Coronavirus: National Lottery Community Fund promises to be flexible during outbreak

The National Lottery Community Fund has pledged to be flexible with grant recipients if they are adversely affected by the coronavirus pandemic. 

A statement from Dawn Austwick, chief executive of the grant-maker, said the fund wanted to support charities and community organisations as much as possible at a difficult time. 

She said the NLCF would look to accommodate changes to activities and timelines because of the outbreak and consider any requests for support if organisations experienced financial pressures as a result of the situation. 

The funder did not want grantees to have to worry about deadlines, said Austwick, and it would be flexible around reporting. 

It would also seek to honour grant commitments concerning the payment of staff salaries even if they have had to take time off because of sickness or caring responsibilities caused by the virus, she said. 

The NLCF had started pushing back grant application deadlines for some programmes that were due to close soon, Austwick added. 

“We know that many charities and community organisations across the UK are facing increasing challenges as a result of Covid-19 and we want to support those we fund as far as is possible at this difficult time,” she said. 

“We have already started to shift application deadlines for some of our funds that were due to close soon. We also want to be flexible where grant-holders get into difficulty or see problems on the way.

“We are, however, in uncharted territory. Things will occur that we hadn’t expected and we will get things wrong. Please bear with us if we do, let us know, and we will be as helpful as possible as the situation unfolds.”

The NLCF was also considering what else it could do to support people and communities affected by the outbreak, Austwick said. 

The pledge comes as the number of funders that have signed a pledge promising to be flexible towards civil society organisations has passed 150. 

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