GOVERNMENT GRANTS REACH ONE OF SURREY’S MOST ESSENTIAL SERVICES AS COVID-19 CONTINUES He is the Chancellor who pledged millions of pounds to support UK businesses, the NHS and charities in some of the most impactful and suspenseful daily coronavirus government press briefings, and now Rishi Sunak’s promise to support the UK’s charity sector has been realised here in Surrey. Government money awarded to Cherry Trees means a summer where the sun really will shine, ensuring care for some of the county’s most vulnerable children and young people carries on. A grant worth an astounding £49,500 to cover the next six months of the coronavirus has been awarded thanks to the Coronavirus Community Support Fund. Set up by the government and distributed by The National Lottery Community Fund, the vital grant will help to cover some of Cherry Trees increased operating deficit and income lost as a result of fundraising events and activities being cancelled because of the virus. Cherry Trees, cited as an essential service by local authorities, has incredibly remained open every single day to date since the UK went into lockdown. Recognising early on the deepened need for the continuation of short break respite visits for children with complex disabilities and learning disabilities, families have been able to survive the last few months, many citing the charity as being essential to their wellbeing and resilience. Changes to how visits are managed, the commitment of the frontline care team and the introduction of stringent working policies in keeping with all up to date government guidelines has enabled the charity to stay open with daily, overnight and weekend visits available to young people with some of the rarest conditions and disabilities. Cherry Trees Head of Fundraising and Marketing, Jane Hunnable says; “On behalf of all the children with disabilities and their families, who are supported by Cherry Trees, as well as our dedicated care team, we are most grateful for this grant. Our services are an absolute lifeline for them, and particularly so during this pandemic, when so much other vital support services have been withdrawn.” So far 15,971 of hours of care have been given by Cherry Trees between the first day the UK went into lockdown and the end of July. Respite visits give children with disabilities a chance to meet other children, grow their life skills and join in with activities, giving parents a much needed break from 24/7 care for a few hours. Art and activity classes, online entertainers, sensory play sessions and even the creation of a stunning rainbow butterfly mural in the house have been some of the creative ways the care team have occupied the children at a time of ongoing social distancing. Cherry Trees marks 40 years this year, was ranked as Good in the last Ofsted inspection and currently supports over 95 families from across Surrey, Sussex, Hampshire and South West London, providing short breaks for children and young people from 0-19 years of age with a range of complex disabilities. *********** Liked this story? We will be posting regular updates on visits and activities within the house over the coming months to show the benefits of the grant for our charity. Follow us on Facebook and Instagram @cherrytreesuk Alternatively you can see more about how funding is helping charity's right across the UK by following the hashtag #CommunitiesCan.