Funding from council is a lifeline for the vulnerable, say local charities

17th February 2021


Grants awarded by Three Rivers District Council to three local charities are giving vital support to residents affected by the Covid pandemic. 

ASCEND, Watford Foodbank and One Vision were awarded grants totalling £9,500 by the council from a hardship fund set up by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA). 

The extra funding is helping the charities support the community with food parcels, support with gas and electric payments and essential supplies including cooking equipment. 

ASCEND'S “Step in - Take Away” food hub has helped more than 276 people including a young mum who needed a microwave and pots and pans to cook meals. The grant also meant the hub could help a person who had no money to top up their gas meter. 

Christine Wyard, CEO of ASCEND, said: “We are living in very difficult times, but it is wonderful to see the smiles and sometimes tears of joy from the people this funding is helping. For many it is literally a lifeline.” 

The number of people using Watford Foodbank based at South Oxhey Baptist Church is more than five times higher compared to the beginning of the pandemic. 

Linda Leaver, a volunteer at the foodbank, said the grant had helped many people living on the breadline in South Oxhey and Carpenders Park. 

She said: “We’ve helped at least 16 different households by purchasing essential items so they can cook their own meals. We have also been able to top up utility bills where there has been an urgent need.” 

Watford-based charity One Vision has been supporting the community from the start of the pandemic. To date its volunteers have delivered more than 10,000 meals and 20,000 grocery bags to the most vulnerable people in Three Rivers and Watford - equivalent to more than four tonnes of food. 

Enoch Kanagaraj, Founder and Co Chair of One Vision Project, said: “We now have the funds to support more residents for longer thanks to the generosity of this funding from Three Rivers District Council. For many individuals and families who are vulnerable or have been seriously impacted as a result of the pandemic, the funding means they don’t have to worry about putting their next meal on the table.”

Councillor Sarah Nelmes, Leader of Three Rivers District Council, added: “The pandemic has had a devastating financial impact on many people’s lives, with many losing jobs or seeing their businesses closed. Charities and community groups in Three Rivers are doing amazing work supporting people with basic needs and I can’t thank them enough for all their hard work.”