Manchester

Manchester Arena attack fund to stop taking donations

Top (left to right): Lisa Lees, Alison Howe, Georgina Callander, Kelly Brewster, John Atkinson, Jane Tweddle, Marcin Klis - Middle (left to right): Angelika Klis, Courtney Boyle, Saffie Roussos, Olivia Campbell-Hardy, Martyn Hett, Michelle Kiss, Philip Tron, Elaine McIver - Bottom (left to right): Eilidh MacLeod, Wendy Fawell, Chloe Rutherford, Liam Allen-Curry, Sorrell Leczkowski, Megan Hurley, Nell Jones - CORRECT Image copyright Various
Image caption Twenty two people were killed in the blast on 22 May 2017

The charity set up to help victims' families and survivors of the Manchester Arena attack is to stop taking donations.

The We Love Manchester Emergency Fund, launched in the wake of the blast which claimed 22 lives, has handed out more than £20m.

About £3m was given to people left with psychological trauma.

Trustee Edith Conn said: "The time has arrived when the charity's work is able to start being scaled down."

Pop star Ariana Grande was performing at the arena on the night a suicide bomber blew himself up in the foyer in May last year.

The One Love Manchester benefit concert, organised by her and staged in the city the following month, helped raise £7.3m for the fund.

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Ariana Grande put on a benefit gig in the city shortly after the bombing, which generated about a third of the total donated

Ruth Murrell and her daughter Emily suffered serious shrapnel wounds in the blast, subsequently spending five weeks in hospital and undergoing five operations each.

She said: "The funding we received has enabled us to start re-living our lives again, even though it's a different type of normal.

"It's allowed us to start building new happy memories and to not have to struggle with paying bills.

"Nobody will ever know how much we appreciate all that people have done for us survivors."

There is £750,000 left to allocate as the fund scales back its work.

It will stop taking donations from 31 January and trustees have advised anyone raising money over the festive period to bank their donations by that date.

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption The fund has distributed more than £20m to survivors and bereaved families

Who has received funds:

  • Bereaved families: 40%
  • Physically injured: 38%
  • Psychologically injured: 20%
  • Others: 2%
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Media captionSurvivor Paul Price said the public's support had been "overwhelming"

A report published by the fund on Wednesday coincides with the release of an independent review into the workings of the charity.

The aim was to explain how the fund worked and outline lessons learned since its creation, should there ever be a need to manage a similar disaster fund.

"The fund, by its very nature, was never intended as a permanent charity, but as an urgent response to people's immediate needs," said Ms Conn.

"While its work will continue for some time, as people's grief, injuries and trauma are ongoing, the time has arrived when the charity's work is able to start being scaled down."

' I never thought I could go back'

Image copyright We Love Manchester Emergency Fund
Image caption Harry Shillito is still affected "every day" by being caught up in the arena attack

Harry Shillito braved a return to the arena for the first time since witnessing the attack in order to help other victims.

The 21-year-old completed a 50-mile sponsored cycle from his home in Dewsbury, West Yorkshire, to the Arena, raising more than £1,000 to be split between the We Love Manchester Emergency Fund and the fund for a memorial.

He said: "On 22 May 2017 I was finally getting to see one of my favourite artists after waiting months. Little did anyone know what was about to happen that night. The scenes from that event still affect me every day.

"Returning to the scene was something I never thought I could do, but I decided to help out the charity by raising money as I want to try and help all those affected in the attack in any way possible."

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