Coronavirus updates: Third Sector live blog

Keep up to date with all the latest coronavirus-related news affecting the charity sector. Please refresh for the latest updates

Covid-19 notices in charity shop window in Muswell Hill, London (Photograph: Mike Goldwater/Alamy)
Covid-19 notices in charity shop window in Muswell Hill, London (Photograph: Mike Goldwater/Alamy)

9 April

17:45 – We are clocking off for the evening; reports will resume next Tuesday

17:30: New funding to help community organisations at risk of closure

The digital and social inclusion charity the Good Things Foundation has launched a Response and Resilience Fund to support its network of community centres, many of which are at risk of closure because of the funding issues caused by the coronavirus crisis.

The £300,000 fund will offer £3,000 per community partner in the form of one-off grants to be used for any purpose that ensures organisations can continue supporting their communities to engage with digital. The unrestricted funding, the first of its kind from the foundation, will provide a cash injection to the centres that need it the most.

For more information, click here.

17:20: Mates in Mind launches Covid-19 appeal

The charity says workplace mental health issues are likely to be heavily affected by the coronavirus crisis. It says this is particularly critical for the construction industury, which already has a suicide rate among workers that is three times the national average.

Steve Hails, chair of the board of trustees, said: “We are now reaching out to supporters and across the industry to build up a reserve so we can do our part to mitigate the human cost of Covid-19 and its aftermath.

"This will allow us to continue to support the wider industry – construction, tradespeople, project management, and others, across all sizes of business, but particularly those that are smaller and self-employed – to get through this period and into the ‘new normal’ by enhancing our ability to continue to respond flexibly and creatively in the short-term to arising issues."

To donate, click here.

17:00: Rare disease charities write to Chancellor asking for access to emergency funding

The letter from the Specialised Healthcare Alliance, which represents more than 100 charities that represent people with rare and complex health conditions, says it fears many of them could miss out on access to parts of the £750m of funding announced by Rishi Sunak yesterday.

In their letter, alliance chair Lord Sharkey and the vice chairs, Baroness Wheeler and Baroness Chisholm, ask Sunak to confirm that rare disease charities will be able to gain access to the funding.

he charities involved include Kidney Care UK, the MS Society, the Tuberous Sclerosis Association, Genetics Disorders UK, the Batten Disease Family Association, the Aplastic Anaemia Trust and the Brittle Bone Society.

16:50: Neighbourly and its retail partners leverage networks to get food to people

The platform for businesses to help local communities says local charities and groups that are already part of the fabric of communities are best placed to use their local knowledge to react and respond quickly to what’s needed, and maintain a service in the future.

It says it is encouraging other community organisations to join the programme to access items for redistribution in their areas. Its existing charity partners also have access to funds via the Neighbourly Community Fund, which has been successfully disbursing micro-grants to support them.

Neighbourly's retail partners include Marks & Spencer, Lidl and Aldi. To sign up to receive food surplus, charities and not-for-profits need to register with Neighbourly at or email Groups must have food hygiene certificates in order to collect the surplus.

16:45: New funding available for affordable credit providers

Fair4All Finance says it has today launched two funding programmes to help affordable credit providers make it through the health crisis.

The are a new Covid-19 Resilience Fund, which will provide up to £5m in grant funding to community development finance institutions and credit unions in England in April; and an expanded Affordable Credit Scale-up Programme.

To find out more, click here. ? 

16:30: Relief packages must be ring-fenced for BAME VCS groups, says campaign group

A fifth of charity relief packages must be ring-fenced for black and minority ethnic voluntary and community sector groups, the #CharitySoWhite campaign group has said in an open letter published today.

Read the full story here

16:15: Alzheimer's Society announces four new ambassadors to back emergency appeal

The new ambassadors are: Roland Rudd, chair of the global strategic communications agency Finsbury; the newscaster John Suchet and his wife, the author Nula Suchet; Richard Thompson, chair of the creative talent management agency M&C Saatchi Merlin; and Avnish and Anita Goyal, founder and chair of Hallmark Care Homes.

You can donate to the charity's emergency appeal here.

