Wolverhampton’s One City Fund has moved into the final stage of the crowdfunding project.
The new ‘Stay Connected’ fund will raise vital money for for local charities supporting individuals facing social isolation as a result of digital exclusion, including the Refugee and Migrant Centre, Wolverhampton Samaritans, Gazebo Theatre and Wolverhampton Learning Platform.
The crowd funding initiative, a collaboration between the City of Wolverhampton Council, Wolverhampton Voluntary Sector Council (WVCS) and several organisations from across Wolverhampton, is aimed at supporting vulnerable groups in the city affected by the coronavirus pandemic and has raised over £75,000 to date.
Organisations, businesses and individuals are invited to visit www.spacehive.com/stayconnected to donate money, get behind the project and support their city.
The ‘Stay Connected’ fund aims to raise at least £10,000 for charities and not-for-profit organisations working to prevent digital exclusion and the loneliness it leads to. Once the £10,000 is reached, 60% of the funds will be distributed to partner organisations. The remaining 40% will be made available as small grants to grassroot community groups supporting local people during the crisis.
Wolverhampton Voluntary Sector Council, with support from the Wolverhampton Clinical Commissioning Group, has already pledged £5,000 to kick start the appeal.
Leader of the City of Wolverhampton Council, Councillor Ian Brookfield, said: “I’d like to thank everyone who has already donated to the One City Fund; because of your kindness we have smashed the targets of previous rounds. Now we’re urging the city to get behind the final campaign, ‘Stay Connected’, and support those who have struggled during the pandemic as a result of digital exclusion.
“The current Covid-19 crisis has highlighted the importance of digital connectivity; this has been vital for everything from home-schooling to reducing isolation by enabling people to stay in touch with friends and families. In extreme cases, digital connectivity offered people the only chance to say goodbye to loved ones. However, for some, the lack of digital connectivity has compounded exclusion resulting in isolation, and a negative impact on their on mental health.
“Since the Covid-19 crisis began, organisations across the city have gone above and beyond to make sure no-one gets left behind. Supporting this appeal is a simple way for us all to get behind the city’s efforts to help vulnerable residents during the pandemic. This crowd funding campaign will provide an important boost for the network of charities supporting these individuals.”
Ian Darch, Chair of Wolverhampton Voluntary Sector Council said, “Loneliness affects thousands of people in our city and this can have devastating effects on mental and physical wellbeing.
“Loneliness, having no-one to talk to or to share things with, has become even more pronounced during the Covid pandemic and, unless we pull together to change this, it will continue. Part of the solution lies in the ever-developing world of digital communication but if you don’t have the equipment or the “know how” you get left behind.
“We want to raise funds to support people whose mental health is affected by loneliness and for who digital technology can make a real and lasting difference. Wouldn’t it be great if no-one in our city was lonely? By pledging to this campaign, you can play your part in bringing that about.”
Dr Heather Thomas, Head of Health and Wellbeing at the Refugee and Migrant Centre, said: “Newly arrived refugees, having fled persecution in their home country, are often isolated, lonely and disoriented, they want to help themselves to become contributing members of their communities but lack the means to do so. This funding, combined with RMC's support, will help them along that journey to independence.”