Support for charities

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Coronavirus (COVID-19) - Support for voluntary, community and social enterprise (VCSE) organisations

Government Funding Opportunities

Our brilliant charities are playing a crucial role in the effort to tackle Coronavirus. They are backed up by an army of amazing volunteers to support those who are most in need.

To help the sector during this difficult time, the Chancellor of the Exchequer has announced an unprecedented £750 million of extra funding: This includes:

  • £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.

    • The Coronavirus Community Support Fund opened at 10am on Friday. The new funding stream makes available £200m in Government funding that will be aimed primarily at small to medium organisations in England. This will be distributed by The National Lottery Community Fund and will provide much-needed financial support to communities across England. Since the start of the Coronavirus pandemic, The National Lottery Community Fund has already distributed £120m to charity and community organisations across the UK, and are now already receiving applications for support from the Government funding. Applications for both Government and National Lottery funding will be via the same entry point on one website, making it easier to apply. The aim of the programme is to support organisations to continue to deliver vital services to people and communities affected by COVID-19. Please take a look at this website to see more information on the types of projects and organisations being funded. 

  • £150 million from dormant bank and building society accounts is to be unlocked to help charities, social enterprises and individuals

  • In addition, the Government will 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 will then receive grant funding for eligible organisations in their community.

    • Match funding above the first £20 million is split between Children In Need and Comic Relief.

Current Government-supported Funding Opportunities:

  • £200 million Coronavirus Community Support Fund: 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 distributed by the National Lottery Community Fund alongside own funding. Applications opened on Friday 22 May 2020.
  • £3.45 million Covid-19 Food Charity Grant Scheme: 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. Apply via the Defra Network eTendering Portal before the application deadline of 6 July 2020.
  • £10 million domestic abuse safe accommodation: COVID-19 emergency support fund: support domestic abuse safe accommodation services who provide beds and offer the critical help victims and their children need. The support, made available by the Ministry for Housing, Communities and Local Government can be used to ensure existing services remain open as well as to create additional capacity and support during these unprecedented times. Apply to the Domestic abuse safe accommodation: COVID-19 emergency support fund before the deadline of 21 May 2020.
  • £6 million COVID-19 Homelessness Response Fund: 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. Apply for the  COVID-19 Homelessness Response Fund to provide £6 million to charities before the deadline of 27 May 2020.
  • £5 million Loneliness Covid-19 Grant Fund: 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 (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport) is investing to help them to continue and adapt their critical work. Apply to the £5 million Loneliness Covid-19 Grant Fund before the application deadline of 12pm, 29 May 2020.
  • £14 million Zoos Support Fund: 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. Apply to the Coronavirus (COVID-19): Support for zoos and aquariums before the deadline of 19 July 2020.

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: for charities providing support services for victims of domestic abuse and sexual violence (£25 million).
      • A further £3 million per annum until 2022 will be invested in the recruitment of more Independent Sexual Violence Advisors.
    • HO: Support for community and specialist support services not funded by PCCs for domestic violence victims (£2 million).
    • More information: Emergency funding to support most vulnerable in society during pandemic
  • Survivors of Modern Slavery (£1.8 million): Support to modern slavery charities, allowing them to offer support services in new ways, using remote working and technology solutions to help tackle criminal threats and mitigate the risks to vulnerable children and young people during the Coronavirus pandemic. 
  • 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.
    • More information: £22 million awarded to life-saving health charities during virus outbreak
  • Citizens Advice (£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.
  • Legal Advice (£5.4 million): 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 (£16 million): 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).
  • 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. Apply via the Armed 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.
  • Funding will consist of:
    • Department for Education (£26.4 million)
    • Home Office (£7.8 million)
  • More information: Emergency funding to support most vulnerable in society during pandemic

More information: Emergency funding to support most vulnerable in society during pandemic

Sector specific funds

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.
  • Coronavirus Local Authority Discretionary Grants Fund Small and micro organisations, including charities, with fixed property costs that are not eligible for the Small Business Grant Fund or the Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Grant Fund may be eligible for the Discretionary Grants Scheme. Organisations based in England with fewer than 50 employees that have fixed building costs (e,g. rent) and have been impacted by coronavirus can apply for grants of £25,000, £10,000 or any amount under £10,000.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • You can also subscribe to the Office for Civil Society newsletter if you would like to receive regular updates on funding and other issues from the Government.


The Government and the Charity Commission has published guidance to help with running your charity during the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak, which you can read online at

This guidance covers issues such as:

Giving to charities

The Charity Commission and Fundraising Regulator urge people to ‘give safely’ as people continue to respond with generosity in the current crisis. It is vital that, at this unprecedented time of need, donations reach their intended cause. By giving to a registered, regulated charity, the public can have assurance that their funds will be accounted for in line with the charity law framework.

Advice for the public on giving safely to registered charities is:

  • check the charity’s name and registration number at most charities with an annual income of £5,000 or more must be registered;
  • make sure the charity is genuine before giving any financial information;
  • be careful when responding to emails or clicking on links within them;
  • contact or find out more online about the charity that you’re seeking to donate to or work with to find out more about their spending.

Further advice can be found on the government's website here.


Individuals who wish to volunteer can sign up to become an NHS Volunteer Responder at

You can also sign up to volunteer via Wolverhampton Voluntary Sector Council at

Page Last updated: 23/05/20.