Financial support for voluntary, community and social enterprise (VCSE) organisations to respond to coronavirus (COVID-19)

The Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport (DCMS) is working to ensure that VCSEs can effectively support HMG’s operational response to key challenges, such as helping the shielding population and the Non-shielding Vulnerable to access food, and other activities that are delivering charitable purposes.

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The government has pledged £750 million to ensure VCSE can continue their vital work supporting the country during the coronavirus outbreak including £200 million for the Coronavirus Community Support Fund, along with an additional £150 million from dormant bank and building society accounts. The Office for Civil Society in DCMS is working with colleagues across government to direct funds to support the VCSE and the wide range of essential activities they undertake.

Funding announced

The funding is aimed at supporting those who need to continue providing their services as part of the national coronavirus response and is being allocated through the following ways:

  • £360 million from individual government departments to charities in England based on evidence of service need. Of this £200 million is to directly support hospices
  • £310 million for smaller, local VCSEs working with vulnerable people in England, including £200 million Coronavirus Community Support Fund will be distributed by the National Lottery Community Fund
  • £60 million in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland to support thousands of charities on the frontline helping vulnerable people affected by COVID-19
  • £150 million from dormant bank and building society accounts is to be unlocked to help charities, social enterprises and individuals
  • Match funding the generous public donations to the BBC Big Night In. The latest fundraising total is over £35 million. The first £20 million of match funding went to the National Emergencies Trust appeal for smaller, local VCSEs. The 47 local Community Foundations across the UK, including Scotland, Wales & Northern Ireland will then grant funding to eligible organisations within their community. Match funding above the first £20 million is split between Children In Need and Comic Relief.

Distribution of public funds

Getting funding to those most in need as quickly as possible is vital and priority will be given to those VCSEs with the most need for government funds. The distribution of public funds to organisations must have appropriate due diligence, robust evidence of need and capacity to deliver help quickly.

The application processes of government departments, the National Lottery Community Fund, local Community Foundations, Children In Need and Comic Relief are safe and effective mechanisms. We have worked intensively with the voluntary sector, TNLCF and departments to offer a package of funding to meet needs across the country through national and smaller, local organisations alike.

Departments are taking a range of approaches to getting funding to the VCSE in order to meet the community needs they have identified as quickly as possible. Some funding will be provided directly to organisations they already work in partnership with, and a number of departments will be running specific onward grants processes themselves or with partners. Where this is the case application and assessment processes will be as straightforward and quick as possible.

Available funds and how to apply for them

Current funding opportunities open for applications

Coronavirus Community Support Fund - £200 million

Government has committed £200 million for small and medium sized charities and social enterprises. Funding will help maintain and enhance services for vulnerable people affected by the current crisis, where delivery organisations are experiencing income disruption and/or increased demand. Funding is being distributed by the National Lottery Community Fund, alongside its own funding. Applications opened on Friday 22 May 2020.

DCMS will review learning from the early distribution of the £200 million fund and evolving picture on the impact of the crisis, to inform decisions on the distribution of the remaining £110 million, so that funding is best utilised to address emerging priorities and opportunities.

Organisation: National Lottery Community Fund

How to apply

Geographical scope: England

Covid-19 Food Charity Grant Scheme - £3.45 million

To provide immediate support to keep food charities and front-line food aid charities open and supporting the vulnerable, due to the economic impacts of Covid-19, with a continual supply of food otherwise not accessed through usual routes.

Part of the £16 million Provide Meals for those in Need package listed below.

Department: Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

How to applyDefra Network eTendering Portal. Click on View current opportunities.

Geographical scope: England

Application Deadline: 6 July 2020

Domestic abuse safe accommodation: COVID-19 emergency support fund - £10 million

Support domestic abuse safe accommodation services who provide beds and offer the critical help victims and their children need.

The support can be used to ensure existing services remain open as well as to create additional capacity and support during these unprecedented times.

Department: Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government

How to applyDomestic abuse safe accommodation: COVID-19 emergency support fund

Geographical scope: England

Application Deadline: 21 May 2020

Homelessness - £6 million

The COVID-19 Homelessness Response Fund will provide emergency funding to homelessness charities directly affected by the Coronavirus. The funding comes from The Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) and will be distributed to frontline services by Homeless Link.

Department: Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government

How to applyCOVID-19 Homelessness Response Fund to provide 6 million to charities

Geographical scope: England

Application Deadline: 27 May 2020

Loneliness Covid-19 Grant Fund - £5 million

National organisations working to tackle loneliness and build social connections are invited to apply for a share of £5 million of funding, which the government is investing to help them to continue and adapt their critical work.