15:45: Charities urge supermarkets to show their commitment to the most vulnerable

A group of six charities has written to the UK's supermarkets, asking them to commit to six points they say would better help the 1.5 million people identified as most vulnerable during the health crisis.

The group is asking them to help by:

  1. Giving people who are shielding and therefore in the “extremely vulnerable” category the single highest priority, even if they’re not an existing customer.
  2. Ensuring that people who meet the criteria for the “extremely vulnerable” category but have not yet received a letter are able to access priority slots.
  3. Making enough priority slots available to make sure everyone in the “extremely vulnerable” category can get a weekly delivery.
  4. Prominently displaying a button on their website for “extremely vulnerable” people and their families to easily find out how to get slots.
  5. Having a phone line for people in the “extremely vulnerable” category to sort out issues with enough staff to enable people to get through within 20 minutes, and giving access to those answering phones to people who can make decisions about who is eligible.
  6. Ensuring that all the above applies to those living with someone shielding as well as the person themselves.

15:15: Design consultancy offers free service during pandemic

RightMarket's Artworking service helps organisations to produce new artwork, working with their existing visual identities to create templates that suit their requirements.

RightMarket says it already works with a number of charities and is offering to create free artwork to create templates that can be used by any member of staff. It says materials that have been requested so far in this service have included social media posts, recruitment material, intranet banners and informational posters.

To find out more, click here.

15:05: TSB pledges £250,000 to support the work of Citizens Advice

The bank is giving the money to the charity in England, Wales and Scotland to help it deal with rising demand caused by the coronavirus crisis.

This donation will help them to boost their online and telephone advice services while face-to-face sessions are discontinued. TSB says it is also working with Citizens Advice England and Wales to develop a long-term partnership as part of its corporate strategy

Dame Gillian Guy, chief executive of Citizens Advice, said: “Demand for our services is at record levels. We know people are worried about how to pay their bills, their employment rights, getting access to benefits and many other issues. This donation will help us provide vital support to people who are already struggling and to those who will inevitably need our help in the coming weeks and months."

13:20: A good start, but more is needed: sector reacts to the £750m support package

Responding to Chancellor Rishi Sunak’s announcement last night pledging £750m for charities across the UK and at least £20m for the National Emergencies Trust appeal, leaders from across the sector said much more needed to be done for charities to continue to provide vital services amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Read the full story here

12:20: Breast Cancer Now to furlough 70 per cent of its staff

The charity, which expects its fundraised income to fall by 25 per cent, will run on a skeleton staff of just 90 employees, working remotely, while other staff members will be furloughed as part of the government’s job-retention scheme. The arrangement will be reviewed in three weeks’ time, the charity said.

Read the full story here

12:15: Virus could cost international development charities almost £1.3bn, says Bond

The representative body says that donors must show flexibility so charities can tackle the pandemic worldwide and avoid cuts to staff and programmes.

In a survey of 93 international development charities, Bond found that 41 per cent – £1.28bn – of the UK development sector’s funding was now at risk because of cancellations of fundraising events and a fall in individual giving.

Read the full story here

12:10: There's good and bad in the Chancellor's emergency funding package, says CFG chief

In a wide-ranging response to Rishi Sunak's announcement of £750m for the sector, Charity Finance Group chief executive Caron Bradshaw (left) says she is delighted with what has been given and disappointed with what has not.

She writes: "Undoubtedly for those who will benefit from the funds announced yesterday this money is most welcome. For the hospice movement that secured £200m support over the 12 weeks, I am delighted. For the small charities who can access the grants, whether through their local authority, community foundation or the National Lottery Community Fund, I sigh in relief that they will be in a better place than before. All of that makes me glad and extremely grateful."

But she adds that the sector cannot be treated as homogeneous: "Charity encompasses the tiny and entirely voluntary to the largest and most business-like of operations, and everything in between. There is no single business model. There is no single product or service."

Bradshaw says: "This injection of cash understandably will have a disproportionate impact on the smaller charities than it will for the giants. If it were about saving ‘the sector’ this was a brilliant move. But it’s not – it’s about saving lives. In the context of the biggest players, the Alzheimer’s, the Scouts and the NSPCCs of the world, these measures don’t touch the sides."

She also writes that Sunak displayed a fundamental misconception when he talked of "gentleness". "Charity isn’t gentle," she says. "It’s messy and hard and difficult and painful. He also said that he couldn’t guarantee he could save every job. I agree. But that isn’t the point – it never has been. It’s not about charity jobs. It’s about the people we serve."

Read Caron Bradshaw's blog here.

11:55: Campaigners and charities urge cancellation of third world debt payments

According to Reuters, nearly 140 organisations have told the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank, G20 governments and private creditors that the world's poorest countries could be helped through the health crisis by this means.

The call has been led, says Reuters, by the UK's Jubilee Debt Campaign, with a G20 working group due to meet tomorrow to discuss coronavirus and developing countries.

According to Reuters, the JDC urges the immediate cancellation of 69 poor countries’ debt payments for the rest of the year, estimating that it would free more than $25bn for the countries, or $50bn if extended through 2021.

It also called for debt cancellations or additional finance to be free of conditions on economic policy such as austerity, and for the G20 to back emergency rules that would prevent poorer countries from being sued by private creditors.

The JDC says: "While millions are facing health and other impacts around the world, the economic impacts could spell disaster for countries in the global south. The cost of borrowing has gone up dramatically, and they are getting less money for products like copper and coffee, on which their economies depend."

11:40: ActionAid appeals for funds as it warns of virus spreading to poorest parts of world

The aid charity says that coronavirus is spreading to Africa south-east Asia and Latin America and will thus have an impact on some of the poorest and most vulnerable people on the planet.

It says: "Amid existing poverty and global inequality, people in the world’s poorest countries are already struggling with the consequences of several humanitarian emergencies, including refugee crises, climate change and conflict.

"Now they face an unprecedented global emergency. We urgently need your help to support the most vulnerable."

ActionAid says local women’s groups are distributing life-saving advice, health information and hygiene kits to vulnerable communities, and it is distributing food packages and essential supplies in countries where millions of vulnerable families have no way of earning a living during the lockdown.

To make a donation, click here.

11:35: Dementia UK gives advice on keeping in touch with relatives or friends in care

In concert with the Relatives & Residents Association, the charity has put together a web page to help those whose relatives and friends are inaccessible because of the coronavirus lockdown.

From advising the use of technology to keep in touch and creating life-story books, to sending parcels and flowers, the charity says there is no need to lose contact. It also gives tips to care home staff.

To read the advice, click here.

11:30: East London borough's community support helpline goes live

Chat Newham has been established to help anyone who is worried and unable to leave their home because of the pandemic, or needs help finding resources or even just needs to talk.

The helpline is free and can be reached at 08081963510. It is supported by a number or organisations, including the Magpie Project, Community Links, Newham Council and the West Silvertown Foundation.

11:15: Reallocate supermarket bailout to charities, says Women's Organisation chief

Maggie O'Carroll, chief executive of the charity that works to empower women, has tweeted that large corporate organisations don't need the kind of help they're getting when they're still bringing in money.

She says: "Tesco gets effectively a £585m grant from government through the business rates relief support package, and their shareholders are cashing in on the current crisis with a huge dividend payout.

"Meanshile, over 170,000 charities get to share £750m. That equates to a little over £4,400 per charity.

"It begs the question why on earth did the Chancellor include supermarkets, whose stores remain open and popular, in his business rates holiday? There was no need to do so. That decision needs to be urgently reviewed and those resources reallocated to the charitable sector."

11:00: Chancellor's package is 'a drop in the ocean', says Alzheimer's Society chief executive

Writing in Politics Home, Kate Lee says she welcomes the acknowledgement by Rishi Sunak of the critical role that charities play in providing essential services and supporting vulnerable people.

But she adds: "However, this £750m package is a drop in the ocean. In reality it will provide some relief, to some charities, while the sector stands to lose £4bn of funding for their vital services in the next 12 weeks.

