LGBT+ and disability consortia will hand out first of NET’s 'at-risk group' Covid-19 funding

LGBT+ and disability consortiums will be first to distribute £12m of National Emergencies Trust (NET) Covid-19 funding for at risk groups.

The NET funding is for charity partnerships to hand out to offer targeted support to communities who are being disproportionately impacted by the health crisis.

In the first wave of this targeted funding £2m is being distributed to two onwards grant partners. These are DPO Covid-19 Coalition, which is led by Disability Action NI, and the LGBT+ Consortium.

This aims to ensure that decisions on awarded grants will be made by those with lived experience of the issues faced.

Each of these groups have been picked as they are established UK wide consortia involved in frontline service delivery. The funding will be used to bolster services such as helpline support and specialist advice.

Further funds will be distributed by additional partners and consortia, to be announced within weeks.

“By providing specialist support for certain needs and at-risk groups, our new partners will help the thousands of at risk people who find it harder to access help and who have been more difficult for us to reach so far,” said NET deputy-chair Gerald Oppenheim.

“Helpline services will feature prominently as they offer a lifeline for those less able to leave their homes, those seeking advice from someone like them, and those who are looking for charity support for the first time due to the sudden and extraordinary circumstances caused by coronavirus but are unsure where to turn.”

The LGBT+ Consortium is an umbrella body for lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans+ voluntary and community organisations, with a membership of 370 organisations.

“Emerging data from across the LGBT+ sector has highlighted the disproportionate effect Covid-19 has had on our communities,” said Paul Roberts, chief executive of LGBT+ Consortium.

“Issues of negative mental health, domestic abuse and loneliness being reported to helplines across the country, already high before the pandemic, have only increased during lockdown. Many in our communities have struggled with living in difficult lockdown situations where they cannot be ‘out’ or have had issues with accessing vital medications.”

Meanwhile, the Disabled Peoples Organisation (DPO) COVID-19 Coalition, led by Disability Action NI, is a partnership with Disability Wales, Inclusion Scotland and Inclusion London.

Andrea Brown, chief executive of Disability Action NI, said: “What has become clear, from Disability Action’s COVID-19 survey, is the feeling of many disabled people that their voices are being lost in the noise or worse, simple ignored, in the confusion that is unfolding from COVID-19.

“The opportunity of this consortium to come together to provide direct support to grassroots DPOs across the UK, to ensure they are strengthened and sustained to provide vital advice and support, will enable local action for local needs.”

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