The Zurich Community Trust (ZCT) – Zurich’s charitable arm in the UK – has announced a £2m support package for charities working to tackle the Covid-19 crisis.
The funds will be used to support ZCT’s existing national and local charity partnerships – all chosen by Zurich’s 4,500 UK employees representing a cross-section of the sector.
A substantial portion of the overall fund has been allocated to supporting existing local partnerships with smaller community and voluntary groups and also to previous partners, where ZCT still has an active relationship. Grants are already being made with the plan being that funds will be available throughout the year as the magnitude of the current situation unfolds.
At a national level, ZCT has increased its funding this year to £150,000 to existing partner, Dementia UK. With further support and commitment for those living with and caring for someone with dementia by donating £75,000 to the Alzheimer’s Society as part of the ‘Insurance United Against Dementia’ campaign. An additional initial £25,000 has been awarded to the Wiltshire Community Foundation for the Wiltshire and Swindon Coronavirus Response fund to help the wider community and voluntary sector given Zurich’s significant presence and history in Swindon and surrounding areas.
To bolster ZCT’s financial support, all partner charities are being contacted to see how Zurich’s employees can support them with skills-based assistance. A drop-in digital marketing surgery via webex will be one of the first events to be hosted by Zurich’s marketing team, in response to requests from charities. This will be followed by an external PR workshop looking at how these organisations can share stories about the invaluable services they’re providing. Zurich’s UK workforce are also being encouraged to use their three allocated volunteering days as an opportunity to support people and communities affected by the Covid-19 crisis.
Zurich has also launched a fundraising appeal among its employees to make donations to the National Emergencies Trust (for the UK) to help the valuable work of charities over the coming months.
Steve Grimmett, Head of Zurich Community Trust commented, “We are acutely aware of the huge impact Covid-19 is already having on charities. We’ve all seen how fundraising is being hit hard already at a time when demand for charities’ services are increasing along with the costs incurred to deliver these.
“In response, will are focusing our funding towards charities we have existing relationships with who are working to support individuals and communities hit hardest. We are working in partnership and will be here to support organisations over the coming weeks and months. At the same time, we’re looking at ways to deploy the support of our employees who are keen to share valuable skills and expertise with those working on the front line.”
Dr Hilda Hayo, CEO and Chief Admiral Nurse at Dementia UK said, “A huge thank you to our partners at Zurich Community Trust for this donation, which will allow our Admiral Nurse Dementia Helpline to carry on its vital work during this challenging time. There is a real risk of carers feeling completely overwhelmed, and the symptoms of dementia can be exacerbated with the isolation measures in place. Families need specialist dementia support now more than ever.”
Projects also include The Soup Kitchen (Whitefield Charity SK Corporation) based central London which is experiencing unprecedented demand with four nearby soup kitchens having closed down. Last week, they fed 161 people a hot meal in a single day with some of those coming along just desperate for water. Zurich’s £15,000 funding will pay to run the kitchen for the next six weeks and stop the charity dipping into their vital reserves
Alexander Brown, Director, The Soup Kitchen said, “As a small charity, there was so much uncertainty surround COVID-19, what our response would be and how we would manage during a time when we anticipated losing the majority of our funding. One of the very first calls we had was from the Zurich Community Trust. The emergency funding that the Trust provided is a lifeline that we needed and it has helped us continue to feed nearly 150 homeless and vulnerable people each day in London. We are proud to be associated with Zurich and we are extremely grateful to the entire team for helping us navigate these uncertain and anxious times.”