COVID-19 BRIEFING FOR SME’S ISSUED AT 1430 hrs on 21st MAY 2020


In this Bulletin we cover the Government’s financial support options for voluntary, community and social enterprise (VCSE) organisations. The Government has pledged £750 million to ensure VCSE organisations can continue their vital work during the Coronavirus crisis, including £200m for the Coronavirus Community Support Fund, along with an additional £150 million from dormant bank and building society accounts. These funding schemes are being co-ordinated by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport (DCMS).

Some have tight deadlines so please read now!


Getting funding to those most in need as quickly as possible is vital and priority will be given to those VCSE’s 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 (NLCF), local Community Foundations, Children In Need and Comic Relief are safe and effective mechanisms. DCMS has worked intensively with the voluntary sector, NLCF 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’s 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 speedy as possible.


Coronavirus Community Support Fund (£200million)

The Government has committed £200m for small and medium sized charities and social enterprises. Funding will help maintain and enhance services for vulnerable people affected by the current crisis, particularly in situations 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, and applications will open Friday 22 May, at 10am. DCMS will review feedback from the early distribution of the £200 million fund and its early impact on the crisis, helping it to inform decisions on the future distribution of an additional £110 million, so that funding is best used to address existing and newly emerging priorities and opportunities.

Covid-19 Food Charity Grant Scheme (£3.45million)

These grants aim to provide immediate support to keep food charities and front-line food aid charities open and supporting the vulnerable with a continual supply of food, which is or cannot be otherwise accessed through usual routes. This is part of the £16m ‘Provide Meals for those in Need’ package listed below. This scheme is co-ordinated by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA).

Domestic Abuse Safe Accommodation: COVID-19 Emergency Support Fund (£10million)

This fund is designed to support domestic abuse/safe accommodation services that provide beds and offer critical help to victims and their children in need. The support can be used to ensure existing services remain open as well as to create additional capacity and support during the current crisis. This fund is being co-ordinated by the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG).

Homelessness (£6million)

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.

Loneliness Covid-19 Grant Fund (£5million)

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. The funding is being co-ordinated by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport.

Domestic Abuse Survivors and Survivors of Sexual Violence (£30million)

This funding package is split between the Home Office (HO) and the Ministry of Justice (MOJ). MOJ: Support for charities providing support services for victims of domestic abuse and sexual violence (£25million). 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 (£2m).

This fund provides support for charities providing legal advice. It 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.

Provide Meals for those in Need (£16million)

This fund aims to provide millions of meals over the next 12 weeks 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.

Vulnerable Children (£34.15million)

This fund will 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.

Sector Specific Funds

Here are five links to some sector specific funding information, which you may find helpful:

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. You may wish to contact one or more of these organisations directly to see if you can partner with them on any of your current or proposed schemes. The funds will be divided thus:

  • £10 million will be brought forward for the Youth Futures Foundation to help organisations that 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. They will also 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 Scaleup 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.

The latter two 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.

You may also wish to contact one or more of the following four organisations to seek funding and/or partnerships:

  • The National Lottery Community Fund is accelerating up to £300m 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. The community foundations provide grant funding to eligible organisations within their communities. Eligible organisations include charities, Parish & Town Councils and religious organisations that are providing immediate relief as part of the COVID-19 response.
  • 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 8th June. 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 that are already delivering work in their communities and further afield.

We will issue further advice and guidance Bulletins as the Covid-19 situation develops.

Sir Henry Boyle
1430 hrs 21st May 2020

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.

London: 020 7082 8100 | Kent: 01303 760 805 | Bucks/Berks: 01494 419 192

Back to top
%d bloggers like this: