Chichester mayor’s Covid fund to close after providing £11k of support to those in need over past year

The Mayor’s Hardship Fund, which has provided more than £11,000 of support to those in greatest need during the Covid-19 pandemic, is coming to a close as restrictions lift and traditional services return.

Thursday, 27th May 2021, 10:07 am

The initiative was set up in May 2020 by councillor Richard Plowman, who was succeeded as mayor of Chichester by John Hughes earlier this month, and supported 58 individuals and organisations over the past 12 months.

Mr Plowman said: “Following discussions with the newly formed Chichester Community Network, I was painfully aware of the plight of many people within the city, and how the pandemic’s restrictions on support and services was going to exacerbate this for many, along with job losses and financial hardships.

“Myself and my colleagues were keen to provide an immediate and practical response, and to ensure that those in greatest need could receive practical help without extensive bureaucracy causing delays.

Former Mayor of Chichester Richard Plowman launching the Chichester Neighbourhood Plan in 2019

“The incredibly positive collaboration between Chichester City Council, Chichester Welfare Trusts and Chichester Community Development Trust was a very powerful, productive and positive force.

“We are delighted with the outcome of this project.”

In addition to the direct support received by many, referrals were also made to Chichester Welfare Trusts for those needing ongoing support.

Practical tasks undertaken by the mayor’s Hardship Fund team included supporting individuals with food shopping, replacing broken white goods, replacing broken ovens and other cooking equipment and supporting individuals with travel, amongst other tasks.

Ruth Taunt, welfare officer for Chichester Welfare Trusts, said: “It has been a privilege to speak with many individuals who, despite their own difficulties, have retained a warmth, generosity of spirit, and sense of humour.

“In many instances they have continued to give to their own communities regardless of the very real hardships and uncertainties they have themselves experienced.

“Moreover the thanks and feedback we have received has been most moving, and in turn we would like to pass on our thanks to all of those who have been involved in this fund – in donating money, supporting the distribution of goods and referring individuals in need of support.”

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