Let's Turn This Around COVID-19 Fund handed out in full

28 April 2021

More than £82,000 in funding available through Cheshire West and Chester Council’s Let’s Turn This Around COVID-19 Fund has now been given to community initiatives across the borough.

The Council set up the Let’s Turn This Around COVID-19 Fund on crowdfunding platform Spacehive, kickstarting the pot with a £50,000 contribution. The Westminster Foundation added a further £25,000 and residents, businesses and local funders all donated to the platform.
Community initiatives have been submitting applications to the Council and a panel, including representatives from Cheshire West Voluntary Action (CWVA), has supported more than 40 different projects through the Fund. Any applications for more than £500 have been considered, but most grants have been around £2,000. 

Funding has supported key priorities for Cheshire West and Chester, including food poverty, isolation and befriending services, mental health support, older people’s services, support for children and young people and financial hardship.
  • Friends of the Countess of Chester Country Park has used funding to provide free forest school sessions for families with pre-school children as many families and children have struggled and become socially isolated during the pandemic with no indoor support groups available. The sessions take place in an outdoor environment where people can engage with others safely.
  • Active Buddies is helping children and young people with a range of abilities and disabilities to get active through cycling and trampolining. The project ran a number of sessions over a four-month period that benefited 36 young people, allowing them to attend cycling and a play session in the park and providing a snack. 
  • The Pantry for Blacon is supporting 14 people and 36 families as they collect food each week, with volunteers delivering to those who can’t collect food. Households are encouraged to become members and make a weekly contribution towards the food received so it is more sustainable and people depend on the service less. 
Maria Byrne, Director of Environment and Communities at Cheshire West and Chester Council, said: “Our communities have adapted throughout the pandemic and this crowdfunding effort was a great way for everyone to support those initiatives providing such important services to people across the borough.

“As a Council, we’ve supported community initiatives wherever we can during the pandemic, distributing £500,000 through the original Community Response Fund and further grants through the Let’s Turn This Around COVID-19 Fund.

“We’re now developing the crowdfunding platform on Spacehive, working closely with our partners, so people can add their own projects to the platform and crowdfund for them.

“Spacehive will have a real community feel and be a fantastic place for people to add their projects, reducing some of the pressure around submitting applications for funding as those visiting the platform will be able to donate to causes close to their heart.”

Kate Brown, Director of the Westminster Foundation, added: “Throughout the pandemic, we’ve constantly strived to support children and families in Chester and the surrounding areas. 

“We’ve been delighted to partner with Cheshire West and Chester Council over the last year, originally making a £250,000 donation to the Community Response Fund and now with this support of the Let’s Turn This Around COVID-19 Fund. 

“Supporting our local communities is one of the most important ways we’ll rebuild from the pandemic.”

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