"Charities like the Alzheimer's Society are needing to deliver more for people in crisis than ever before at a time when our funding is so hard hit. Every penny we receive, whether from the government or from the public, is crucial to ensure people living with dementia, and those that care for them, are properly supported to get through this challenging and frightening time.”

The charity is running an emergency appeal for funds. To donate, click here.

10:45: UK Youth report covers impact of Covid-19 on young people

The Impact of Covid-19 on Young People & the Youth Sector outlines the results of a survey carried out between 20 and 27 March by the charity, garnering 252 responses from people representing 235 organisations.

It has ranked the main concerns the survey uncovered by order of importance:

  1. Increased mental health or wellbeing concerns
  2. Increased loneliness and isolation
  3. Lack of safe space, including not being able to access their youth club or service and lack of safe spaces at home
  4. Challenging family relationships
  5. Lack of trusted relationships or someone to turn to
  6. Increased social media or online pressure
  7. Higher risk for engaging in gangs, substance misuse, carrying weapons or other harmful practices
  8. Higher risk of sexual exploitation or grooming.

10:30: Leeds urban farm begins crowdfunding campaign to ward off closure

Meanwood Valley Urban Farm has been in operation for 40 years and is visited every week by hundreds of people, but is losing income because of the Covid-19 crisis.

The campaign has raised more than £8,000 so far. To donate, click here.

10:20: Emergency package is 'a significant first step', says Cancer Research UK chief

Michelle Mitchell says the charity welcomes the Chancellor's announcement, but urges Rishi Sunak to review the level of support as the crisis continues.

CRUK has already said it faces a fall of 25 per cent in its income this year and has cut the amount it spends on research by 44 per cent as well as putting 40 per cent of its staff on furlough.

Mitchell said: "Despite these significant challenges, charities of all sizes have leapt to support the country during the Covid-19 pandemic, helping health services across the UK as well as people suffering from the economic and social impact of coronavirus.

"CRUK laboratories across the country are offering essential equipment and expertise to help with testing, and many of our clinical experts have returned to the NHS front line. We're also working closely with health systems and other cancer charities to provide the best support and advice to cancer patients.

“We are still committed to saving lives from cancer. But now more than ever we need sufficient support from government.”

10:15: Co-op launches multimillion-pound scheme to support FareShare

The retailer has shelved its Easter TV advertising campaign, which was originally promoting its chocolate eggs, and donated the airtime – worth £2.5m – to promote the work of the food-redistribution charity.

Co-op has created a new charity advert to promote the scheme, which helps and encourages customers to support food banks by donating in-store or by text to a dedicated number, both of which will boost the £1.5m of food Co-op has already pledged to FareShare

Donations can be made in two ways: Co-op customers will be offered the option of donating to FareShare at the till point in amounts of 50p, £1, £2 or £5; or by texting MEALS to 70490, which will automatically donate £10.

10:05: Scottish government pledges £750,000 to support charities for veterans

The Unforgotten Forces consortium, which is made up of 16 separate charities and is led by Poppyscotland, will receive £250,000 a year for the next three years to help with its work.

The consortium focuses on improving the health, wellbeing and quality of life for veterans aged 65 and older. It was previously supported by the UK government but that arrangement is due to finish at the end of June.

Graeme Dey, the Minister for Parliamentary Business and Veterans in the Scottish government has agreed to provide the three-year funding package and is writing to the Treasury to ask the UK government to make a substantial contribution to the consortium.

The consortium provides services such as free taxi journeys for older veterans for essential travel, financial support for basic household goods and mobility equipment, a confidential advice line and help for those suffering from social isolation.

09:35: Captains of Premier League football clubs launch NHS charitable fund

#PlayersTogether has been established, in partnership with NHS Charities Together, to raise more than £4m to support the NHS during the coronavirus crisis.

The Guardian reports that the fund will be administered by Liverpool’s Jordan Henderson, Manchester United’s Harry Maguire, Watford’s Troy Deeney and West Ham’s Mark Noble.

