Financial support for voluntary, community and social enterprise (VCSE) organisations to respond to coronavirus (COVID-19)

The government has pledged £750 million to ensure VCSE can continue their vital work supporting the country during the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak, including £200 million for the Coronavirus Community Support Fund, along with an additional £150 million from dormant bank and building society accounts.

The government pledged £750 million to ensure VCSE can continue their vital work supporting the country during the coronavirus outbreak, including £200 million for the Coronavirus Community Support Fund, along with an additional £150 million from dormant bank and building society accounts. The Office for Civil Society in DCMS is working with colleagues across government to direct funds to support the VCSE and the wide range of essential activities they undertake.

Funding announced

Funding was aimed at supporting those who need to continue providing their services as part of the national coronavirus response and has been allocated through the following ways:

  • A £7.5 million funding package to help tackle loneliness over the winter period.

  • £360 million allocated by central government departments to charities in England based on evidence of service need. Of this £200 million is directly supporting hospices

  • £310 million for smaller, local VCSEs in England. This includes the £200 million Coronavirus Community Support Fund distributed by the National Lottery Community Fund. Applications to this fund are now closed, but the National Lottery Community Fund is continuing to fund projects and organisations supporting communities through the COVID-19 pandemic. Find out more here.

  • £85 million will be invested in the new Community Match Challenge, matching pound-for-pound funds raised through selected coronavirus charity campaigns. A further £4.8 million will be distributed to the Voluntary and Community Sector Emergencies Partnership - a group that comes together to improve national and local coordination before, during and after emergencies - to help strengthen the voluntary sector’s response to coronavirus and future emergencies.

  • £60 million in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland to support thousands of charities on the frontline helping people affected by COVID-19

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

  • Match funding the generous public donations to the BBC Big Night In, with the first £20 million of funding going to the National Emergencies Trust and the rest split between Children In Need and Comic Relief. The latest fundraising total is over £35 million.

Where funding has been awarded or allocated

Award data for the following funds can be found in the spreadsheet below:

  • The Coronavirus Community Support Fund
  • Big Night In Fund
  • Community Match Challenge
  • Youth Covid-19 Support Fund
  • Funds distributed via government departments
  • Winter Loneliness Fund
  • Voluntary and Community Sector Emergencies Partnership

Funds distributed by central government departments

The £360 million package for central government departments to fund charities in England depending on service need has all been allocated, including the £200 million for hospices administered by the Department for Health and Social Care. The funding was allocated as follows;

Sector specific funds

Treasury financial support

Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme. If you cannot maintain your workforce because your operations have been affected by coronavirus (COVID-19), you can furlough employees and apply for a grant to cover a portion of their usual monthly wage costs where you record them as being on furlough.

Employers can bring furloughed employees back to work for any amount of time and any work pattern, while still being able to claim the grant for the hours not worked. Only employees that you have successfully claimed a previous grant for will be eligible for more grants under the scheme.

From 1 September, the government will pay 70% of wages up to a maximum cap of £2,187.50 for the hours the employee is on furlough. Employers will top up employees’ wages to ensure they receive 80% (up to £2,500). The caps are proportional to the hours not worked.

The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme has been extended until 30 April 2021. Claims for furlough days in December 2020 must be made by 14 January 2021. You can no longer submit claims for claim periods ending on or before 31 October 2020

You can claim a grant if you’re a self-employed individual or a member of a partnership and your business has been adversely affected due to coronavirus.

To make a claim for the third grant your business must have had a new or continuing impact from coronavirus between 1 November 2020 and 29 January 2021, which you reasonably believe will have a significant reduction in your profits.

The third taxable grant is worth 80% of your average monthly trading profits, paid out in a single instalment covering 3 months’ worth of profits, and capped at £7,500 in total.

The online service to claim the third grant is open. Make your claim from the date we give you either by email, letter or within the service. If you’re eligible, you must make your claim for the third grant on or before 29 January 2021.

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. The application deadline has been extended to 31 March 2021.

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 Funded Small and micro organisations, including charities, with fixed property costs that were not eligible for the Small Business Grant Fund or the Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Grant Fund. Organisations based in England with fewer than 50 employees that had fixed building costs (e,g. rent) and had been impacted by coronavirus could apply for grants of £25,000, £10,000 or any amount under £10,000. The Local Authority Discretionary Grants Fund is now closed. You should have received your grant by 30 September 2020. Contact your local council if you have not yet received it.

