Since the start of the pandemic, Clarion Futures, the charitable foundation of Clarion Housing Group, has awarded more than £500,000 in grants to organisations including food banks, community groups and local charities.
The COVID response grant programme was established in April 2020, and has proved to be a lifeline for many organisations struggling to cope with a surge of demand for support, coupled with a need to adapt services during the pandemic.
Foundation 92, the official charity partner of Salford City Football Club, is one of the organisations to have received a grant from Clarion Futures. Foundation 92’s core mission is to help people to improve their lives through sport, but when the pandemic hit the organisation shifted its focus and began offering a wider range of community services.
Tom Hutton, Head of Foundation 92, said:
“When the first national lockdown was announced, we had to completely change our services and we couldn’t have done that without the support of Clarion Futures. We launched a new telephone befriending service to help people stay connected and have also launched a new initiative delivering essential packs, providing people with ingredients to cook healthy meals, as well as toiletries and activity packs to enable them to keep active. It’s a big change to what we were doing before, but we know how much it’s needed and are grateful for Clarion’s support to make it happen.”
Alongside the COVID response grant programme, Clarion Futures has continued to support people into employment. Since April 2020 Clarion Futures has supported 2,033 people into work, including 144 people who have set up their own business. Training courses traditionally delivered face-to-face have been shifted online, and more than 3,700 people have benefited as they try to improve their skills and employability.
One of those supported into work is Binnur, 61, who had experienced a loss of confidence after being out of work for several years due to ill health. She received tailored support from Clarion Futures which led to her securing a temporary role at the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) processing benefit applications. She has since been promoted into a permanent role helping other people find work and credits Clarion Futures for her change in circumstances.
“The support I’ve received from Clarion Futures has been life-changing. They helped me not only improve my skills and update my CV, but rebuild my confidence and thanks to them, I’ve secured a permanent job with the DWP as a work coach. It’s amazing to know that I’ll now be able to pass on the advice and guidance I’ve received to help other people like me find work.”
Phil Miles, Director of Clarion Futures, said:
“I am proud of the breadth of support that we’ve been able to provide to our residents over the last 12 months through Clarion Futures. Keeping community groups afloat and supporting people into work has never been more important, and we will continue to do all we can to help as we start to recover and rebuild from this pandemic.”