Funding round-up: January 2021

Road Ahead 2021

This week we published our annual Road Ahead report looking at the key trends, opportunities and challenges likely to impact on charities in the coming year. The unpredictable nature of the covid-19 emergency means the financial outlook for 2021 remains volatile. As a result we suggest that charities plan for an uncertain and challenging economic environment for the foreseeable future.

The full report which looks at political, economic, social, environmental, legal and technological drivers can be viewed here. To help you get a feel for the thinking behind our predictions, you can read Sarah’s blog Looking at the Road Ahead after a turbulent year.

March budget

Along with our sector partners, NCVO has written to the chancellor requesting urgent support for the sector ahead of the March Budget. Our submission reiterates the sector’s Five Point Plan which sets out specific measures as to how the government can support civil society in the medium and longer-term. We have urged Treasury to meet with us to discuss the proposals in more detail, as well as an emergency financial package for the sector.

The budget will be held on 3 March. Follow my blog for analysis and announcements of interest to charities.

Guide on how to bid and win contracts with government

The government has published a guide for voluntary organisations on how to bid and win contracts with government. The guide is aimed at organisations considering large or small scale contracts from central government, local authorities or other public sector buyers.

Updated guidance on Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme

HMRC has updated its guidance on the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme to confirm that employees may be furloughed if they are unable to work or are working reduced hours because of caring responsibilities which have arisen as a result of covid-19.  The amended guidance states that caring responsibilities include caring for:

  • children who are at home as a result of the closure of schools or childcare facilities
  • a vulnerable individual in the household.

Expansion of dormant assets scheme

The government has published its response to the consultation on expanding the Dormant Assets Scheme. The scheme’s expansion has the potential to unlock more than £800 million for social and environmental causes. The Community Wealth Fund Alliance – which includes NCVO – has recommended that the funding be invested in left-behind areas through a Community Wealth Fund to help strengthen communities for years to come.

Social Value Model and bidding with central government events

The government is holding two events for charities and social enterprises interested in finding out more about the new Social Value model and the opportunities it brings to the sector. The event will also be useful for organisations wanting to find out more about the central government bidding process including Contracts Finder, the Public Procurement Review Service and Consortia Bidding.

Two events are planned between 14.00-16.00 on 3 and 17 March. For more details, visit the booking portal here.

Government consultation on public procurement

The government has launched a consultation on ‘transforming public procurement’. The wide-ranging ‘green paper’ includes proposals to speed up and simplify procurement processes; reduce bureaucracy; prioritise value for money, and unleash opportunities for charities and social enterprises to innovate in public service delivery.

The government is keen for charities to respond to the questions in the consultation. The deadline for responses is 10 March 2021.

Current Account finder

Better Business Finance have launched a new Account Finder tool which sets out the available bank account options in a brand agnostic way. It includes an option to filter accounts based on business type, which allows charities to view only relevant products. There is also a ‘Covid Update’ button on each available product, with those firms currently closed to applications highlighted in yellow and those open to new customers displayed in green.

To access the finder, visit the Better Business Finance website.

Resilience and Recovery Loan Fund deadline extended

The Resilience and Recovery Loan Fund (RRLF) is a new fund for social enterprises and charities that are improving people’s lives across the UK who are experiencing disruption to their normal business model as a result of covid-19. It has been established to make government’s Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme more easily accessible to charities and social enterprises. The scheme’s application deadline has recently been extended to 31 March 2021. Contact to find out more.

Fundraiser Apprenticeships

JGA Group have launched an exciting 18-month Fundraiser Apprenticeship. This new, expert-developed, apprenticeship focused on achieving occupational competence for fundraisers is free for charities.

Coronavirus guidance for voluntary organisations

In case you missed it, we have redesigned our Knowhow coronavirus guidance making it easier to navigate and allowing us to best support your needs. We have added several new sections including delivering services and activities, and fundraising and covid-19.

Funding for charities tackling poverty and inequality in London

If you are an organisation looking for funding for work tackling poverty and inequality in London,- Trust for London have an application deadline of 2 February for their next wave of funding. They have a new, simple system with a quick eligibility check, to book in to talk to a grants manager about your application. To book and appointment with a grants manager, visit their site here.

Online training and webinars


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Avatar photo 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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