so the practical support offered to vulnerable people in our borough can continue.

Mr Kirkman added, “We are lucky to live in such a community spirited town. We’d love as many people as possible to come up with brilliant fundraising ideas”.

“If anyone would be happy to have a cake or yard sale, do a sponsored walk, hold a coffee morning or even be brave enough to do a sponsored beard shave, we would absolutely love to hear from them so we can support them in their fundraising endeavours.”

Anyone interested in getting involved by donating, fundraising or to find other ways to support the Southend Emergency Rund can find out more via the website



PHOTOS & VIDEO: Hi-Res photos and campaign videos are available, please make contact via email above for copies.

Who has set the Southend Emergency Fund up?
A group of concerned individuals and organisations under the leadership of Alan Kirkman, Peter Dominey, Ivan King, Julie Eddy and Geoff Fulford. The fund is administered by the charity Shared Space and Everymind at work. Biographies are available on the website.  Southend Emergency Fund is under the auspices of Shared Space | Registered charity no 1161862.

What makes them qualified to run something like this?
The key people are all involved in running other charities and business and have a wealth of experience in setting up and running new initiatives.

Why don’t I just give my money to the charity or person who needs it directly?
In a fast-changing situation, we are able to assess the current need with the front line charities and organisations and deliver it to those channels that are able to remain open and in contact with their clients. If giving direct to a charity, if that organisation has to temporarily close for any reason and cannot support their clients, the help will stop, but the money may be tied up and unavailable to those that need it.

How much can I donate?
Any amount you can afford. The website starts at select amounts of £30 + but people can enter less.

How can I donate?
Secure online giving is available via the website

Do you have a fundraising goal?
We are hoping to raise £200,000 minimum as the first target

Which local charities and organisations will benefit from the fundraising?
Any frontline organisation that can currently deliver support such as Southend Foodbank, Citizens Advice Bureau, Turning Tides, Isaiah Project, Peabody Family Mosaic, Olive Tree Counselling, Step Change, Southend CAP Debt Advice Centre, Southend YMCA, HARP, Southend Churches Winter Night Shelters, Safe Steps, The Storehouse (this list is not exhaustive and there will be others who can approach SEF via the website)

What criteria helps you decide who receives funding?
Decisions on awards will be made on the strength of each application, taking into account the following:

  1. Is the applicant organisation active in the Borough of Southend-on-Sea?
  2. Is it still able to address beneficiaries’ current needs in the present crisis?
  3. Is there clear evidence of need?
  4. How many people will benefit from the requested grant and in what ways?
  5. Would any grant adversely affect beneficiaries from accessing Universal Credit or other benefits?
  6. Are the costings realistic and do they represent best value?
  7. What level of unrestricted reserves does the applicant currently hold?
  8. Has the applicant confirmed that they will not withhold any part of the grant for administration or management costs?
  9. Does the applicant hold a UK bank account (as grants will usually be made through BACS)?
  10. Is the applicant able to offer an independent referee who can speak knowledgeably about the organisation?
  11. Have they agreed to return any grant which is not deployed within the agreed time?
  12. What light-touch monitoring would be appropriate for each grant made?

How long from the application will it take for someone to receive the funding?
We have tried to keep admin to a minimum while still protecting donations. There will be a telephone questionnaire to determine need, a donation protocol that will be signed by charity and emailed back and money then transferred on a weekly basis. Subject to donated funds being available the money should be in a charities account within a couple of days.

I am an individual and could benefit from funding, how do I do it?
Individuals would need to be either be known by an existing organisation or they would need to be referred by another agency. To start with we will tap into those agencies authorised to distribute food vouchers but this may well widen according to size of the donation fund. We will also work with SAVS to develop a network of contacts and access points.

I am part of an organisation and would like to apply for funding, how do I do it?
They will apply via the website where they will be able to download a donation application form and request a telephone need assessment call.

How long with SEF run for?
It is envisaged the fund will last until the needs of those affected by the coronavirus have diminished. However, this may be for a considerable time after self-isolation has ended as many will be suffering the effects for an extended period.

Where can I go for more info?
As we are intending to work with existing organisations all public contact will be either through those agencies, the fund website or the Southend Emergency Fund Facebook page.

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Milton Hall School giving food to a family

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