The Countryside Communities Fund has been successfully allocated to support those most in need, by Iain McPherson

Iain McPherson

With a truly extraordinary year behind us, it is hard to believe that months of restrictions and lockdowns have kept us apart from friends, families, colleagues and partners over the course of 2020. When the UK entered its first national lockdown in March last year, it was clear that the severity of this disease was something not to be underestimated.

In response to the pandemic, we acted nimbly to launch the Countryside Communities Fund; a pledge of £1,000,000 to a wide-ranging cross-section of organisations spanning from food banks and care homes to housing associations. We are pleased to announce that throughout 2020, we have been able to successfully donate the full amount which has been a valued financial lifeline to struggling community groups and charities up and down the country.  

Pledges have supported a range of people and causes up and down the country including a £100,000 worth of donations to food banks nationwide. We have also aided numerous housing associations including Great Places Housing Group in the North where we donated £20,000, the same figure also went to Golding Homes, in addition to supplying over 25,000 pieces of PPE. Donations have also shouldered the elderly, children, those facing mental health issues, as well as women’s refuges, baby banks, children charities and hospices.

We recognise that these organisations are the backbone to many of the places we help to create, safeguarding the vulnerable during their time of need. Thus, we are proud to have spent much of the year working closely with partners and recipients on how their donations will be best used.

As the pandemic continues for the first part of 2021 at least, we are pledging another £1,000,000 on top of our original commitment to continue supporting communities through one of the UK’s most challenging periods.

While we all would’ve wished for a very different year, I am proud of the resilience and compassion we have all shown one another and may this continue in the years to come. Ultimately, this is what makes a community.