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. The application deadline has been extended to January 31 2021.

Further financial support

£150 million from dormant bank and building society accounts has been unlocked to help charities, social enterprises and individuals in vulnerable financial circumstances during the coronavirus outbreak. Of the £150 million:

Over £425 million has been used to establish Big Society Capital, an independent financial institution, launched in 2012, with the aim of growing the social investment market in the UK. To date, over 1,200 social enterprises and charities have received investment from Big Society Capital and the social impact investment market has grown from £830 million in 2011 to £5.1 billion.

£96 million has been provided to Fair4All Finance to increase the financial resilience and wellbeing of people in vulnerable circumstances through improving availability of fair and accessible financial products and services. Fair4All Finance has provided over £15 million in financial support to the community finance sector so far, including £12 million of equity investments in community finance providers and £3.6 million in Covid-19 grants.

£90 million has been provided to Youth Futures Foundation to break down the barriers to work for young people across England, with a focus on responding to the findings of the Racial Disparity Audit. It includes investing £6 million into targeted support for young people who are not in education, employment or training, and deploying £8.7 million in coronavirus grants to frontline charities, social enterprises and infrastructure bodies tackling youth unemployment.

£40 million has been provided to Access – The Foundation for Social Investment. In response to Covid-19 Access has made up to £10 million available for emergency support through social lenders, while also developing a wider £18 million programme of flexible long-term recovery finance for the social sector.

£10.4 million of funding has been provided to the ‘Engage to Change’ project in Wales since 2016, to break down barriers and stigma around disability by supporting 16-25 year olds with learning difficulties and/or autism into employment. Working with over 800 employers in Wales, in the past five years the project has enabled 959 young people to develop new skills, 381 young people to secure a paid work placement, and 272 young people to move into secure employment after their work placement.

Stay in touch and find out about any updates or new funds

Please regularly check the page as it will be updated and includes links to the individual funds, further information and contacts.

Please also subscribe to the Civil Society and Youth Newsletter if you would like to receive regular updates on funding and other issues from the department.

Published 20 May 2020
Last updated 10 March 2022 + show all updates
  1. Removal of VCSE funding package dataset. This will be replaced with an updated version shortly

  2. Added 360 Giving data spreadsheet.

  3. Updates to funding deadlines - Meals for Those in Need fund closed; Zoos support fund deadline extended; HMT Future fund extended Information on Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme and Self Employed Income Support Scheme updated

  4. **Summary**: Updated all sections to reflect: passed application deadlines; details of grants awarded; changes to HM Treasury financial support. Change to 'Funding Announced' - £310 million Coronavirus Community Support Fund has closed. Change to 'Funding Announced' - £85 million invested in the Community Match Challenge, £4.8 million distrubuted to the Voluntary and Community Sector Engagement Partnership 'Distrubution of public funds' section deleted 'Available funds and how to apply for them' section deleted - because applications are now closed 'Other sources of funding for VCSEs' section deleted - because applications are now closed 'Funds distributed by central government departments' added to provide updates on the £360 million funding package allocations 'Sector specific funds' section updated to reflect the closure of the: Historic England Emergency Relief Fund, National Lottery Heritage Fund Emergency Fund, and Sport England Community Emergency Fund. 'Treasury financial support' section updated to reflect changes to the furlough scheme from 1st September. 'Treasury financial support' section updated to reflect changes to the self employment income support scheme - applications for the final grant are now open. 'Treasury financial support' section updated - HMT Future Fund is open until the end of September 'Further financial support' section updated - removal of the 'BBC Children in Need Covid-19 2020 Booster' and the 'BBC Children in Need Larger Grants programme', because both funds are now closed

  5. Edited- 'Other Source of funding' - Voluntary and Communities Sector Emergencies Partnership - £4.8 million added 'Other Source of funding' - Community Match Challenge - £85 million added

  6. Edited current funding opportunities - Covid 19 Food Charity Grant Scheme is now closed. It has now been moved to 'Other sources of funding for VCSEs' New funding source added to 'Other sources of funding for VCSEs' - Vulnerable Children National Charities Strategic Relief Fund - £7.6million.

  7. updated to reflect passed application deadlines

  8. added funding for modern slavery charities

  9. funding updates

  10. updates to available funding

  11. updated sources of funding 22/05/2020

  12. First published.