A FUND set up by a foundation to support people in urgent need during the coronavirus crisis has raised more than £275,000 in just over a week.

The Somerset Coroanvirus Appeal, which was launched by Somerset Community Foundation (SCF), gives fund local charities and community organisations supporting those in most urgent need during the COVID-19 outbreak.

The fund, which was launched on March 19, has been boosted donations from local individuals, charitable trusts and businesses and by funding from a national appeal, run by The National Emergencies Trust (NET) in partnership with the British Red Cross.

In addition, £107,000 was also added to the pot from existing funds managed by SCF on behalf of donors across the county.

Justin Sargent, Chief Executive at SCF said: “Grants worth £100,000 have already been awarded to 39 local good causes across the county, including those supporting food projects, older people and mental health.

"More funding is going out every day to local charities and organisations reaching those in urgent need, thanks to the generosity of the donors who have given to our appeal.

“We’re working hard to get funding out to groups that are responding directly to needs that have arisen because of the outbreak of the coronavirus.

"In the initial stages we’ve been proactively contacting organisations that we already know.

"As the fund grows we plan to soon broaden the scope to invite other charities and community organisations to apply.

“I am extremely grateful to my team for rising to the challenge while going through our own rapid re-organisation to homeworking.”

Businesses and organisations including Somerset County Council have all donated to the fund and NET also donated £50,000 to the foundation.

Richard Dannatt, chairman of NET, said: “It is a fantastic achievement and testament to the generosity of the British public, business and charitable foundations that within a week we managed to raise £13m – and get £2.5m out very quickly to those who need it most."