Coronavirus and charity funding: the latest developments

Coronavirus financial support for charities

NCVO is working closely with government on a package of financial support specifically aimed at supporting the voluntary sector as the coronavirus emergency unfolds. This forms part of a coordinated effort with our sector partners in highlighting to government that charities, like business, are experiencing financial pressures because of coronavirus, while also being on the frontline of supporting vulnerable people at this crucial time.

We’re also urging the government to clarify as soon as possible which of the support measures announced by the chancellor on Tuesday – many of which build on announcements made at last week’s budget – will be available to charities. We’re expecting more details to emerge in the coming days. Follow me on Twitter for updates or sign up for our email updates. For more details on the various support measures announced by government over the past week, see below.

Karl Wilding has written more about what NCVO is doing to support charities and volunteering during coronavirus.

Help us understand the financial impact on the sector

Together with our sector partners, we’re trying to understand what the financial impact of coronavirus might be on charities.

We’d be grateful if you can spare 15 minutes to complete this short survey. Because of the need to move quickly we have a short deadline of end of day Monday 23 March. Every response will be helpful, and we thank you in advance you for your time and help with this – we know what a busy and challenging time this is for everyone.

£2m fund to support London’s voluntary sector

The Greater London Authority and the City Bridge Trust have contributed £1m to launch a new £2m fund to support London’s voluntary sector. The emergency scheme – coordinated by London Funders – will be available to organisations facing immediate financial pressures and uncertainty because of the coronavirus. These include increasing demands for services, higher staff absences, fewer volunteers and lower donations.

NCVO is hoping that cross-sector partnerships like this will be replicated across the country as the coronavirus outbreak develops.

National Emergencies Trust coronavirus appeal

The National Emergencies Trust (NET) has launched a fundraising appeal to help people most affected by the coronavirus emergency. The appeal will raise funds for local charities and grassroots organisations that can provide vital support to people in the quickest way possible.

Individuals and charities should not apply directly to the NET for funds. Grant aid and information on how to apply to your local community foundation will be available from Monday 23 March.

Public fundraising and social distancing

Following the government’s advice on social distancing, the Institute of Fundraising and Fundraising Regulator are advising all charities to reflect seriously on whether to continue public fundraising (face to face, door to door and private site). This is due to the increased health risk to the population at large, as well as to fundraisers and volunteers. They’re recommending that charities carry out a thorough risk assessment, and that any decision to continue public fundraising should be documented and made at the most senior level.

Support from funders during coronavirus

London Funders have published a statement signed by over 150 grantmakers promising to support charities during the coronavirus emergency. The statement offers reassurance that signatories will be understanding of difficulties encountered by charities, including flexibility on reporting requirements and how funding is used.

Meanwhile the Association of Charitable Foundations has published a blog post on what foundations need to be thinking about in regards of the coronavirus crisis. Other organisations that have pledged to support their grantees include the National Lottery Community Fund and the Esmée Fairbairn Foundation.

Message from social investors on coronavirus

A coalition of social investors have issued a statement reassuring the organisations they invest in that they will as supportive and flexible as possible as the coronavirus unfolds. This includes looking at how they can adapt existing schemes and funds, and working with government and other funders to establish new programmes that may provide additional help. More details, including a full list of signatories, can be found on the Good Finance website.

Benefits and coronavirus

The national charity Turn2us which provides practical help to people who are struggling financially has created a complete guide to financial support during coronavirus. It includes guidance on the various benefits available in the event of self-isolation and a useful benefits calculator based on the latest government policy.

Budget 2020 and government stimulus package for managing coronavirus

Last week’s spring budget was inevitably dominated by the unveiling of an economic action plan for tackling the coronavirus outbreak. As the situation intensified, this was rapidly followed this week by another announcement from the chancellor boosting many of the measures outlined at the budget.

Key measures announced over the past week include:

  • statutory sick pay of up to 14 days for organisations with fewer than 250 employees, including those who self-isolate and people caring for them. Charities that are employers will benefit from this support
  • a £500m ‘hardship fund’ for councils to support economically vulnerable people and households. Precise details of how the fund will operate were not provided, but the government expects most of it to be used to provide more council tax relief
  • a 100% business rates holiday for all retail, hospitality and leisure businesses in England for the next 12 months
  • increasing grants to small businesses eligible for small business rate relief from £3,000 to £10,000
  • grants worth £25,000 for retail, hospitality and leisure businesses operating from smaller premises, with a rateable value over £15,000 and below £51,000
  • a temporary coronavirus business interruption loan scheme that will guarantee 80% of the value of relevant loans worth up to £5m. This will give lenders further confidence in lending to small and medium-sized enterprises
  • support from mortgage lenders for customers that are experiencing issues with their finances as a result of coronavirus, including through payment holidays of up to three months.
  • bringing forward emergency legislation to protect private renters from eviction.

We are currently seeking more details from government on which measures will be available to charities. This is a fast-moving and constantly evolving situation, so we should expect further financial support measures for individuals and businesses to emerge in the coming days and weeks. To be kept up to date, sign up for email updates.

For more details on other non-coronavirus budget announcements of interest to charities, see my blog post.

 

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Paul Winyard Paul joined NCVO over seven years ago after working for a leading public affairs agency. Since then he’s led our policy work on a variety of issues, including welfare-to-work reforms, volunteering, the Compact, public service commissioning and procurement regulations. He now leads our work on funding and finance with a particular focus on charity tax relief and safeguarding EU funding post-Brexit.

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