The COVID-19 pandemic has hit many charities hard. We round up just a few of the extraordinary organisations that could do with every bit of help they can get right now.

On 8th April, Chancellor Rishi Sunak announced a £750m package to keep struggling charities going during the coronavirus crisis, much of which will go towards vital organisations big and small on the frontline. And yet, as Mr Sunak noted, the government cannot match every pound of spending that the UK's 170,000 charities would have received this year.

This means that many charities that do vital work to support a myriad of important causes could be under threat of closure. Here are just a few philanthropic organisations, campaigns and trusts that could do with any help we are able to give right now.

The NHS


What would any of us do with the NHS? The work of its nurses, doctors and other key workers is always humbling, and never more so than now. Putting their own lives on the line for ours, they are, unequivocally, heroes, every last one. This NHS Charities Together Campaign had raised a brilliant £26, 519,411.25 at the time of writing – a fitting show of support from a very grateful country. If you would like to add to the fund, you can do so here.


Beauty Banks


The founding purpose of Beauty Banks, the brainchild of journalist Sali Hughes and beauty PR Jo Jones, was to address the growing issue of hygiene poverty and to establish cleanliness as a basic human right. Since the outbreak of COVID-19, it has set up a Go Fund Me appeal to help those in direst need. Money raised goes towards providing emergency hygiene parcels, which include soap and hand sanitizer, to the vulnerable. At the time of writing, it had already almost raised double its £50,000 target. A hugely worthy cause, every penny is spent on help getting directly to those who need it most.


Royal Trinity Hospice


When a relative or friend needs hospice care, it can be an emotionally tough experience for everyone concerned – and that’s without a pandemic as a backdrop. Heartbreakingly, with lockdown in place, friends and family are now unable to visit in-patient loved ones receiving palliative care towards the end of their lives.

Royal Trinity Hospice on Clapham Common is the oldest hospice in the country, having been founded in 1891, and it offers incredible palliative support for people in central and south-west London. The doctors, nurses, volunteers and other key staff who help in the day-to-day running of this beautiful place, where patients each have their own balconies overlooking landscaped gardens and are encouraged to enjoy their final days in whatever ways they wish, are extraordinary people who need all the help they get at present. The campaign is especially urgent since all thirty-two of its charity shops, whose income it relies on, are currently closed. The charity has set up an urgent appeal to raise £3million in the next three months to safeguard its services. Do, please, donate if you can. Hospices provide such compassionate care, free of charge, at a time when we need them most; now is the moment that they need us the most. There are, of course, many other hospices throughout the country that similarly need donations; do visit Hospice UK to find out how you may help.


Age UK


As Age UK well knows, loneliness is a very real problem for many older people. Now, with the necessity of self-isolation, many are desperately missing the companionship that the charity is so brilliant at providing, and which can so often be a lifeline. With every donation, Age UK is better placed to connect people with friendship calls to lift their spirits and provide much needed human interaction. For anyone who wishes to volunteer, reaching out by the telephone can also, very often, prove mutually beneficial – at no time more than now as we are all stuck in our homes.


Mind


Lockdown is, of course, vital to halt the spread of COVID-19, to protect vulnerable people, and to safeguard – as far as possible – frontline key workers (both their health and from being overwhelmed with the number of cases needing critical care). But for many, staying at home is not as simple as it sounds – not least for those with existing mental health issues. Self-isolation, whether alone or with others, is exceptionally difficult for anyone who normally relies on human interaction for help. Mind operates the Mind Infoline, which helps people to connect with local support, as well as Elefriends, an online support community that connects people virtually so that they feel less alone. Just £8 will help with a new call, while £21 pays for an hour of Elefriends.


Refuge


One very grim side effect of lockdown is that those living with abusive partners or parents are currently trapped inside with them, with no means of escape. Calls to domestic violence helplines and websites have risen exponentially since we all went into isolation. The tireless work of Refuge provides – often literally – a lifeline, helping those in danger out of it as best it can. The charity is running a COVID-19 campaign to keep its work going; £5 a month could provide supplies for women in refuges; £10 a month could help a child cope with isolation; and £15 will help Refuge’s staff to work from home and continue to offer support throughout lockdown to those in desperate need.


Women’s Aid


Similarly, Women’s Aid is providing essential support for women in dangerous domestic situations. That its helpline wait time is currently at twenty-three minutes speaks volumes. The charity urgently needs £200,000 to keep its services going. If you can, please do donate here.


The Royal Marsden


As the coronavirus death toll hits grim new milestones daily, it is important to remember that other threatening illnesses have not gone into abeyance. Their treatment and care is now made significantly more difficult, both due to the pandemic itself and to a consequent dearth of funding. The specialist oncologists at the Royal Marsden do exemplary work with cancer patients in London and Sutton. Do consider donating to its COVID-19 Emergency Appeal, funds from which will be used to support frontline staff and patients, the latter of whom are dealing both with their primary conditions and the fact that they are also at graver risk should they catch the virus. If you do have cancer, or suspect that you might, do note that you can still get in touch with Maggie’s Centres, a charity that provides all manner of support to cancer patients, at present over the phone. Meanwhile, the brilliant Macmillan Nurses offers this highly useful guide to coronavirus for anyone who has, looks after, or has had cancer.


Red Cross


If you feel you’d like to help with the pandemic but you’re not sure where best to channel your money, the Red Cross is a great option. It has partnered with the National Emergencies Trust to support those in need, and all donations will be distributed across local charities and grassroots organisations that are helping those affected.


Crisis


It is sad reflection of the world’s inherent inequality that those who are already face hardship and privatin are likely to suffer worse from the pandemic. Why? Because if you are homeless, it is more difficult to protect yourself from COVID-19. Self-isolation and constant hand-washing are simply not options for people in crowded shelters, many of whom already live with existing lung conditions. Crisis delivers care packages to those who need it most throughout the country, as well as delivering mobile phones in order that everyone can follow current advice and keep in touch. If you are able, do donate here.


By Nancy Alsop
April 2020

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