• George Oliver

Covid impact and the broken door frame

Updated: Jan 16, 2021

At one stage during the late summer Charity Link agreed to fund the repair of a broken door frame.

This was a new development for a charity more accustomed to providing Leicestershire residents in crisis with food vouchers, beds, white goods and school uniforms.

But it illustrated how positive impact can be had indirectly and in unexpected ways.

And it demonstrates why Charity Link’s innovative method of working - that is, a businesslike approach which turns a £10 donation into £50 of funding - has likely caught the eye of competition judges at the East Midlands Chamber of Commerce.

They have short-listed Charity Link in the Community Impact category of Thursday night’s Leicestershire Business Awards.

The community impact award - sponsored by emh Group - recognises businesses, charities and social enterprises that have implemented Corporate Social Responsibility as part of their business planning.

Entrants must show how they identified, and made a positive impact on issues within their local community.

They must also demonstrate not only the impact their actions have had - but also the process that went into the planning of their CSR activites.

Increased pressure

Public and charitable services are struggling under the weight of increased referrals and reduced resource. Demand is rising and is (partly) being met by Charity Link.

The organisation managed 833 new referrals in July, August and September - despite restructuring its own staffing and operations to manage the needs of remote working.This was a year-on-year increase of 92 cases.

Referrals came from 134 different agencies - including the Zinthiya Trust, Leicester City Council and Bridge East Midlands. About 40% of referrals related to households with children.

Charity Link’s continuing impact in the city (Leicester being the location of 43% of its referrals) comes through a well-practised approach and the considerable experience of its staff.

But its Covid response has been in no small part to the LeicestershireLive There With You Fund. This was launched in April as a way of having an immediate positive impact for local people.

The fund kick-started with £96,000 from the Loughborough-based Randal Charitable Foundation and has now raised about £135,000. Tens of thousands of pounds have already been redistributed.

The broken door frame

So where does the broken door frame come into it?

The story started, as many of Charity Link’s do, with a referral from the local authorities.

In this case the referrer was a victim engagement worker from Leicestershire Police seeking help for a mother in her 40s who was at risk of domestic violence.

Her situation had been escalated by Covid-19 as she was unable to escape due to Lockdown. Violence ensued.

One incident culminated in the woman being left with facial injuries and extensive damage to her living room.

Surgery is awaited for the physical injuries but she was left traumatised and referred to a psychiatrist for therapy.

Meanwhile, because the woman was in receipt of Universal Credit and Child Benefit, she could not afford to get the door fixed. It stood in the corner of her room as a visual reminder of the incident.

Charity Link arranged to issue a grant from two of its in-house funds to get the door repaired.

One was the LeicestershireLive There With You Fund - the fund established to have immediate impact in Leicestershire’s community response to Covid.

  • Other finalists in the Community Impact category of the Leicestershire Business Awards are: Access Rating, Duncan & Toplis, Mosaic 1898 and Shama Womens Centre.

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