More than 25 North East community projects working to combat the impact of coronavirus are getting a financial boost thanks to Karbon Homes’ new community grant fund.

The North East housing association launched its coronavirus community fund to help fund local initiatives which support vulnerable members of the community.

So far the fund has received over 60 applications, including projects delivering food and medicines and providing telephone support.

The first 34 successful applicants are receiving grants ranging between £500 and £5,000 this week.

One such organisation is Feeding Families, an initiative operating across County Durham, Tyne and Wear, Northumberland and the Tees Valley which provides families facing challenging times with food hampers.

Juliet Sanders is the chief executive of the charity.

She said: “Like everyone else, we were astonished at the speed and intensity at which the coronavirus pandemic hit. Our carefully planned fundraising and work plan were blown out of the water within a few days and we were suddenly faced with a whole new landscape to work in.

“Like many other charities, we didn’t have the money to respond so we had to start looking for organisations that we hoped would believe in us and we found Karbon Homes.​​​​​​​

“As a North East charity which delivers food to people in need, we felt we were well placed to respond to the crisis. Within a short period of time we have established seven centres across the region to manage our resources and get help where it is most needed. ​​​​​​​​​​​​​​

“Going forward we will be taking referrals from our partner organisations, which include Age UK, Barnados and FACT, and delivering emergency food packs, either donated by our volunteers or sourced with the funding we have received.

“The funding from Karbon will not only help us create food packs but will ensure we can manage the distribution and meet any additional costs such as transport and extra food items.”

Paul Moralee, Community Investment Manager for Karbon Homes, said: “We’ve been overwhelmed with the number of applications that have come in from organisations of all shapes and sizes, which are doing incredible work to support our communities through these difficult times.

“We recognise that vulnerable residents who may be socially isolated, elderly, unable to afford essentials, and without access to the internet, are at greatest risk.

“We’re proud to be able to support the local efforts that are helping our communities through this crisis and help those who are most vulnerable.

The new community fund is part of a wider community response from the organisation. The Silver Talk telephone befriending service, which is managed by Karbon, has doubled in size to help tackle the rise in social isolation and a number of colleagues have volunteered with initiatives in their communities.

The community fund is still open for applications. To apply for support, visit www.karbonhomes.co.uk/support