Department: Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport

How to apply£5 million Loneliness Covid-19 Grant Fund

Geographical scope: England

Application Deadline: 12pm, 29 May 2020

Zoos Support Fund - 14 million

The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs has launched a 14 million Covid-19 support fund for zoos and aquariums. Organisations including charities that are facing financial difficulty can apply for a grant of up 100,000.

The grant is to cover costs such as keepers’ wages; animal feed and bedding; veterinary care and medicines; electricity and heating; waste removal.

Department: Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

How to applyCoronavirus (COVID-19): Support for zoos and aquariums

Geographical scope: England

Application Deadline: 19 July 2020.

We ask that where you make more than one application across these funds you declare the other applications, and any other funding you are already receiving from the package, in each application form. Funders across the package will work together to prevent double funding of activities and claw back funds should double funding take place.

Where funding has been awarded or allocated

DCMS has robust agreements in place with those distributing the resources and providing onward grants. The agreements include regular monitoring of what resources have been allocated to which organisations, how it is being spent and what difference it is making. We will monitor this closely and will communicate this to our stakeholders as it becomes available.

Other sources of funding for VCSEs

Domestic Abuse Survivors and Survivors of Sexual Violence - £30 million

Funding package split between Home Office (HO), Ministry of Justice (MOJ).

MOJ: Support for charities providing support services for victims of domestic abuse and sexual violence (£25 million). A further £3 million per annum until 2022 will also be invested in the recruitment of more Independent Sexual Violence Advisors across the country.

HO: Support for community and specialist support services not funded by PCCs for domestic violence victims (£2 million).

Department(s): Home Office (HO), Ministry of Justice (MOJ).

Geographical scope: England and Wales

More informationEmergency funding to support most vulnerable in society during pandemic

Support for Health Charities - £22 million

Support for health charities including mental health, ambulance, social care, learning disabilities, autism and dementia charities.

  • £4.2 million to support mental health charities and charities within the National Bereavement Alliance
  • up to £6.8 million to support St John Ambulance
  • £6 million to support Air Ambulances
  • £6 million to support various charities, including those working with people with learning disabilities, autism and complex needs; those working to support people with cancer; stroke and dementia charities, and those that support the adult social care system

This funding will also go to charities supporting pregnant women, babies in neonatal intensive care and those affected by stillbirth and neonatal deaths and support for specialist addiction and recovery charities.

Department: Department of Health and Social Care

Geographical scope: England

More information£22 million awarded to life-saving health charities during virus outbreak

Support for the Citizens Advice service to boost advice provision - 15 million

The national charities Citizens Advice and Citizens Advice Scotland have experienced unprecedented demand for advice on a range of issues from financial, to legal and consumer as a result of the current pandemic. They have been awarded jointly £15 million in additional funding which will help them to respond to that demand through boosting capacity to deliver advice to more people by telephone, digital and online.

Organisation: Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy

Geographical scope: England, Wales and Scotland

Legal Advice - £5.4 million

Support for charities providing legal advice. This funding will help organisations to continue to provide vital legal advice throughout the pandemic, increase capacity, and deliver services remotely.

This funding will support the Community Justice Fund, which will be administered by the Access to Justice Foundation, and the Law Centres Network, which will oversee funding earmarked for law centres.

Department: Ministry of Justice

Geographical scope: England and Wales

More information£5.4 million to support legal advice sector during the COVID-19 pandemic

Provide Meals for those in Need - £16 million

Provide millions of meals over the next 12 weeks and through charities including FareShare and Waste and Resources Action Programme.

Both WRAP and FareShare have well-established networks for funding local charities and delivering food, ensuring support can get to where it is needed as quickly as possible. Part of the fund will also be available for smaller food distribution charities. (Covid-19 Food Charity Grant Scheme).

Department: Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

Geographical scope: England

More information£16 million for food charities to provide meals for those in need

Support for armed forces communities - 6 million

Support for Armed Forces charities and Community Interest Companies (CICs) who are delivering services to veterans, Armed Forces families and others from the Armed Forces community. Grants of up to £60,000 are available.

The services you offer should be in one of nine key areas: Support to the elderly (including care homes); Mental and physical health; Welfare; Domestic violence; Housing; Criminal Justice System; Service families (including childcare); Bereavement; and Employment.

Department: Ministry of Defence

Geographical scope: United Kingdom

How to applyArmed Forces Covenant Trust Fund

Vulnerable Children - £34.15 million

Support work to safeguard vulnerable children including children with disabilities, those who are critically ill, care leavers and children in the early years. 

Funding will also allow charities to offer support services in new ways, using remote working and technology solutions, for example, to help tackle criminal threats and mitigate the risks to vulnerable children and young people during the coronavirus pandemic.

