Government support for charities in the Covid-19 crisis
On 8 April 2020, the Chancellor Rishi Sunak announced a £750m package to ‘ensure [charities] can continue their vital work during the coronavirus outbreak.’
Through our work, we are aware that many charities want to know how they can access some of this funding. We have also seen some confusion about how it has been allocated. So, using government sources (most importantly this webpage which summarises the funding so far—but is not an exact representation and we have been informed by the Department for Digital, Culture Media and Sport that it includes rounded figures and match funding from other sources) we have attempted to break down the allocation of the £750m into its sub-funds, in a way that is both clear and accessible.
This page was updated on 25.06.2020 to include answers to some questions that this paper raised, supplied by the Department for Digital, Culture Media and Sport.
Where it’s gone
Funds given directly by government departments have largely gone to tackle social issues exacerbated by the crisis, such as domestic violence and food insecurity, and to shore up institutions that it recognises are experiencing massive demand (such as the Citizens Advice Bureau and hospices) or will be required during and after the crisis (for example St John Ambulance).
How it got there
Very little of the funding has been given directly by government departments to charities. Most of it has been given to funds, often run by charities. And the government has shown itself willing to hand over the final decision-making power at a large scale (for example by giving £200m to the National Lottery Community Fund).
How much is left
All of the £750m has been allocated to different causes, but we have different levels of information on how much of it has reached the end recipient (and who that recipient is). To that end, we hope to keep this page updated as new announcements are made.
The £750m was described as being split into two main pots, with a third much smaller pot being a government pledge to ‘match fund’ the BBC’s Big Night In fundraiser. We break them into the following classifications:
Pot A, worth £360m, is for ‘charities providing key services and supporting vulnerable people.’ It comes ‘direct from government departments.’
Pot B, worth £370m, is for ‘smaller charities.’ This is distributed, at least in part, by the National Lottery Community Fund.
Finally, the government committed to match funding at least £20m of the funds raised by the BBC’s Big Night In. Despite being much smaller than the other pots, it is distinct and so we are calling this Pot C.
Pot A: ‘Charities providing key services and supporting vulnerable people’
We understand Pot A to have been allocated as follows. The language we’ve used to describe the sub-funds is that used in government press releases. We have included the distributing department where we have that information.
The first and largest chunk of Pot A is £200m for hospices. We have not yet been able to uncover any clarity about how this money is being distributed to hospices or how much has already been spent.
The rest has been allocated to government departments.
£34.15m: Vulnerable children fund. Divided between two departments as follows:
£26.35m is being distributed by the Department for Education for charities in England. However, some funds have been distributed to Childline—making them UK wide. Closed. Further details can be found here.
£7.6m is being distributed by the Home Office to charities in England and Wales. Applications are now closed, details here.
Note, there is small difference in the values of the funds distributed by the Department of Education here, and what appears on the .gov page. This is because we have been informed the number on the .gov page has been rounded up, to £26.4m. The total value, of £34.15m is correct – both here and on the .gov page.
£30m: Domestic abuse survivors and survivors of sexual violence fund. This is for charities in England and Wales and comes from two departments as follows:
MoJ: £20m distributed via commissioning by Police and Crime Commissioners, £5m to organisations already funded through the national Rape and Sexual Abuse Support Fund (RSF) plus £3m per annum until 2022 to support the recruitment of Independent Sexual Violence Advisers (ISVAs) (note we have been informed by DCMS that the£3m for ISVAs is additional funding from the MoJ and not part of the £750m). This pot was not open for general applications, details here.
£2m from the Home Office as funds for community and specialist support services. Closed on the 20th July, details here.
£22m: Support for health charities, targeted to be distributed by the end of May. This is being distributed by the Department for Health and Social Care to the following organisations in England:
Up to £6.8m to support St John Ambulance.
£6m for Air Ambulances.
