Image of John Hume, Chief Executive of People's Health Trust

In this blog, John Hume discusses why supporting local charities to continue delivering their vital services is so integral during this time.

You buying Heath Lottery tickets really matters – and more so at this time than ever.

The Coronavirus health pandemic we face is a once in a generation event for us all and no-one could have fully prepared for this but there are things that we can do.

For the past eight years, The Health Lottery has been raising money for communities in England, Scotland and Wales. The money raised has been used to support people and neighbourhoods who are experiencing significant disadvantage.

Now, more than ever, we need to make sure that we can continue to support people who are vulnerable and will be very badly affected by the Coronavirus outbreak.

Through the money raised by The Health Lottery, we have supported disabled young people and adults, older people who are isolated, people with autism and children and adults living in poverty. All of these groups are vulnerable right now. Many have very low incomes or are on zero hours contracts or part-time work which is drying up in this crisis.

So far, by playing The Health Lottery, you have raised £112m for good causes and supported over 3,000 projects. Many of these are needed more than ever at the moment. Many charities are staying open to support people in need and many are moving what they do online, to make sure that people remain connected and know they are cared for.

People such as those involved with English for Action London which is a project that provides free ESOL (English as a Second Language) lessons to adult migrants who live in in Tower Hamlets and have limited English.

Due to Coronavirus, the group has had to stop their regular lessons and get-togethers. The charity is experimenting with teaching using Skype and Whatsapp and are encouraging their educators to share notes and teaching guides. Project members have also started calling round the students to check in with them and dropping groceries off to people who are self-isolating.

Or The Rogues Shanty Chorus, from the Voice cLoud in Suffolk, which is a local charity that holds music sessions for parents of children in their early years, extra-curricular music workshops for young people, and a choir for local people.

Although unable to meet, as many of its members are within the vulnerable criteria, the group were determined that those who viewed the choir as a lifeline, wouldn’t go without, hosting the first of their singalongs over Facebook Live, with over 4000 people watching, and joining in with the singing from home, whilst keeping the banter and friendships alive in the chat throughout.

Headspace Bolton is another group which has kept going throughout these circumstances. The project provides stand-up comedy training sessions led by comedy professionals for people affected by mental health issues.

Due to the Government advice, the group stopped its physical sessions and instead are running online podcasting, scriptwriting and stand up and sketch writing courses for its members

It may feel like we are powerless at the moment, but we are not. You can help by ensuring that you continue to support these good causes, so that vulnerable people can get through this very difficult period.

Support us, play The Health Lottery!