09:30: Manic Street Preachers arrange concerts to raise money for NHS workers

According to The Guardian, the Welsh rock band has announced two shows in December at the Motorpoint Arena in Cardiff. The first show, on 4 December, will be free for all NHS workers. Tickets are limited to two per person, with NHS workers free to bring one non-NHS guest. Tickets can be applied for from Friday at 7pm.

The 5 December gig will be available to anyone, with proceeds going to NHS Wales, says The Guardian. There is a limit of four tickets per person and they will also be available on Friday, through Ticketmaster.

09:10: Chancellor's funding package will mean closure of charities, says Directory of Social Change

A blog on the organisation's website says Rishi Sunak's emergency package of £750m for the voluntary sector "won’t be enough to prevent thousands of vital services across the country from closing down at short notice, leaving people in desperate need."

The DSC says the package amounts to less than 1 per cent of the £330bn of financial support given to business and, "worse, it’s not even clear the extent to which this funding has been cannibalised from existing central government budgets that might already be funding critically important services".

It points out that the National Council for Voluntary Organisations believes the sector is facing a funding black hole of at least £4bn over the next three months because fundraising and trading revenues have dried up almost overnight.

Debra Allcock Tyler, chief executive of the DSC, said: "It’s nowhere near enough. Not even close. In fact it’s a whopping £3.5bn short. This isn’t about charities surviving and it isn’t just about the coronavirus emergency either. It’s about saving people’s lives.

"Women are dying right now because they are cooped up in lockdown with abusive partners. Older people are at risk of starving to death because they can’t get enough food, or of dying alone because their social support has disappeared. Children and young people are at risk of taking their own lives because of anxiety about what’s happening in society.

"This offer tells us that business matters more than vulnerable citizens. Charities save lives, preserve lives, protect lives, enhance lives. So it’s not even good economics. When there are not enough charities to support people the state will have to pick up the bill anyway."

Read the blog here.

8 April

17:55 – We are clocking off for the evening; reports will resume tomorrow

17:20: Chancellor announces £750m of emergency funding for the charity sector

In the daily coronavirus briefing, Rishi Sunak said £370m of this will support small, local charities working with vulnerable people and up to £200m in grants will support hospices.

The government, he said, would also match fund the money raised by the BBC's Big Night In on 23 April. The National Council for Voluntary Organisations has warned that the sector will lose a minimum of £4.3bn in lost fundraising and other income because of Covid-19.

Read the full story here

16:50: Stay at home over the Easter weekend, says National Trust

According to The Guardian, the charity, which has closed all its properties, gardens and car parks during the lockdown, has urged people not to flock to outdoor areas over the long Easter weekend.

National Trust director general Hilary McGrady told the newspaper: "We know how sad our members and visitors are that they can’t travel to their favourite places to mark Easter and celebrate the arrival of spring this year, but our biggest priority has to be staying at home to help our NHS and keep ourselves and one another safe.

"During the closure we are still looking after the places people love, and we’re really looking forward to welcoming them back when it’s time."

16:40: Stand Up to Cancer postponed

Cancer Research UK says its biennial live television show on Channel 4 will not go ahead this autumn, with no date yet decided for when a rescheduled show will take place.

Stand Up To Cancer, which was launched in 2012 and runs every two years, has raised a total of £62m since then for the charity. CRUK’s 2018/19 accounts – the most recent available – show that the 2018 live show raised £24m for the charity.

Read the full story here

16:35: Eve Appeal hosts coronavirus and cancer information hub

The charity that funds research for and raises awareness of the five gynaecological cancers has have pulled together some information, which it will continually review and update, to help answer people's questions.

It says its free confidential advice service, Ask Eve, is still available for those with concerns. You can contact its nurse-led information service by emailing or calling 0808 802 0019.

To access the information hub, click here.

16:00: Charity says abuse victims in Northern Ireland will not be abandoned

According to the Belfast Telegraph, the Women's Federation Aid NI has told victims that its services are still available and has issued guidance on how to get help safely during the lockdown.

The news, says the paper, comes after a 26-year-old woman was stabbed in the back at a house in Limavady at about midnight on Saturday. The woman is in a stable condition and a 25-year-old man has been arrested.

