A SOLIDARITY fund set up to help businesses and residents survive the coronavirus crisis has proved a huge success.

Back in May volunteers Penny Tristram, Elena Blackmore, Beth Maiden and Laurence Tidy set up the Machynlleth Solidarity Fund to address growing concerns about the financial impact of coronavirus on the Machynlleth community.

They were inspired by other small grass-roots funds including BiPandas in London, and the UK-wide Swarm fund.

The group hoped to make small grants of up to £100 to individuals in the Machynlleth area facing hardship due to the pandemic.

Since then, they surpassed their £5,000 target with businesses and residents already having felt the benefit of the donations.

Laurence Tidy, one of the organisers, said: “We started in May 2020 so have been running for four months. We are a grassroots group run by four/five volunteers.

“So far we’ve raised over £6,000 from individual donations and business sponsorship – thank you so much for all you’ve given.”

“Hannah and Elena organised a brilliant online party where they got lots of folks to donate.”

Laurence added :“So far we’ve made 25 grants of around £100 each to individuals and families in the Machynlleth area.

“We’re also now organising free veg bags from Planna Fwyd for those who want them.”

He added: “We’re keeping anonymised notes on how people are doing in our area and finding a wide range of issues, though issues with Universal Credit and other benefits are a common problem, as is work loss as a result of coronavirus/lockdown.

“We’ve also had applications from outside the Machynlleth area and have helped these people find support in their local areas.

“We are working to become a constituted community group, which would give us more legitimacy when working with other organisations and accepting donations.

“We are reaching out to other organisations to share publicity/outreach work and so that we can reach those most in need and make referrals where appropriate.”

For information on how to donate to the solidarity fund visit http://machsolidarityfund.org.uk/