Covid response

Like many other grant giving Foundations, the Peter Sowerby Foundation responded rapidly to the Covid crisis in March 2020. The trustees designated up to £1m of funds to respond to the urgent needs of healthcare workers, individuals who found themselves in need due to the crisis - especially the most vulnerable in society - and local grass-roots level organisations in North Yorkshire. Grants have been made to the following organisations:

British Red Cross - £150,000 to support British Red Cross’s Covid response in the UK. This support is focused on four key areas: Protecting the most vulnerable in our communities; Support for the NHS; Supporting vulnerable groups who are ‘off grid’, and; Addressing economic insecurity. 

University of Exeter - £150,000 towards a global trial entitled “BCG vaccination to reduce the impact of Covid-19 in healthcare workers (BRACE)”. The BRACE trial aims to find out whether the BCG vaccine could work as an early intervention to protect healthcare workers and other high-risk groups.

Two Ridings Community Foundation - £100,000 grant to the Community Foundation to be used for Covid-19 response activities in North and East Yorkshire. <

Fareshare - £75,000 to support FareShare’s Food Team. FareShare UK’s Food Team works with food businesses across the country to make sure each of the 22 Regional Centres in their Network has the food they need to pass on to the local voluntary sector. 

Guys & St Thomas’ Trust - £25,000 grant to fund the establishment of support for staff in mediation and handling difficult conversations; and to fund the creation of staff wellbeing zones. The wellbeing zones provide dedicated space for staff offering a range of ways to relax, access support and care programmes and learn about new coping strategies with a focus on the specific issues facing staff during the Covid crisis. 

Multiple Sclerosis Society – £25,000 to support the salary of a specialist MS Nurse to expand the MS Nursing Service Helpline. The grant enabled the MS Society to recruit an additional specialist MS Nurse to support people with MS with expert medical advice during the Covid crisis.

Horatio’s Garden - £24,000 to fund the salary of the Head Gardener at the Midlands Centre for Spinal Injuries. Coronavirus restrictions meant that the usual fundraising for this role could not go ahead so the Peter Sowerby Foundation trustees were glad to be able to support this valuable resource for patients, their families, and NHS staff. 

Whitby & District Community Transport – A grant of £12,500 to this small charity which provides transport for elderly and disabled people and others in need who are unable to use other forms of transport to access essential services. The grant was given to address the devastating impact of the pandemic on the charity as well as the elderly and vulnerable people it supports. 

Having made these grants to address immediate, urgent needs in the Spring, the Foundation is now focusing on how it can continue to support charities and projects through the longer-term challenges brought about by the Covid crisis. It will shortly be announcing a new fund to address the gap in the provision of, and access to, the services provided by charities and community groups.