The Belfast Telegraph reports that the charity has published a self-isolation safety plan, which encourages measures like texting and using code words when it is not safe to make a call. It says Women's Aid refuges remain open, but because of self-isolating restrictions work is progressing to open self-contained units in the Foyle area, Ballymena and Belfast.

15:50: Institute of Fundraising weekly news round-up is out

Described as "NOT an official paper of the Institute of Fundraising", the web page is a round-up of interesting fundraising-related writing and news from inside the institute and outside.

Currently being featured, among other elements, are "5 tips for writing an appeal during a global crisis", "Fundraising mustn't fade away in the face of Covid-19" and "5 ways to protect your fundraising during the coronavirus pandemic". To access the round-up, click here.

15:40: Charities Aid Foundation releases briefing on giving and coronavirus

The paper, called CAF UK Giving Coronavirus Briefing: how donors and charities are reacting to Covid-19, examines the impact so far on charities, fundraising and donors.

Since 17 March, CAF has conducted a number of one-question surveys with charities to measure the mood, sent out to its charity clients. And, as part of CAF’s ongoing polling work with YouGov, it used its late March survey to ask the general public questions about charitable giving and Covid-19. It also conducted an overnight poll on 17 and 18 March to ask some benchmark questions.

To download the paper, click here.

15:25: Emergency relief fund supported by British Film Institute

The Film and TV Charity has launched its Covid-19 Emergency Relief Fund to offer grants to people working behind the scenes in film, TV and cinema. It can provide one-off grants of between £500 and £2,500 to active workers who are facing significant financial hardship as a result of the Covid-19 crisis.

Applications will close at 6pm Wednesday 22 April. The charity says it doesn’t matter when you apply in the two-week period because it’s not on a first-come, first-served basis. Applications will be assessed based on need, not when they are received.

The charity has had donations from Netflix and the BFI, with funds from the National Lottery, BBC Content, BBC Studios, WarnerMedia and several individuals.

To read the guidance on the fund and make an application, click here.

15:20: Lewisham Citizens raising funds to help the vulnerable during the lockdown

The alliance of faith, education, charity and community organisations working for justice in the borough as part of Citizens UK says the Reverend Edd Stock of the Holy Trinity Church Sydenham and Forest Hill is leading the way by running the London Marathon on a treadmill.

He says: "On Sunday 26 April at 10am, the day the London Marathon would have taken place, I will attempt to run the full marathon on a treadmill in my vicarage, at the same time as leading our livestreamed Sunday morning church service. This is to raise urgent funds for us as part of Lewisham Citizens to support our neighbours who are struggling through this crisis.

"We have started by creating food parcels for local families we know are in need, but there is so much more we can be doing and it is only possible when we work together. Please donate generously."

Money raised will be used primarily for emergency food parcels, internet and IT equipment and hardship funds for where emergencies arise. To donate, click here.

15:05: Grow your hair long during the lockdown to raise money

#WorldGrowsWild, a not-for-profit campaign run by a network of creative volunteers including TV producers, graphic designers, editors, web developers, and marketing and communications experts, is urging people to grow their hair long to raise money for the National Emergencies Trust's coronavirus appeal.

To find out more, click here, and watch the video here.

14:35: Webinar for chairs this afternoon at 3.30pm

In association with the law firm Bates Wells, the Association of Chairs is running a webinar this afternoon called "Coronavirus and Your Charity: What Chairs Need to Know".

The headline topics include: governance in the new normal – online meetings, trustee decision making and AGMs; HR issues – what chairs need to know about the job-retention scheme; and finance and solvency. There will also be a Q&A session and the whole thing is expected to last until 5pm.

The event is open to all chairs and vice chairs of charities, whether Association of Chairs members or not. To find out more and to register, click here.

14:30: Former Cabinet ministers join calls for emergency financial package for sector

According to The Guardian, Iain Duncan Smith, former leader of the Conservative Party, and some ex-Cabinet have joined the many pleas for a large rescue package for charities, as hopes rise that this will be announced later today.

