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Thousands donated to local charities as Kusuma Trust, Bland Group and Isolas launch separate initiatives

Local charities who have drifted ‘out of the limelight’ as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic received a boost yesterday as two local business and a Gibraltar-based philanthropic organisation announced separate initiatives to help out in this difficult time.

The Bland Group and Kusuma Trust revealed they donated tens of thousands of pounds, while Isolas law firm announced a seven-day fundraiser for Cancer Relief Gibraltar after the Chronicle reported on the charity’s concerns about its future.

The Isolas challenge will see partners Peter Isola and Neil Costa aim to raise up to £50,000 and if they hit their target, Mr Costa will shave this head.

The Kusuma Trust is meanwhile also assisting Childline, as well as making donations to the GHA Covid-19 fund and other government-led initiatives.

Separately, Bland Group recently donated £30,000 to Childline, Women in Need and Clubhouse, which continue to operate during this lockdown.

“Self-isolation has been essential to combat Covid-19 but it comes at a cost; increased anxiety amongst students uncertain about their future, increased mental health issues due to additional stresses, and increased domestic abuse as relationships strain,” said Nicholas Gaggero, Bland Group’s chief executive.

“These charities face higher demand with fewer resources on top of today’s current restrictions. I salute them for their continued dedication to our community.”

The number of calls to Childline’s WhatsApp service has increased and major fundraising events have been cancelled, depriving the charity of much needed funds.

The Bland Group has also donated to Women in Need, a charity that supports women and other victims of domestic abuse.

The charity is currently housing 25 families.

“This extra funding will go a long way in providing our residents and children with much needed help during these difficult times and beyond,” a spokeswoman for the charity said.

Lastly, the Bland Group’s donation to Clubhouse will aid the charity to continue its work despite disruptions due to Covid-19.

“The Coronavirus pandemic has presented many challenges for everybody, not least for those who have a history of mental illness” said Emily Adamberry Olivero, Clubhouse’s CEO.

“Clubhouse’s resiliency, innovation, passion and dedication have quickly led to an inspiring array of strategies and solutions to address the new reality.”

KUSUMA TRUST

The Kusuma Trust has also committed to financially support the daily helpline service for the three months.

“Childline staff and volunteers are dedicated to providing our Helpline and our Appropriate Adult service every day of the year, no matter what the circumstances” explained Annie Green, Chairperson of Childline Gibraltar.

“We knew that complying with lockdown regulations would be challenging but it was vital to ensure that there was no interruption to our services.”

“Remote working conditions were established, ensuring that Childline’s service via the Helpline, WhatsApp, email and Live Chat continued uninterrupted.”

The Kusuma funding will alleviate the inevitable budgeting concerns and allow Childline’s staff to commit more fully to supporting and engaging with the children and young people who contact the service, especially during these unprecedented circumstances.

“We are so very grateful to Kusuma for their very prompt and generous response,” Mrs Green said.

The Kusuma Trust has also been keen to support the most vulnerable in the community, those who are likely to be most affected by the social-distancing and lockdown measures.

The Gibraltar Care Agency’s ‘Meals on Wheels’ initiative is currently providing one hot meal a day to individuals in the community who are over 70-years of age and who are unable to cook for themselves, either because they have no support from family or because they live alone and are unable to prepare meals for themselves.

A grant from Kusuma Trust Gibraltar will cover the cost of providing one meal a day to 72 individuals for four weeks during the lockdown period.

“The generous donation provided by the Kusuma Trust has enabled the Care Agency to provide nutritious hot meals to those vulnerable isolated members of our community not capable to provide this for themselves,” said April Smart-Devicenzi from the Care Agency.
“The provision of this will ensure their overall health as well as providing a well- being check and a friendly smile upon each and every delivery as this might be the only people they see that day. This provides peace of mind all round.”

Kusuma Trust Gibraltar is also supporting students and teachers while local schools are closed due to the virus.

The Trust has committed £12,000 to the Department for Education to provide additional home-learning resources.

The money will enable students and teachers to access the online resource “GCSEPod,” which provides Key Stage 4 content that will allow current Year 11s to continue to develop skills they will need for Year 12, and allow Year 10s to make a smoother transition to Year 11 in September.

ISOLAS CHALLENGE

Isolas partners Peter Isola and Neil Costa aim to raise funds for Cancer Relief Gibraltar in a seven-day challenge.

Run through the Peter J Isola Foundation, if £25,000 is raised, Mr Costa will run 10km a day and Peter will cycle 40km a day for a full week on his Watt bike at home.

If fundraising hits £50,000, Mr Costa will continue on his 10km runs for an additional seven days and Mr Isola will up his cycling to 50km a day for the seven days. In addition, Mr Costa will shave his head.

Mr Isola and Mr Costa are looking to start the initial seven days on Friday May 8, VE day.

The foundation has already raised more than £15,000 and anyone can donate via the Foundation’s Just Giving page: https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/peter-j-isola-Foundation

Cancer Relief Gibraltar has been providing virtual services during lockdown as it continues to support the community in a safe and responsible way.

The Peter J Isola Foundation was established to celebrate the life of ISOLAS former senior partner, Peter Joseph Isola OBE, who passed away in 2006.

The main goal of the Foundation is to support local charities to which Peter, and his wife Rosie, who sadly recently passed away, dedicated much of their time.

The Foundation has donated funds to a substantial number of Gibraltar charities
including donating £46,000 to the GHA for the purchase of a much-needed ultrasound machine for the critical care unit at St Bernard’s Hospital.

“At this extremely challenging time, local charities are concerned as donations are necessarily concentrated on the pandemic, and yet the work of local
charities, such as Cancer Relief Gibraltar, has never been more vital,” Mr Isola said.

“I am delighted that we can support a charity that does so much for our community. I wish to thank the many sponsors that have already pledged to contribute to the Peter J Isola Foundation for this hugely worthy cause.”

Mr Costa added: “It is no surprise that members of our community have, once again in unprecedented and challenging times, demonstrated their deep bonds of solidarity with each other and highlighted Gibraltarians’ caring and giving nature. “

“Cancer Relief Gibraltar provide vital services to many members of our community, and Peter and I hope that by this challenge, we can assist them in ensuring that they continue to help as many families as possible.”

BOX

Lottoland helps Chronicle keep delivering the news

Gibraltar-based online gaming company Lottoland has funded another fortnight of free editions of the Chronicle for residents in Gibraltar’s four pensioners’ residences.

The Chronicle has been delivering free newspapers to elderly readers in the four residences during the period of lockdown.

The first few weeks of free Chronicles during March were funded by this newspaper and we were able to continue through April thanks to a generous donation by a local businessman who wished to remain anonymous.

Now, Lottoland’s donation will allow the Chronicle to continue delivering nearly 400 free newspapers daily until the middle of May.

“In these unprecedented times it is even more important that we come together to support one another in the community,” said Nigel Birrell, the chief executive of Lottoland.

“We are really pleased that we have been able to step up and help the Gibraltar Chronicle to distribute free daily newspapers to the pensioners – the paper is a lifeline to the world for many of them during this difficult time.”

The Chronicle is delivered to the four residences via the Housing Department under the guidance and advice of public health officials.

Economics and logistics means it is impossible to deliver free newspapers to pensioners outside the four residences, but the Chronicle has also made its Covid-19 coverage free outside the paywall on this newspaper’s website at www.chronicle.gi.

Other local printed media have also been delivering free newspapers to the pensioners’ residences during the lockdown and ensuring their important coverage of the Covid-19 crisis is freely available online.