Charities have been advised to act quickly if they want to apply for a share of hundreds of millions of pounds of emergency support that has been made available to help them through the coronavirus crisis.
The National Lottery Community Fund has today opened applications for the Coronavirus Community Support Fund, which will distribute an initial £200m of emergency government support for the sector in England.
It is part of £310m that will be distributed by the NLCF, with the remaining £110m expected to be made available once any lessons from early distribution of the £200m had been identified.
Guidance notes published by the NLCF say it expects the funding to be heavily oversubscribed and it will assess applications in the order in which they are received.
Organisations in England will be able to apply for funding of between £300 and £10,000 to cover six months’ expenditure.
A separate fund will also offer funding of between £10,000 and £100,000 for the same purpose.
The funder said it was focused on small and medium-sized charities – that is, those with annual incomes of between £10,000 and £1m – but organisations outside that bracket might also be able to receive funding.
It aims to fund activities supporting people and communities affected by the Covid-19 pandemic.
This will include organisations supporting people and communities that experience “disproportionate challenge and difficulty” as a result of the outbreak, those providing services for vulnerable people and are experiencing an increase in demand, and organisations that help communities to work together to respond to the pandemic.
“There will be high demand for this funding and we will have to make some tough choices,” an NLCF statement said.
“We expect the fund to be heavily oversubscribed and anticipate being able to support only a proportion of applications.
“So please only ask for what you need to support communities for up to six months and please bear with us as our funding teams respond to the demand.”
The funds will be distributed alongside existing NLCF programmes, so applicants do not have to specify which pot they want to apply for.
Debra Allcock Tyler, chief executive of the training and publishing charity the Directory of Social Change, said charities should “get a move on” if they wanted to apply.
“We understand the pressure to get money out quickly, but it puts pressure on applicants to apply as quickly as possible, rather than as well as possible," she said.
“It’s also another Friday announcement that is going to force already stretched charity staff and trustees to decide between applying quickly over the weekend or waiting until next week when there could already be thousands of applications in front of them.”
For more information and to apply click here.