Emergency grants from Tesco have supported 13 community groups in Antrim and Ballymena areas during pandemic

Emergency grants from Tesco have supported 13 community groups in the Antrim and Ballymena areas during the pandemic.

The groups benefitted from Tesco’s COVID-19 Community Fund since the start of lockdown, a total of £6,500​ put towards local causes over the past six months by the retailer.

Through its Bags of Help initiative, and as part of the retailer’s emergency response in supporting local communities, Tesco provided a single payment of £500 to organisations which support vulnerable groups.

This included support for organisations which experienced increased demand or disruption to services as a result of lockdown, or to fund new community services.

Over the last six months, the grants, which form part of the retailer’s £30million package of support to help local communities tackling the Coronavirus outbreak, have helped to support in excess of 8,000 groups across the UK, totalling more than £4 million.

Across the UK, the grant funding has been put towards 928 Brownies and Guides groups, 78 Age UK/ Age Concern initiatives and 187 hospices (including Marie Curie).

Some groups in the Antrim Area & Ballymena which have benefitted from the grant include Rehability, All About Us – ASD Teens, Rock Family Chapel, Samaritans of Ballymena, BraveheartsNI and more.

And although the £500 funding has come to an end, the supermarket is now announcing a further extension to its Bags of Help initiative over the next two months, which will see it give away £1,000 grants to support youth groups across the region.

Organisations that can apply include those supporting mental health, offering outdoor and educational activities, helping young carers, providing bereavement counselling, and assisting those in poverty or at risk.

Claire De Silva, Head of Community at Tesco, said: “Due to the sustained need for the emergency support we’ve seen from local community groups, we took the decision to extend the deadline for the £500 grant scheme beyond the original 12-week mark, and we’ve been really impressed with the number of groups we’ve been able to help locally. It’s excellent to see that the grants have helped support thousands of groups across the UK.

“Over the next few months, we’ve extended our Bags of Help funding round this year to youth groups, which could qualify for some financial support to the tune of £1,000.”

On the additional round for youth groups, Tony McElroy, Head of Communications, said: “Although the £500 grants have made a real difference to a range of charities, we’ve extended our support further. Young people have been among those most impacted by the pandemic, with schools closing and many missing out on all-important services impacted by lockdown.

“That’s why we’re encouraging any groups in the area, working to support children and young people, to apply for this new funding. We hope it can make a real difference to the lives of many.”

The process is managed through Tesco’s partner charity Groundwork’s website. Any groups that would benefit from this funding are encouraged to apply here: www.tescobagsofhelp.org.uk

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