A letter put together by the Labour MP Stephen Doughty, calling for immediate financial help, has now been signed by such Conservative figures as Liam Fox, Esther McVey, Owen Paterson and Damian Green, The Guardian reports.

There have been reports that a package of £100m would be offered, but figures from the sector have dismissed this as inadequate. The National Council for Voluntary Organisations has estimated that the funding shortfall suffered by charities will be a minimum of £4.3bn.

12:55: England cricketer raises £65,100 for hospital charity in World Cup final shirt auction

Jos Buttler, batsman and wicketkeeper for the national team, donated the shirt for auction on ebay for Charity to raise money for the Royal Brompton & Harefield Hospitals Charity.

The charity says that its clinical teams are working longer hours, with some not even going home between shifts and some retraining in order to help with extra patients. It has pledged to provide an additional £100,000 of funding to immediately help save lives and give patients the best chance of recovery.

To donate, click here.

12:45: Frontline Network sets up emergency fund

The charity that supports workers from the public, statutory and voluntary sectors who work on the front line with those experiencing homelessness has established the VRF Emergency Fund. It says the fund offers support to people experiencing homelessness in the form of basic essentials, overcoming barriers to support and securing accommodation.

It accepts applications only from paid front-line workers who provide support to people experiencing homelessness. These include staff working in the voluntary, statutory and public sectors, such as resettlement or outreach workers, CAB advisers, supported housing officers, mental health workers, drug and alcohol support staff, GPs, probation officers, social workers, prison in-reach workers, police officers and health professionals.

For more information, click here.

12:35: Seafarers UK appeals for donations

The maritime community charity, whose members work on the front line of the UK's supply chain needs funds to continue its work supporting seafarers and their families.

It says: "There is an increasing number of reports of crews being abandoned in foreign ports, without money or food, and unable to fly home. Restrictions on crew changes and quarantine periods are separating many seafarers from their families for even longer, at what is already a distressing and unsettling time.

"Many ports on maritime trade routes now also prevent shore leave, thus denying access to shore-based facilities, including welfare services, with crews being left unassisted on board and having to rely on charitable support or even local pity."

To donate, click here.

12:30: Lloyds Bank Foundation temporarily not accepting new applications

The funder says it is doing so until it can design a new approach during the coronavirus pandemic.

It says: "To minimise the disruption caused by Covid-19 and help charities quickly, we will provide immediate short-term funding to some charities that have already spent a significant amount of time on their applications or those that were expecting to receive new funding, prioritising those that have adapted their services to support their service users or where our funding will have the greatest impact in supporting charities to survive this period.

"For these charities, we will be releasing a one-year grant as quickly as possible with a lighter-touch assessment. These grants will continue to be flexible on reporting requirements so charities can focus on their services. This is to make sure vital charities can continue running their services while we put together the right funding programme for this situation."

For more information, click here.

12:25: Clic Sargent appeals for donations because of 60 per cent fall in income

The cancer charity says: "Every day we spend in isolation, parents are still being told the shattering news that their child has cancer. Children are still going through brutal treatment and families are still facing the devastating costs cancer brings.

"Now these families also face fear of infection, frantic worry about delays to treatment and further separation due to isolation rules. Without support during this pandemic, the strain of a child’s cancer diagnosis will push families to breaking point."

To donate, click here.

12:00: Sight for Surrey to run LockdownLive concert on Friday

It says the concert will run from 4pm to 4.30pm on 10 April on Facebook, and will feature Jack, a teacher at Hook Lane Primary School, playing three songs to raise money for people who are blind, partially sighted, deaf, deafblind and hard of hearing.

The charity, which has had to close its face-to-face services, says followers can donate to its Coronavirus Crisis Fund here.

11:45: Rethink Mental Illness asks for donations of £10 a time to help it through the crisis

The charity says: "For people who are already living with mental health problems the distress can be overwhelming. In recent days people have been calling our helpline and many more are  accessing information through our website and online chat. We are working flat out to give people the support they need.

"A donation today helps us support people who live with severe mental illness during the corona virus outbreak. Just £10 could help us to keep our advice and information up to date for people who desperately need it."

To donate, click here.

