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How we’ve been helping charities hit by virus crisis with YOUR genorous donations

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THE coronavirus crisis has dealt a devastating blow to charities at a time when their care is needed most.

Fundraising events which provide the financial lifeblood for many of them have been postponed or cancelled.

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The Serve On International Response Team was nominated by our readers
Oliver Dixon – The Sun

And experts estimate a funding shortfall of more than £4BILLION, with up to 80 per cent of the 169,000 registered good causes under threat.

Yet even with staff and volunteers confined at home, they are still striving to do good.

The £1million Sun Readers’ Fund, set up to mark our 50th birthday last November, has been busy making grants of up to £20,000 each to the small grassroots charities nominated by you.

It is needed now more than ever with many small organisations who applied for money finding themselves under strain while also working flat-out dealing with the corona crisis.

The Sun Readers’ Fund donated £15k to the charity

Here are a few more charities that our panel, including Sun agony aunt Deidre Sanders and Paralympian Derek Derenalagi, have given money to so far.

Helpers’ renewed sense of purpose

THE Serve On charity was set up to give a renewed sense of purpose to military veterans facing the transition to civilian life or recovering from mental or physical injury.

It uses their skills and leadership qualities to respond to natural catastrophes around the world or support UK emergency services dealing with severe weather.

Tony Bates leading a Serve On search and rescue training at Chilmark Business Park, Chilmark, Salisbury
Oliver Dixon – The Sun

In Wiltshire, where the charity is based, Community Resilience Team volunteers are now working with the Alabaré charity which cares for homeless veterans and other vulnerable people who are at high risk from coronavirus. Former Royal Marine Pete Dunning is a typical volunteer.

He lost both legs in an explosion in Afghanistan in 2008 and struggled to come to terms with his changed life.

But after nearly two years of search-and-rescue training, he qualified as a member of Serve On’s International Response Team.

Now coronavirus has stopped the charity’s fundraising, the £15,000 from The Sun Readers’ Fund will be important to help it carry on its rescue work.

DONATION: £15k

‘It’s tough but we are determined’

TO help sufferers aged 20 to 49 feel less alone, Shine Cancer Support brings them together through social events and activities.

But with the pandemic forcing everyone to stay at home, it has had to switch to online meet-ups and has postponed its May conference in London until November.

We will be funding a get-together for adult cancer sufferers in May
Ian Whittaker – The Sun

Based in Poole, Dorset, Shine was founded in 2008 by development consultant Ceinwen Giles, 44, and former banker Emma Willis, 42, who have both battled cancer.

Many of the people they are helping are facing an anxious time as non-urgent procedures have been cancelled by the NHS because of the need to prioritise coping with Covid-19.

And many sufferers are vulnerable to the virus because their treatment has left them with compromised immune systems.

Ceinwen, who is now housebound because of her own immune deficiency, said: “It is just awful for people, but we are trying to help.

The Sun gave cancer support charity Shine £10k

“One of our volunteers who underwent a mastectomy has had her breast reconstruction surgery postponed. The NHS is having to make some tough decisions.”

The grant from The Sun Readers’ Fund will help the charity’s work at this critical time, which includes 14 informal groups across the country and a summer camp.

Ceinwen added: “It’s tough for our team, particularly for those with their own health difficulties.

“But we are thinking on our feet and determined to come up with solutions to help those we support.”

DONATION: £10k

‘Sick kids at home need equipment’

THE current pressure on the NHS is particularly worrying for families of seriously ill children in hospital.

Hospitals are not the best places for vulnerable children with underlying health problems, but their homes are not always equipped for their care — which is where Newlife – The Charity For Disabled Children steps in.

Daisy Locke, two, is among the children who need care right now

It is the only national equipment provider for children in crisis, delivering specialist equipment within 72 hours to children who are terminally ill or at significant risk.

It provides every-thing from beds to communication aids.

Daisy Lowe, two, from Winchester, Hants, was able to return home thanks to a specialist buggy after an 11-hour operation at Great Ormond Street Hospital in London to disconnect half of her brain in a bid to halt epileptic seizures.

Policy development manager Clare Dangerfield said yesterday: “A lot of hospitals are currently trying to discharge children because they will be safer at home, which is fine, but you can’t discharge a child without the equipment they will need. We now have a very small team delivering all the services from home, but if we have to drive the equipment to where it is needed ourselves, then we will do that.

Newlife – The Charity For Disabled Children got £20k

“The £20,000 from The Sun will mean we can buy extra beds and we can add extra hours to our nurse helpline, which is getting more and more calls from families needing answers to what to do with their at-risk children in this crisis.”

DONATION: £20k

‘We call veterans to keep in touch’

FOR a century, the Not Forgotten Association has provided events and activities for veterans who struggle with isolation and loneliness.

But the charity — which supports more than 10,000 wounded service personnel and disabled veterans aged 16 to more than 100 — has postponed most events due to the lockdown.

The Sun readers wanted us to support a military charity that runs trips for lonely vets and soldiers

Stephen Tuffen, who was blinded and suffered life-threatening injuries in the Falklands War, and who nom-inated the charity, said: “The association are like a family to me and continue to help me with my recovery.”

In a normal year the charity supports two royal events plus holidays, respite breaks, fishing weekends, battlefield tours and more than 100 shows in care homes.

The lockdown has meant postponing many of the usual activities, but it has not stopped the charity finding ways to help clients.

A programme which provides the most isolated with TVs, TV licences and computer tablets will be stepped up and spokesman Ian Brand said: “Because many of our clients are elderly and may not use social media, we are giving them regular phone calls.”

The Not Forgotten Association has been granted £6k

And he added: “Our team of entertainers who would normally travel to the different homes are recording their performances to be combined on video and potentially this will even allow us to reach more care homes than we normally would.”

Stephen, 56, said: “The money from The Sun will allow them to help more people.”

DONATION: £6k

‘So vital to reach all who need us’

EVEN before the coronavirus crisis, Samaritan volunteers nationwide were answering a call for help every six seconds, day and night.

Now the problems of loneliness and poor mental health are likely to worsen with the isolation necessary to slow the spread of Covid-19 — making the charity’s selfless listeners more important than ever.

Samaritans listeners give up 14 hours of evenings, weekends and overnights
CHRIS O'DONOVAN

There are 44 at the Darlington and District Samaritans, each giving up 14 hours of evenings, weekends and overnights every four weeks. But they still need more.

Acting Director Lillian Howell said: “We want to be there for everyone, and with more fully trained volunteers there will be less of a wait for callers
to speak to someone when they are desperate.

“At these times there is a real need to reach all of the people phoning us. At present they have to queue and may not have the emotional resilience and patience to hold on.”

The £2,000 from the Sun Readers’ Fund will help pay for the training of more Samaritans listeners, including online training. A spokesperson for the Samaritans said: “We work across the UK and Ireland to reduce the number of people who take their own lives and help people who are struggling to cope with how they’re feeling.

Our £2k will pay for the training of more Samaritans listeners


“This generous grant will help our Darlington branch to be there for those in need.

“Now, more than ever, it is important for us all to feel socially connected and to reach out to those who may need extra support.”

DONATION: £2k

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