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There has been lots of coverage this week of the government’s £750m charity rescue package. This is a very small amount of money when you divide it up across the country, and across the huge number of charities who may need it. Here is what we know so far, with thanks to NCVO (National Council of Voluntary Organisations) and ACEVO (Association of Chief Executives of Voluntary Organisations) for providing some of the detail.

There are two main components:

£370m for smaller organisations delivering essential frontline COVID-19 related services for vulnerable people, to be delivered via the National Lottery Community Fund (NLCF).

£360m to be distributed by other government departments (e.g. health, justice etc.) targeting services already within their remit being delivered by the sector (e.g. mental health, children, domestic abuse victims). In the North East we know that Police and Crime Commissioners have been contacted by the Ministry Of Justice to provide details of what the charities they commission for victims services may need.

  • The definition of what constitutes a ‘vulnerable person’ is still being worked on. It needs to be clearly focused but also ensure it meets real need.
  • The NCLF fund will not be exclusively focused on small organisations but will consider applications from larger organisations. However, it anticipates the majority of the funding will go to organisations with incomes under £1m; a comparatively large income for many organisations in our region. Most grants are likely to be up to £100,000.
  • Priority will be given to those organisations directly working on COVID-19 services, as well as others which provide services which contribute to managing the demand on public services (including mental health and wellbeing, loneliness and isolation).
  • Charities with some levels of reserves will not be excluded from the NLCF fund – in fact, the government wants to support organisations which in usual circumstances have a reasonable level of financial stability. But it will less likely be given to those with large levels of reserves.
  • One of the sub-sectors DCMS (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport) is interested in is those that have specific health issues related to COVID-19 of which BAME (Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic) communities are an important part. DCMS wants to work with organisations supporting those communities, as does the National Emergencies Trust (NET), which wants to reach out specifically to BAME groups to make sure no one is left out. The NLCF also said it will continue to run every decision through its diversity and inclusion lens and welcomed feedback if there is something it should be doing differently.
  • This is money for UK-related work only: the fund does not cover international charities.
  • The NET fund which has already started distributing grants is making very small grants, often under £1k and very rarely over £10k. This is aimed at small, local community groups.
  • Social enterprises can now apply to Big Society Capital which has launched a £100m programme of loans and investment to help get much-needed emergency funding to social enterprises, charities and small businesses in disadvantaged areas affected by the coronavirus pandemic. 
  • The NCLF Awards for All programme will continue to run separate to the government-funded grant scheme – these are all grants under £10,000. Awards for All will continue to prioritise COVID-19 response. You can read more about this on our Funding Page.

Don't forget to check back to our Funding Page regularly for key updates around government and grant funding news and opportunities.