Applications for shares of £200m emergency support start on Friday, says NLCF

The DCMS says the National Lottery Community Fund will start accepting applications at 10am on 22 May

The National Lottery Community Fund will begin accepting applications on Friday for £200m of emergency government support to help charities through the coronavirus pandemic. 

The government first announced a £750m emergency funding package for the voluntary sector on 8 April, but charities have been critical of the length of time it has taken for funds to be made available. 

A statement from the Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport today said applications would open at 10am on Friday morning for £200m of funds for small and medium-sized charities in England through the Coronavirus Community Support Fund. 

It is part of £310m that will be distributed by the NLCF. The DCMS said the remaining £110m would be made available once it had the chance to review lessons learned from the early distribution of the initial £200m so it could be best used to address emerging priorities. 

Funds are expected to be available for predominantly small and medium-sized charities, that is those with incomes of between £10,000 and £1m a year, but larger organisations will also be considered.

The maximum amount of funding that organisations can apply for has not been specified. 

A statement from the NLCF said the fund had two main objectives: to increase community support to vulnerable people affected by the Covid-19 crisis through the work of civil society organisations; and to reduce temporary closures of essential charities and social enterprises, ensuring services for vulnerable people affected by Covid-19 have the financial resources to operate, and so reduce the burden on public services.

It said grants would allow organisations to meet service costs where they are experiencing increased demand and/or short-term income disruption. 

They would also allow organisations to refocus services to address more immediate beneficiary needs in light of Covid-19, the NLCF statement said. 

The DCMS said money from the fund would begin to reach front-line organisations “within a few weeks”. 

A joint panel set up by the DCMS and the NLCF will advise on distribution of funding.

Dawn Austwick, chief executive of the NLCF, said: “Charities are playing a vital role in channelling the right resources, to the right place, at the right time. 

“This government funding will fuel that vital work and give those charities greater certainty at this critical time for the country, and we look forward to getting it to where it can make the most difference.

“In putting the programme together, we have been helped by insight and advice from across civil society. We will keep that conversation going to guide how we support charities and community organisations as they rebuild in the future.”

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