TWO brand new cash support funds for Isle of Wight charities on the front line of the COVID-19 epidemic have been launched by the Isle of Wight Council.

The Third Sector Lifeline and the Community Essential Shopping and Delivery have been set up to allow groups to access government grants.

The TSL fund is designed to offer loans of up to £30,000 to help not-for-profit organisations and community interest companies bridge the gap while they wait for government funding

The CESD fund is intended to support residents by providing loans to groups doing shopping in making supply runs for people in the community.

Councillor Dave Stewart, Leader of the Isle of Wight Council, said: "We have seen from our colleagues in the voluntary sector an unprecedented response to the Covid-19 threat.

“However, we know some are struggling to maintain their operational costs and deliver the additional work to support the Island.

"They are supporting some of our most vulnerable residents so we in turn must do all that we can to support them.

"These 'lifeline' loans and grants, accessible through these two new funds, will ensure the voluntary sector continues to thrive now and after the crisis."