A MAJOR campaign has been launched that could raise £2 million to provide vital support for Cheshire's vulnerable in the coronavirus pandemic.

Cheshire Community Foundation, based in Northwich, is hoping to raise £1 million for charities and not-for-profit organisations looking to support individuals and families affected by the coronavirus crisis.

And any money raised will be match funded by the Steve Morgan Foundation, meaning the total could reach £2 million.

Zoe Sheppard, chief executive of Cheshire Community Foundation, said: “There is an immediate need within the community. Many charities are facing an increase in demand while already under resourced and stretched to breaking point.

“Once the immediate crisis has passed, many of the people they support will be left more vulnerable in its wake and the fund will aim to help them too. This fund is about meeting both the immediate need and the longer-term need.”

To get the ball rolling, an initial donation of £50,000 has been made by Lord Lieutenant of Cheshire David Briggs, new High Sheriff of Cheshire Nick Hopkinson and the outgoing High Sheriff Mark Mitchell, whose cash has been match funded by the Steve Morgan Foundation to make a total of £100,000.

Cheshire Community Foundation will be responsible for managing the Covid-19 response fund and helping to ensure that the funds reach the organisations that most need them.

Nick Hopkinson said: “These are desperate times for many people and this fund could provide a lifeline both for charities and the people they support.

"We are delighted that the Steve Morgan Foundation has so generously agreed to match fund donations to the appeal.

"Please consider donating and, if you are able to, please give generously."

Steve Morgan added: “Aside from the obvious difficulties that charities are facing, supporting thousands of disadvantaged people, this crisis is causing substantial cashflow issues.

“Normal day-to-day fundraising efforts that the charities undertake have been pulled from under them. As the economy shrinks it will be the charities and the vulnerable people who suffer first and we can’t allow that to happen.”

Charities seeking funding can apply via Cheshire Community Foundation’s website. Applications will be assessed in the first instance by the foundation before being forwarded to the Steve Morgan Foundation for approval.

Grants of up to £10,000 will be available in the first instance, but additional further funding may be available should the need arise.

To donate, go to cheshirecommunityfoundation.org.uk or call 01606 330 607.