Coronavirus update: Community foundation comes to aid of crisis-hit Bristol charities

April 16, 2020

Small charities in Bristol have received much-needed finance from an emergency fund set up by region’s community foundation to help them cope with spiralling demand as a result of the coronavirus crisis.

Quartet Community Foundation, which covers Bristol, South Gloucestershire and across the West of England, has distributed more than £250,000 to local charitable organisations since the pandemic took hold in the UK. 

Cash donations have been made by businesses and individuals across the region totalling more than £440,000 while £120,000 has been received from the National Emergencies Trust.

Quartet launched the emergency in response to a massive increase in pleas for financial support from small, grass-roots community organisations.

Some rely on volunteers who now are in lockdown while others support their services through income from community cafes and charity shops that have been forced to close. The situation has been made worse by the cancellation of all fundraising events for the foreseeable future.

Projects to have already received cash range from the special provision of crisis services for rough sleepers and those living in temporary accommodation with changed practices to keep clients and staff as safe as possible to free takeaway lunches and online youth services for young people in a very disadvantaged area, supported by local volunteers.

Others provide funds to buy non-perishable food and essential living and baby items for distribution to destitute refugees and asylum seekers while funding has been made for an extra money advice caseworker to help people in financial difficulties during the crisis.

The fund is being backed by Bristol high-profile figures ranging from Mayor Marvin Rees to TV presenter Tony Robinson. It has also been boosted by the launch of a charity compilation album featuring 20 Bristol bands.

The Ark Vol. 1 is the brainchild of BIMM Bristol lecturer and musician John E Vistic, pictured, and features Bristol bands including Beak>, Three Cane Whale and Yo No Se.

Quartet chief executive Sue Turner said: “Thank you so much to everyone who has donated so generously to help our charities keep up their great work through this awful crisis.

“It’s a testament to the generosity of local people that we’ve already got over £250,000 to our local charities, community and voluntary groups.

“From ensuring our children and elderly people have good food, to advice on benefits and mental health support, we depend on charities to ensure our most disadvantaged people are not forgotten.”

Quartet was set up in 1987 and has since awarded more than £50m to local projects across the West of England – around £3.5m a year.

Quartet recently announced the appointment of Avon & Somerset Police and Crime Commissioner Sue Mountstevens as chair of its board of trustees.

Sue, pictured, said: “This is a very difficult time for our small local charitable organisations. The need for their activities has never been greater but their ability to fund their work is being deeply damaged by the coronavirus crisis.

“Quartet has a vital role to play in raising new funding and getting it quickly to them, so I am proud to have taken over as chair of Quartet’s board at this critical time.”

Chief executive Sue Turner added: “Sue Mountstevens has superb knowledge of the issues facing our communities, so we are delighted that she has become our new chair of trustees, taking over from Helen Wilde who has done so much to encourage more local philanthropy.”

To donate to the Coronavirus 2020 Response Fund go to

Download the charity album at

Charitable organisations can apply online for a grant from Quartet if they meet the criteria at

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