The Liverpool Echo has today launched a You Bet We Care campaign – encouraging it readers to donate money it would have bet on the Grand National to a Coronavirus fund.
The National – the most famous horse race in the world – was due to take place this Saturday, April 4, but has been cancelled because of the pandemic.
Today the ECHO is asking everyone who planned to have a bet on the race to give the money to community organisations which will lead the fightback against the virus.
As announced earlier this week by the paper, Liverpool City Region Metro Mayor Steve Rotheram has launched a new crowdfunding campaign to raise £1million to support community and voluntary organisations on the frontline of helping communities cope with the impact of Coronavirus.
The LCR Cares COVID-19 Community Fund was kickstarted with an initial £200,000 donation from Rotheram’s Combined Authority with a further £50,000 coming from the National Emergencies Trust.
The fund, set up in partnership with the Community Foundation for Merseyside, will award grants to support community organisations providing vital services such as foodbanks, delivery of food and care to the vulnerable and telephone and online services offering friendship and support.
Echo editor-in-chief Ali Machray said: “Steve’s initiative is a brilliant and much-needed one. And I think this can give it a huge boost.
“The idea of donating your Grand National bet to help beat this virus is an amazing piece of thinking by Echo reader Luke Schanche. Well done him for coming up with it.
“An astonishing £300m was wagered on last year’s race. A slice of that going to community groups will make a huge difference to the people of Merseyside who need it most.
“Every year I ask my wife, two kids and my father-in-law to pick a winner then I then stick a fiver on the nose for each of them.
“This year that £25 will be going to LCR Cares.
“That money will help our frontline heroes – please join me and make a difference.”
Metro Mayor Rotheram said: “We’re known in this region for our generosity, big hearts and community solidarity.
“I’d love it if punters who were going to have a bet on the Grand National would instead support a very worthwhile cause helping the community heroes who are on the frontline fighting coronavirus right here in our City Region.
“You’ll be helping organisations keeping services like foodbanks, care for vulnerable people and those who are isolated and need emotional and mental health support, to keep going. This year, please do what can to support these crucial groups. Thanks very much for your support.”