Thu, 16th July, 2020
As we know, all charities had to close their premises, and curtail their services, just like all business in the island. But charities support the most vulnerable in Jersey society, and they couldn’t just sit back while the pandemic gripped us all. Charity clients needed more support than ever, and charities stepped up to the plate with pragmatism!
Keeping people fed was the one most important issue from the beginning – if people couldn’t leave their house to shop, how would they feed themselves? An army of people stepped forward to help, and Malcolm Ferey of Jersey Citizen’s Advice Bureau was redeployed to Gov.je to set up a task force to harness this outpouring of love for those in need.
Through the ‘connectme’ pages on Gov.je people who needed it could ask for help with shopping and supplies and collecting prescriptions, walking the dog! However many charity clients depend on home help or meal deliveries, and as the majority fall in to the ‘high risk’ group, they needed that extra help.
So charities that could, diversified to re-engage their volunteer force to cover all these tasks for their clients, and those clients that couldn’t afford it would receive a bag of basic foods, food and supplies from the food bank, a cooked meal daily if they needed it, a phone call or a visit, from a distance, of a friendly face to let them know they are not forgotten. Many charities collaborated with other charities and businesses to provide these services.
Donations to provide food and meals poured in from the private sector and from individuals, and as the charities were using volunteer help, the money went directly to the cost of providing this, no overheads.
With no fundraising events possible, charities were drawing on their reserves, using Gov.je payroll scheme for their staff salaries, engaging with landlords for a ‘rent break’, finding any way possible to get by. The short term is not so much of a problem for many, it will be the medium to long term that will begin to bite without any fundraising money coming in, and the Jersey Funders Group and individual funding bodies are geared up for this situation.