£6m to support various health charities. This includes those working with people with learning disabilities, autism and complex needs, such as the National Autistic Society, British Institute for Learning Disabilities, Mencap, Learning Disability England, Contact, Respond, and the Challenging Behaviour Foundation; those working to support people with cancer, such as Anthony Nolan Trust, Jo’s Cervical Cancer Trust, and Blood Cancer UK; stroke and dementia charities and those that support the adult social care system, such as Carers UK, Alzheimer’s Society, Race Equality Foundation, Royal Osteoporosis Society, and Stroke Association.
£4.2m to support mental health charities, including Samaritans, Young Minds, Place2Be, Beat, Mental Health UK, Bipolar UK, CALM and charities within the National Bereavement Alliance.
£16m: Covid-19 food charity grant scheme. This is being distributed by the Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs to WRAP and FareShare to fund “at least 5,000” local charities in England providing food. Targeted to be completed by the 3rd of August, it was extended and is still open to Medium to Large charities. Details of recipients so far here. Within this was also a £3.45m Covid-19 food charity grant scheme for which applications are now closed.
£15m: Funding for the Citizens Advice Bureau. This money came via the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy to support the Citizens Advice Bureau’s work in England, Wales, and Scotland.
£14m: Coronavirus (Covid-19) support for zoos and aquariums fund. This is being distributed by the Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs to zoos and aquariums in England. Updated 02.10.2020 The fund has been closed and a new fund opened, details here.
£10m: The domestic abuse safe accommodation Covid-19 emergency support fund. This was for charities in England and was distributed by the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government. Applications have closed, and you can see who received funds here.
£6m: Covid-19 homelessness response fund. This was for charities in England and was distributed by the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government. Grants were managed by Homeless Link, further details on the criteria they used are here. Applications have now closed.
£6m: Armed forces covenant fund. This is being distributed by the Ministry of Defence across the whole of the UK. Applications closed on the 29th of May, projects need to have been completed by the 31st of October.
£5.4m: Legal advice fund. This is being distributed by the Ministry of Justice via the Community Justice Fund to charities in England and Wales. It will be administered by the Access to Justice Foundation. The Law Centres Network will oversee funding earmarked for law centres. Closed.
£5m: Loneliness Covid-19 grant fund. This was for charities in England and was distributed by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport. Applications have now closed. List of grantees.
£1.8m: Survivors of modern slavery fund. This was for charities in England and Wales. The funds appear to have been distributed by the Home Office to providers of the Modern Slavery Victim Care Contract, to allow individuals receiving support to receive that support for longer.
These sub-funds appear to add up to £365.35m, which is £5.35m more than the original pledge for this part of the government’s funding package. It is unclear clear if this additional spending is intentional. We have asked the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport for clarification.
Pot B: ‘Smaller charities’
We understand Pot B to have been allocated as follows. The language used to describe the funds is that used in government press releases. We have included the allocating organisation where we have that information.
£200m: Small and medium charities in England. This is being distributed by the National Lottery Community Fund. Applications are open here.
£60m: Small and medium charities in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. This is being distributed by the devolved administrations who have the following funds open for applications:
£110m: Held back by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport to ‘address emerging priorities.’
£82.4m was distributed via the Community Match Challenge (applications closed on the 2nd of August). The funding matched efforts by 19 funders, philanthropists and charities with an average grant size of £4.3m. The most commonly cited causes were poverty, mental health, food and supporting BAME communties. Details can be found here
This pot adds up to £370m, which is in line with our understanding of the government’s announcements.
Pot C: The Big Night In
A much smaller but separate chunk of the government’s funding came from its commitment to match fund at least £20m of the funds raised during the BBC’s Big Night In fundraiser. We understand that £35m was raised through this event and will be matched by the government. This funding has been allocated as follows:
£20m to the 47 local community foundations across the UK, distributed via the National Emergencies Trust.
£15m to a range of causes across the UK, including NHS charities together, and for food (further details here). This money is being distributed by Children in Need and Comic Relief though we are told by DCMS this is not yet finalised.
As £15m more was raised than the £20m minimum, and with the additional £5.35m we identified in Pot A, we believe the government’s total funding package for charities now stands at £770.35m.
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