Government reveals £750m aid package for charities

9 April, 2020

 

We are cautiously optimistic following the UK government’s announcement of £750m worth of aid to charities as part of its response to coronavirus, including £370m allocated to small and medium-sized charities.

Whilst it is unclear how the money will be distributed, this is hopefully the first stage of government relief efforts to support the VCSE sector.

Here’s what we know so far:

  • Of the £750m, £360m will be directly allocated by government departments to charities on the front line of the pandemic – those providing key services, such as victims’ charities, hospices and charities helping vulnerable children.
  • £370m will go to small and medium-sized charities also doing crucial work during the pandemic, such as those distributing food or providing financial advice to the public. This will include a grant to the National Lottery Community Fund in England.
  • This money is separate from the £300m in funding brought forward by the National Lottery Community Fund in late March.
  • The government has also pledged to match donations to the Big Night In, a BBC fundraising event to be broadcast on 23 April 2020.

Sandra Meadows, Chief Executive of Voscur, said:

“The government’s £750m financial package for charities is good news for the VCSE sector. However, detail is needed on how the money can be drawn down and we also need to work consider all those VCSE organisations that aren’t registered charities, such as community organisations and social enterprises. We also need to make sure the needs of equalities-led groups are deeply embedded in any response.   

“I see this as an open door and therefore an opportunity for further talks with Government to make sure the sophistication and complexity of our sector is recognised. This includes recognition that a broader range of VCSE organisations will be called upon during the recovery phase.  Thank you to everyone who lobbied on behalf of the sector locally and nationally. There’s more to do, so let’s keep going.”

The National Council for Voluntary Organisations (NCVO) has already estimated that charities stand to lose around £4bn in the next 12 weeks, due to the crisis.

Karl Wilding, Chief Executive of NCVO, said in his response to the government’s announcement:

“Today’s announcement is an important first step, but it will not be enough to prevent good charities around the country from closing their doors. Even many that survive will look very different in a few months’ time, with a severely reduced capacity to provide the support that people rely on.”

The many smaller VCSE organisations that serve our communities but don’t provide the kind of ‘key services’ needed during the pandemic are particularly at risk, and demand for their services continues to rise.

Voscur briefings on employment rights and furlough (to be published soon) may help your organisation decide how to proceed. Voscur will also provide support and training around business recovery, and continue to update the list of grants that may help sustain you during these difficult times.   

Jenny Wildblood, Development Officer and Funding Lead at Voscur, said:

“We’ll be updating our emergency grants digest page every morning on the Voscur website, so keep an eye on it for the latest funding sources. In the meantime, don’t forget to contact me to talk about your funding applications and funding needs.” 

You can get in touch with Jenny via:

Phone – 07904 099136
Email – jenny@voscur.org

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