Department(s): Department for Education (£26.4 million), Home Office (£7.8 million)

Geographical scope: DfE - England (except Childline, which will apply to the UK), HO - England and Wales

More informationEmergency funding to support most vulnerable in society during pandemic

Sector specific funds

Arts Council England Emergency Response Package

Historic England Emergency Relief Fund

National Lottery Heritage Fund Emergency Fund

Resilience and Recovery Loan Fund

Sport England Community Emergency Fund

Treasury financial support

Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme where small and large employers will be eligible to apply for a government grant of 80% of workers’ salaries up to £2,500 a month. The scheme will be backdated to March 19 and available for at least three months, with the first grants to be paid within weeks. At this moment HMT is not looking to change the existing rules for furloughed staff in charities.

Self-Employed Income Support Scheme to help eligible freelance workers receive up to £2,500 per month in grants for at least three months. Those eligible will receive a cash grant worth 80% of their average monthly trading profit over the three years up to 2018/19.

Deferral of the next quarter VAT payments for firms, until the end of June - representing a £30 billion injection into the economy.

Business Loan Interruption Scheme £330 billion worth of government backed and guaranteed loans to support businesses and charities and social enterprises with trading revenues. All viable small and large businesses affected by COVID-19, and not just those unable to secure regular commercial financing, will now be eligible should they need finance to keep operating during this difficult time.

Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Grant Fund Businesses as well as certain charities and social enterprises in the retail, hospitality and leisure sectors (such as charity shops) will be eligible for a cash grant for each property that has a rateable value below £51,000. These organisations may also be eligible for a business rates holiday for the 2020/21 tax year via the Expanded Retail Discount. Many charities already receive substantial rates relief via Charitable Rate Relief.

HMT Future Fund A package of measures to support pre-revenue firms such as innovative and competitive companies in the tech and creative sectors. These bridging loans, as well as extra support from Innovate UK a the British Business Bank.

Further financial support

£150 million from dormant bank and building society accounts is to be unlocked to help charities, social enterprises and individuals in vulnerable financial circumstances during the coronavirus outbreak. Of the £150 million:

  • £10 million will be brought forward for Youth Futures Foundation to help organisations who support unemployed, disadvantaged young people across the country into jobs. They will be launching an Emergency Levelling Up Youth Fund to support young people from hardest hit communities; and will expand their Development and Impact grants programme to rapidly increase youth employment provisions.
  • £45 million will be deployed by Big Society Capital to allow better access to investment including emergency loans for charities, social enterprises and some small businesses facing cash-flow problems and disruption to their trading following the coronavirus outbreak.
  • Fair4All Finance will use £65 million to increase access to fair, affordable and appropriate financial products and services for those struggling financially, particularly in light of the coronavirus outbreak. This includes an expanded Affordable Credit Scale-up Programme, which aims to improve the access and availability of affordable credit, and other initiatives for those in financially vulnerable circumstances.
  • £30 million will go to Access - The Foundation for Social Investment who will support social enterprises helping people in vulnerable circumstances. They will make up to £10 million available for emergency support through social lenders while also developing a wider programme of recovery finance for the social sector. Both initiatives will work alongside Big Society Capital and other social lenders, and will enable a wider range of organisations to access affordable and flexible finance.

The National Lottery Community Fund is accelerating up to £300 million of lottery funding to address the current crisis. This is not new money, but it will get funding quickly to frontline organisations to support communities and individuals affected by COVID-19.

National Emergencies Trust Coronavirus Appeal distributes funding to 46 UK Community Foundations across the UK, including Scotland, Wales & Northern Ireland. The community foundations grant funding to eligible organisations within their community. Eligible organisations include charities, parish & town councils, and religious organisations who are providing immediate relief as part of the COVID-19 response.

Devolved administrations

Some aspects of business support are devolved. Specific information for businesses and employers in Northern Ireland, Scotland, and Wales is available:

● Northern Ireland

● Scotland

● Wales

In England, Growth Hubs can advise on local and UK Government business support:

LEP Growth Hubs

BBC Children in Need Covid-19 2020 Booster Grants is a programme that will award small grants of up to £5,000 to organisations working with children and young people who have been impacted by COVID-19. These grants are designed to help organisations change, adapt and expand their approach to delivering their work. This is so they can better support the children and young people they currently work with.

BBC Children in Need Larger Grants programme will open for applications from the 8 June 2020. The funding is for organisations delivering support for Children and Young People affected by COVID-19. Eligible organisations will be able to apply for up to £80,000. These grants can last up to 18 months. It is designed for established organisations who are already delivering work in their communities and further afield.

Stay in touch and find out about any updates or new funds

Please regularly check the page as it will be updated and includes links to the individual funds, further information and contacts.

Please also subscribe to the Office for Civil Society newsletter if you would like to receive regular updates on funding and other issues from the department.

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