Shelter and Age UK to hand out share of £12m NET ‘at risk’ funding

The National Emergencies Trust has announced the next wave of charity led partnerships to distribute a share of its £12m Covid-19 funding for targeting at risk groups.

The money is being used primarily to bolster helplines and digital support services among those being hardest hit by the pandemic.

Age UK will receive £1.5m in funding to support its helpline, website and friendship services and support services provided by Age Scotland, Age NI, Age Cymru and Age UK’s subsidiary charity the Silver Line helpline.

At the beginning of lockdown calls to Age UK’s advice line increased by 88% and demand for its telephone friendship service rocketed by 290%.

“Older people are desperately in need during this challenging time, and the money will help us to keep our essential national Information and Advice and friendship services running, making a huge difference to the lives of so many older people,” said Age UK chief executive Steph Harland.


Meanwhile, Shelter is leading a £1.47m partnership to fund 31 new advisers for its emergency helplines in England and Scotland. It will also support services delivered by Shelter Cymru and online help offered by Housing Rights in Northern Ireland.

In England it is estimated that 322,000 private renters are in arrears due to Covid-19.

“Our services are working non-stop to help people experiencing the trauma of homelessness to find a safe place to stay, and to prevent more people from losing their homes as the economy falters,” said Shelter chief executive Polly Neate.

“With NET’s support, Shelter and its partners in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland hope to answer even more calls for housing help.”

Mental Health

A third new partnership announced has also been announced this week, with the Heads Together Coalition that includes the charity Mind. It will use NET funding for remote support and the forthcoming Heads Together Campaign, to encourage people to seek support around their mental health.

“We are facing huge demand for our advice and information about staying well and looking after your mental health, and the money we directly receive will be invested in our Infoline, a vital service for adults struggling with their mental health,” said Mind chief executive Paul Farmer.

NET deputy chair Gerald Oppenheim, added: “Our research shows millions of people expect to seek help from a charity for the first time in the coming year. For these people, being able to turn to a well-known name, seek support close to home and use an anonymous service, such as a helpline or webchat, are priority factors in deciding where to turn to.”

Previously announced partnerships for NET’s at risk group fund involve among others Refuge, Refugee Council as well as the LGBT+ Consortium Helpline Alliance.

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