Spike in applications for hardship grants

Quaker grant-making trusts report a spike in the number of Friends needing financial support during the Covid-19 pandemic

The Quaker charity The Pollard and Dickson Trust has said it received ‘a definite spike’ in the number of Friends applying for financial help in the first six weeks of the Covid-19 pandemic.

The Quaker administrator for the charity Augene Nannng told the Friend that the Trust issued fourteen grants, totalling £17,500 overall, from the beginning of March to mid-April, compared to zero successful applications from early January.

She said: ‘Pretty much all of the applications in the last six weeks have been Covid-related. Applicants have ranged from Friends running small businesses to some in the cultural arts and we know these areas have been badly affected. People have asked for a few hundred pounds or a very specific sum to help make ends meet, or because a cooker’s broken down or someone’s become unemployed, or limited pension funds.’

Grants are currently available for a maximum of £1,000, although the Trust prefers applications for a specific sum due to the limited annual budget of around £50,000.

‘There is a great need among Friends,’ Augene Nanning added. ‘I’ve been doing this for years and people don’t realise that there are lots of Friends who are really struggling – pensioners and families, and people in low-paid jobs. We want people to know that we are still here; we haven’t been furloughed.’

Fred Ashmore, clerk of Kingston Friends Trusts (KFT), said that a KFT charity, the Poors Estate, also ‘has a few thousands of pounds a year of income, which is rarely called on for very much’.

He said: ‘Trustees considered the needs arising from Covid-19 and wanted to use the money, which is standing idle at present, in a productive manner… We can help any Quaker body and any attender in Britain Yearly Meeting. We haven’t had any requests so far.’

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