The Times Coronavirus Charity Appeal has raised the largest sum given by readers in the paper’s history, it has been announced as the appeal closes this week.
Of the £1.1million raised, Family Action which supports people experiencing poverty and social isolation has received £661,471 and The Big Issue Foundation received £504,025 to assist homeless vendors of the weekly magazine hit during the pandemic.
Funds have helped Family Action to expand its network of food clubs for families affected by the pandemic in 30-plus locations, the paper has reported. Over 400 grants of up to £200 have been made available to help struggling families to buy essentials such as groceries and to pay bills.
Big Issue magazine vendors benefitted from the donations during the lockdown after sellers were unable to work on their street pitches during the peak of pandemic for their own safety.
The Big Issue Foundation made fortnightly payments of £50 to more than 1,600 vendors, many of whom were isolating or housed in temporary accommodation over lockdown. Donations have since assisted those who have gone back to selling the magazine on their pitches with a Covid-19 protection kit of masks, hand sanitiser, gloves and face masks as well as ten free magazines to get vendors re-started.
Lord Bird, founder of The Big Issue, told the paper: “We appealed for support in our darkest days . . . and The Times’s readers showed overwhelming support . . . Thank you.”
The Times’s previous donation record had raised £772,638 for its 2018 Christmas appeal.
Donations can be made until July 25 at thetimes.co.uk/timesappeal