Newcastle Permanent Charitable Foundation is bringing forward the allocation of $750,000 for new initiatives that provide immediate support to overcome specific community hardship and enable community-led recovery as the COVID-19 restrictions ease, according to an announcement on Wednesday.
"Our communities, families and individuals face significant challenges arising from unemployment, financial hardship and social isolation as a result of lockdowns and social distancing requirements," Charitable Foundation chair Phil Neat said.
"Compounding these challenges is the difficulty our normally effective community-services organisations and charities are facing in reaching out to people in need while keeping their staff and dedicated volunteers safe.
"Since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Charitable Foundation has worked with its existing charity partners to move quickly and make funding available earlier than planned and to provide support where it is most needed.
"We are announcing today that $750,000, which normally would have been allocated for more general community support initiatives, will go towards to COVID-19 related programs and projects."
Rather than calling for open grant application from community organisations the Charitable Foundation Board has decided to work with its existing trusted charity partners to support projects and programs including:
- Delivering care packages and outreach services, using vehicles and assets previously funded by the Charitable Foundation to reach families and young people most at risk of losing contact with social services in regional communities
- Support for Mental Health, including assisting Batyr to launch online mental health discussions with school and university students for Term 2, and a partnership with government health services in the Hunter / New England and Central Coast to deliver targeted information on the impact of financial hardship on mental well-being, and
- New initiatives that support community-led recovery through capacity building, social connections, and paths to training and re-employment.
"Since establishment 17 years ago by Newcastle Permanent Building Society, the Charitable Foundation has been deeply committed to making a meaningful difference to the lives of people in regional communities," Mr Neat said.
"The board's decision is designed to deliver immediate impacts as some of the support programs will be launched this week and still more will continue throughout the recovery phase."
In addition to the new support measures, the Charitable Foundation is maintaining its commitment to its regular funding program, and will be announcing next month a further $800,000 for new community projects which were approved by the Board prior to the COVID-19 lockdown and social distancing requirements.
"Our charity partners have always been there when needed most by the community so it is vital we continue to work with them on the non-COVID initiatives to rebuild for the future, now and for generations to come," Mr Neat said.