Just £2m of the £200m assigned to the National Lottery Community Fund as emergency coronavirus funding for smaller charities has been handed out in the three months since the government announced the money, it has emerged.
A statement from the NLCF today said that about 500 organisations had been allocated £8.5m through the fund so far.
But Third Sector understands that just £2m of the funds has been actually distributed.
On 8 April, the Chancellor Rishi Sunak announced a support package of £750m for the voluntary sector, with £360m to be allocated by government departments to charities providing key services and £370m to be distributed to small charities by the NLCF and its equivalent bodies in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.
Of that £370m, £60m was allocated to the devolved nations and £110m has been held back by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport “to address emerging priorities”, leaving £200m for the NLCF.
It is not clear how much of the £200m has so far passed to the NLCF from the government.
In a statement, the NLCF said: “We have already committed just under £8.5m of emergency funding to almost 500 organisations supporting communities in crisis across the country, with much more to come as our funding teams work at pace to get the money out to where it is needed.”
A spokeswoman for the NLCF declined to comment on the delay in handing out funding.
In a statement, Baroness Barran, the Minister for Civil Society, said: "I am delighted that this funding from the government and the National Lottery is already having such an impact supporting vulnerable people and families across the country. We are working hard to get financial support to those who need it as quickly as possible."
The DCMS declined to comment when asked by Third Sector how much of the £200m had so far been made available to the NLCF to distribute.
Separately, the NLCF has distributed £200m of its own funding to charities since the beginning of lockdown.
Dawn Austwick, chief executive of the NLCF, said: “As we know, demand for funding remains high across the sector. We’re delighted to have already distributed £200m to communities across the UK since lockdown, including the first grants made from the CCSF in England.
“We’re proud of our team and of being able to support communities and the sector through these unprecedented times. We will continue to work hard to get this vital funding out to where it is needed most.”