Scheme organised by The Jewish Leadership Council and employment hub Work Avenue helps those suffering in lockdown or unable to access government funding.

The first grants have been allocated from a communal coronavirus fund set up to support those suffering in lockdown.

It was launched by The Jewish Leadership Council and employment hub Work Avenue last week, after Jewish philanthropists pitched with an initial contribution of £300,000.The scheme provides financial assistance to people and families directly affected by the virus and the measures introduced to reduce its spread. It is also designed to help those who are ineligible for Government support or who face delays accessing Government funds.In the week after it was set up, the fund has had applications from across the country, with the first allocations going to families in the South East and North West.

One successful recipient said the “grant from the Emergency Community Fund is a life saver.  I will now be able to buy food for our family for the next couple of months.  Before this, I was desperate and not sure where to turn.  I was so supported throughout the process and I will now be able to sleep tonight.  Thank you so much for everything.”

Contributors to the initial pot include The Charles Wolfson Charitable Trust, The Gerald and Gail Ronson Family Foundation, The Max Barney Foundation, The Wohl Legacy, Rothschild Foundation Hanadiv Europe, The Bloom Foundation, The Goldstein Family, Genesis Philanthropy Group and Investream Charitable Trust.

Jonathan Goldstein, Chair of the JLC, said: “Small acts of kindness, often between strangers, have transformational power. Whether it being phoning someone just to check in, helping with shopping or countless other examples. In a time of great uncertainty and discomfort, I am proud the JLC is coordinating and contributing to the many ways our community is striving to alleviate some of the challenges all across our community are facing.”

Debbie Sheldon, CEO of Work Avenue, said: “My team have been working tirelessly to ensure that this fund is open to everyone within the community. Our staff and volunteers have the compassion, expertise and experience to support people and review financial applications sensitively, confidentially and swiftly to get funds to those who need them most. Beyond this initial period of immediate assistance, Work Avenue is here to support people restart and grow their businesses or re-enter employment.”

For more information and to apply people should visit theworkavenue.org.uk/covid19/.