Case study 5 – The COVID-19 Catalyst Grants Programme: adaptation during a pandemic

Outcomes met:

  • Letchworth children participate in a range of cultural opportunities.

  • Isolation in Letchworth is reduced, particularly for older people.

  • Supported families have improved opportunities and life chances.

  • People’s health and wellbeing are improved through increased levels of physical activity and community involvement.

Alastair Stewart, Head of Grants, Communities and Partnerships

We launched our COVID-19 Catalyst Grants Programme at the start of the pandemic to help groups, charities and initiatives impacted by the pandemic to continue to deliver valuable services and support to residents. Research showed that due to the lockdown, access to amenities was hindered, services were affected but at the same time these services were seeing an increase in requests for help.

To support important work across the town, the Foundation awarded £113,000 of funding with grants ranging from £200 to £8,000 to 24 voluntary and community-based groups.

Moving online in lockdown caused issues for those who were most at risk from social isolation and the virus itself, not to mention those who could not afford to buy IT equipment. For many organisations working remotely was a new experience but they adapted quickly developing digital strategies to change the way they worked.

“It was impressive to see charities and community groups adapt so quickly to the changing circumstances. They have all done a tremendous job providing support to Letchworth residents”


The pandemic added strain to our everyday lives and in some cases, this strain exacerbated existing tensions in stressful home environments, we noticed in the mounting evidence presented to us that there were increasingly dangerous issues in some homes. People’s mental health was also affected during the pandemic. We granted £26,475 to mental health and victim support agencies.

This funding stream also supported charities at risk, where their traditional, planned fundraising and income sources had been lost.

Our grants have played a part in enabling a variety of organisations to make a difference to many people’s lives, there is also a strength in the relationships that were forged in 2020. We will continue to work in partnership in the town to help support Letchworth and its residents in the coming years.

The 2021 grant programme is looking to support community groups assisting those impacted by COVID-19 and enabling community organisations, sports clubs and service groups to re-open their doors and welcome back old friends and make new ones.

Find out about our new Communities Looking Forward grants programme for 2021.

Charity Financial Aid - Covid Grant Case Study
Mental Physical Health - Covid Grant Case Study
Covid Grant Case Study