West Cumbrian charities and community groups will be able to benefit from a new £10,000 fund set up to help those struggling due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Dobies Charitable Trust has set up a new fund on top of what it already gives out to charitable organisations.

Sarah Newton, manager, said: "As soon as Covid-19 started to hit the country, I knew I wanted to do something to help the West Cumbrian people.

"It’s important we stand with these communities and help them through.

"This money is separate and in addition to the Trust’s normal giving.”

The trust has already donated £500 to Mirehouse Residents Group, to back food production and delivery and activity packs for kids under 16, all delivered by volunteers.

The work is impacting over 2,000 residents.

Charlie McGregor, trasurer of the residents group, told the trust: "We on Mirehouse are very grateful for your immediate assistance and donation as we created our meals on wheels project to feed the vulnerable of our estate.

"Your support has been very much appreciated as it allowed us to immediately put our plans into place therefore showing support for our community at a very difficult time."

The fund is currently focusing on three areas:

n Foodbanks : one in eight households in Cumbria have an annual income of below £10,000. As household incomes are reduced due to furloughing or redundancy, the demand on foodbanks will increase.

n Domestic Violence: there has been an increase in the demand for support for victims living with domestic violence, as social distancing measures intensify their situation.

n Mental Health and Wellbeing: from vulnerable young people to parents juggling work and home schooling to furloughed/redundant employees and those with learning difficulties self-isolating, even those not usually affected by mental health will suffer increased anxiety.

Any charity or group wishing to apply for funding can email Sarah Newton at sarah.newton@dobiescumbria.com, or write to Sarah at Dobies Charitable Trust, Lillyhall West, Workington, CA14 4HX, or complete form at www.dobies.com/dobies-charitable-trust