Coronavirus: Hackney Council supports community groups but calls on government to do more

Cllr Caroline Selman on The Narroway Hackney Central

Cllr Caroline Selman on The Narroway Hackney Central - Credit: Archant

Over £370,000 will be invested in Hackney’s voluntary and community sector (VCS), as part of a coronavirus support package outlined at an emergency cabinet meeting this month.

Local voluntary and community organisations have been vital to the borough’s response to coronavirus despite challenging financial circumstances.

Hackney Council’s cabinet member for community safety, policy and the voluntary sector, Cllr Caroline Selman, said: “VCS organisations are paramount to supporting communities throughout this difficult time and beyond.

“The government needs to recognise this, and take concrete, robust measures to support local authorities’ efforts to ensure the sector is given the support it both needs and deserves.”

Cllr Sellman and Hackney mayor Phillip Glanville wrote a letter to chancellor of the exchequer Rishi Sunak last month calling on the government to do more to recognise the key strategic role of the sector and the challenges it now faces amid the Covid-19 crisis.

Sunak responded with an additional £750 million cash boost for the VCS. However, the National Council for Voluntary Organisations (NCVO) has estimated the sector stands to lose £4 billion nationally over the next 12 weeks.

The council, in partnership with Hackney Council for Voluntary Services (HCVS), has submitted evidence of their concerns to the government inquiry into the impact of coronavirus on the charity sector.

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It has called on the government to establish emergency grant and ‘stabilisation’ funds to assist charities and voluntary organisations as they continue to provide crucial services during the crisis and in the future.

In light of the pandemic, Hackney Council has lifted restrictions on grants, funded local responses to the outbreak and suspended rent on council buildings.

It has also joined forces with Volunteer Centre Hackney to set up a Volunteering Hub which has seen thousands of residents sign up.

Cllr Selman said: “Hackney’s incredible voluntary and community sector has shown remarkable resilience throughout the coronavirus crisis, adapting quickly to support our communities in these unprecedented circumstances.

“We recognise the fundamental importance of the sector and the challenges it is facing. That’s why we have worked closely with our partners to develop a sustainable support package, to ensure that our vital VCS organisations have the help that they need in both the short and long term.

For the latest coronavirus news from Hackney and across London follow our live blog here, visit our corona virus page, or join our Facebook group here.

Or to find more groups, networks and organisations like this in Hackney providing support during the Coronavirus lockdown visit our There With You Essential List.