In response to the impact of Covid-19, Catalyst set up a coronavirus voluntary sector support fund to help small charities and voluntary sector organisations continue to support their communities.
Through this, we have awarded £750 to the Volunteer Centre Kensington and Chelsea to help them continue their amazing work through this exceptional time.
The Volunteer Centre Kensington and Chelsea recruits, trains and places volunteers across the borough, helping hundreds of local people gain skills, independence and routes to employment through volunteering work. The centre runs projects to help ex-offenders, people with learning disabilities and physical disabilities, people experiencing mental ill-health and local people who are out of work or on low, insecure incomes. Through face-to-face mentoring and individual support, it helps people reach their personal goals, explore their interests and skills, build relationships and develop their CVs.
When social distancing measures were introduced, the centre had to quickly switch to providing this support online and over the phone. The grant they received from us helped them to buy and install additional digital equipment to enable their life-changing projects to continue.
Catalyst’s Director of Community Investment, Sahil Khan, said:
‘We set up the fund to help charities and community organisations to continue to deliver their vital services during this unprecedented time, and to support people who are most at risk during prolonged periods of isolation. The fund is open to organisations working in our neighbourhoods that are supporting those with low and insecure incomes, young people, older people, vulnerable adults, and those experiencing mental ill-health. Groups can apply for up to £2,000 to help cover costs such as staffing and volunteers’ expenses, equipment and general running costs.
‘We were delighted to award £750 to The Volunteer Centre Kensington and Chelsea to help them get the additional equipment they need to continue to support local people during these especially challenging times.’
Michael Ashe, Chief Executive Officer of the Volunteer Centre Kensington and Chelsea told us:
‘Under the pressure of the pandemic, when we were working so hard to move our services from face-to-face to telephone, email and video-conferencing so that we could continue to support our vulnerable clients and help so many generous people to volunteer their time to help others, to get a call from Catalyst offering help was a lovely surprise and a great boost! Their grant was one more piece of the jigsaw for our local charity, dedicated to connecting people who want to give their time to help others and develop themselves, at a really critical time.’
One the centre’s volunteers explains how being involved has changed her life:
‘I used to be my mum’s carer and when she unfortunately died, it left a big void in my life. I didn’t have anyone to occupy my time and to keep me company. So someone suggested that I volunteer to get me out of the flat.
‘I started volunteering nearly 20 years ago for another charity doing admin in their office, which made me feel needed again. As I used to be employed in an office, it felt like old times, and I felt part of the workforce again. I’m still there, and during that time, I’ve volunteered at other organisations as well, including the Volunteer Centre.
‘Volunteering gives me motivation to get out of the flat as I don’t go out much. It takes my mind off my troubles, and I can leave them at home while I’m out!
‘I’ve attended various training workshops organised by the Volunteer Centre, and received training and gained experience in different computer applications and other office procedures. The Volunteer Centre has also provided me with a telephone befriender during lockdown who phones me once a week, of which I am grateful, as some weeks she is the only person who I speak to. Her phone call reduces isolation for me.’
To contact the Volunteer Centre Kensington and Chelsea call 020 8960 3722 or visit www.voluntarywork.org.uk