DWBL Covid Emergency Crisis Fund

2020 – Now

Thirteen organisations received grants for supporting different vulnerable groups to make sure they were fed and not isolated in lockdowns.

Age Concern Eastbourne – Family Link Up – Community Grant £2,994

The project aimed to support isolated older people in Devonshire West to make weekly video calls to family members. Over the period from 1 May to the end of Sept 2020 between 7 and 10 weekly activity sessions were delivered to isolated and lonely older people. In total over the length of the project 18 older people in the Devonshire West area were supported. The service was delivered through the existing homecare service who were fully trained and equipped to work safely with people in their own homes using Personal Protective Equipment.

Age Concern Eastbourne

Community Stuff – Soup and support – Community Grant £13,800

Sadly ,Community Stuff have since stopped operating but OurNeighborhood CIC has been formed based at leaf hall and Seaside Community Hub also continues.

Community Stuff modified their existing weekly Lunch Club to provide a home delivery service of a roll, freshly made soup and fruit to Gwent Court and Riverdale House plus vulnerable adults in the DWBL area. Activity packs were also introduced later in the project and the delivery volunteers took time for a doorstep conversation to combat isolation.

This service continued through three lockdowns, 30 local volunteers were involved, making it all possible. The support extending in 2021 to also taking residents who needed a bit of help to get their vaccinations, and home safely afterwards.

Children With Cancer Fund – Family Meals – Community Grant £800

Children with Cancer Fund (CWCF) is a local charity which aims to grant wishes to children up to the age of eighteen and their families who have or have had cancer across East Sussex, Brighton & Hove. CWCF also holds exciting events to bring the families together, giving them the opportunity to meet others in a similar situation and reduce feelings of isolation and loneliness. Due to Covid-19, fundraising and family events were cancelled so support was provided by having meals and treats delivered to their homes and continuing to grant wishes and uniting them via technology and social media.

DWBL contributed towards the cost of the Family Meals project which supported 130 families with six families benefitting in the DWBL area.

Children With Cancer

Compass Community Arts – Postcard Project – Micro-grant £300

Compass Community Arts (CCA) received a micro-grant for materials and postage costs for a creative project to engage members in their own homes during lockdown thereby preventing isolation and supporting their mental health by working towards a shared goal. Members made postcards and sent them to random members. Twenty members took part each sending a message to up to ten other people. CCA received many comments about how the cards and letters have cheered people up and connected them to others, and CCA have been able to keep in touch with their members who have been most isolated during the pandemic this way. Participants have sent them to friends and family, other members of Compass, and sometimes to a random recipient through the project coordinator.

Compass Community Arts

Diversity Resource International – Telephone Support Service – Community Grant £3,000

Diversity Resource International facilitates the Eastbourne Cultural Involvement Group (ECIG) network on behalf of Eastbourne Borough Council. The Telephone Support Service provided bilingual and cultural support to Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic residents who were feeling isolated, giving moral support and organising appointments with other organisations such as Citizens Advice, Adult Social Care. YMCA. Police, other statutory organisations and local groups. The service was provided for three and a half months and supported 23 people, fourteen of which lived in the DWBL area.

Enthum Foundation – English Lessons – Community Grant £2,975

Enthum House (EH) is the Enthum Foundation’s (EF) specialist residential service in Eastbourne which opened in 2018. EH offer supported accommodation for up to seven unaccompanied asylum-seeking children (UASC) aged 16+. The grant provided for English lessons at EH during the period of Covid lockdown.

Lessons were conducted initially using Zoom until August when classroom teaching was resumed, following a detailed risk assessment process. The young people adapted well to using Zoom, which has certain advantages for teaching such as, using the camera for close-ups to illustrate mouth shape for pronunciation but everyone was very relieved when they returned to face-to-face teaching.

Helping the Vulnerable – Food Parcels – Micro-grant £285

The micro-grant was provided to a Facebook group assisting the elderly and vulnerable in Eastbourne with the shopping, collecting prescriptions, taking items to the post office and telephone calls. Some volunteers had enhanced DBS checks and were paired with the very vulnerable. For those who don’t have DBS a copy of photo ID either passport or drivers’ licence was taken.

Helping the Vulnerable

Linking Lives – Telephone Befriending Service – Community Grant £3,000

Prior to Covid Linking Lives provided a home visit based befriending service for the lonely or socially isolated with an accent on the over 65s. The grant was to help change the service to a telephone befriending and shopping/prescriptions service open to any age but aimed at those living alone with a pilot with Eastbourne Homes to help their shielded tenants.

Linking Lives

Sussex Association for Spina Bifida and Hydrocephalus – Community Grant £1,983

The Sussex Association for Spina Bifida and Hydrocephalus run the Bourne Free special needs youth club for members living in Eastbourne. The grant facilitated an on-line pilot format meeting twice weekly for a three-month period. This was a very successful project that we piloted and I am pleased to say that engagement with the project was exceptionally high.

There were a few technical issues at the very beginning but with support from staff and volunteers they not only managed to get everyone wanted involved but reached out to even more people than anticipated. The ongoing benefit of this pilot was that they decided to continue with online digital inclusion and have since secured funding for one year for a Digital Inclusion Officer. The pilot provided crucial support to very vulnerable service users and their families.


There were many positive feedbacks from service users such as :

‘this is a godsend!!’

‘don’t know what I would have done without you all’

As well as from carers :

‘thank you for all your support during these unknown times’

‘its been so good to know that others have felt the same way as us and thank you for keeping us all in touch’

Sussex Association for Spina Bifida and Hydrocephalus

Warming Up the Homeless – Electronic Equipment – 2 Community Grants – £1,436

The Homestart project was for those who have been previously street homeless and placed into temporary or emergency accommodation without cooking facilities and or equipment. Referrals for support were accepted via probation office, key worker or social worker. The aim was to supply those whose Universal Credit has not arrived and need food, whose food delivery has not been delivered or has been stolen with the means to provide warm meals.

There proved to be higher demand than anticipated and extra support was funded internally for 43 people, 18 of whom were DWBL residents. Those in temporary and emergency accommodations or street homeless/ rough sleepers are continually placed into accommodation without suitable means of feeding themselves. Warming Up The Homeless had not planned to buy as many microwaves or tabletop hobs as were needed. The difficulty faced was finding a cut-off date as the demand was and is, ongoing. It was also difficult to choose who to benefit and who not. One of their volunteers needed counselling from their volunteer counselling team, to overcome her distress and refusing people. Mothers with children and those over 65 were given priority.

“I can at least make myself a cup of tea”

“You have literally saved my life” . “I haven’t eaten for 4 days”

“I don’t have to take the kids to McDonalds  3 times a day for food now”

“I’m feeling more hopeful now”

Warming up the Homeless