11:35: Pilgrims Hospices in plea for personal protective equipment

The Canterbury-based charity says it takes its responsibility to its staff and service users very seriously, and therefore asks "if anyone has a supply of surgical masks, waterproof disposal aprons, disposable gloves, eye protection or scrubs, please contact us: we can arrange collection". If you can help, please email

The charity says it has put in place risk assessments and contingency planning and is guided by the public health information it is receiving.

11:25: Warehouse developer offers rent-free space to food redistribution charities

Segro is providing the space to City Harvest, the Felix Project and FareShare so they can expand their capacity to help the most vulnerable in Greater London.

The company says the extra space will provide the charities with valuable additional storage to accept more food donations, help warehouse volunteers sort and deliver food to local groups and provide food and other essential items to those in need.

City Harvest collects surplus food and provides an average of 80,000 meals a week for London's most vulnerable people. The Felix Project is a free door-to-door service with 1,500 volunteers, who collect surplus food from suppliers and deliver it to charities across the capital. FareShare is the UK’s longest-running food redistribution charity and last year helped almost 11,000 community groups and redistributed enough food for 46.5 million meals.

11:00: Times running coronavirus appeal for two charities

The newspaper has set up The Times Coronavirus Charity Appeal to raise money for the Big Issue Foundation, which supports homeless people, and Family Action, which works on behalf of disadvantaged families.

It says donors can give to one of the two, or split their donations between both of them. Big Issue vendors cannot work during the coronavirus crisis, and disadvantaged families are likely to suffer its effects disproportionately.

To donate, click here.

10:55: Labour urges emergency funding for domestic abuse services

The Guardian reports that Labour's new shadow Home Secretary, Nick Thomas-Symonds, has written to Priti Patel, his Conservative counterpart, to request funds for organisations that run front-line domestic abuse services, and to turn underused hotel chains and university halls into emergency accommodation.

The newspaper says that charities dealing with the issue have reported increased demand for helplines and online advice as the coronavirus lockdown creates a pressure-cooker effect in abusive households.

10:40: Two financial support funds launched by Isle of Wight Council reports that the local authority for the island has set up the Third Sector Lifeline and the Community Essential Shopping and Delivery funds to provide loans and grants to charities and voluntary organisations providing essential services.

It says the TSL fund offers loans of up to £30,000 to help not-for-profit organisations and community interest companies bridge the gap while they wait for government funding through schemes such as furlough. The fund also offers grant aid to help towards operating costs incurred by charities working on the Covid-19 front line.

According to the news outlet, the CESD fund supports the volunteers who deliver essential shopping and medical supplies to vulnerable people. Money is being made available to community groups in the form of loans and grants to enable them to support residents by advancing cash to pay for and deliver essential shopping. Residents will be expected to repay the costs of the shopping to the community group.

For more information, click here.

10:30: Barts Charity seeks £250,000 to provide kit for hospital staff

According to the Newham Recorder the fundraising appeal has been launched to provide items such as wash kits for hospital staff and iPads to keep coronavirus patients connected to their families.

It says Barts Health NHS Trust has been given responsibility for running the temporary NHS Nightingale at the ExCeL in addition to its five permanent hospitals, the Royal London, Newham, Mile End, Whipps Cross and Barts.

So far, says the newspaper, £25,000 has been donated towards the development of coronavirus-proof visors, which can be made using 3D printers. These are being created at Queen Mary University of London to be used by Royal London staff who are dealing with patients who have the virus.

A further £80,000 is funding iPads for patients. To make a donation to the appeal, click here.

10:25: Cambridgeshire hospice in appeal after forecasting loss of £700,000 in fundraising

ITV News reports that the Arthur Rank Hospice Charity is the only adult care hospice in the region and cares for more than 4,000 patients a year at the Alan Hudson Day Treatment Centre in Wisbech and its main site in Cambridge.

It reports that the charity has launched an appeal called SOS!! Support Our Services. Chief executive Sharon Allen says: "The hospice has had to reduce many of its services to protect the safety of its patients while simultaneously refocusing on the core healthcare needs of the county.”

To donate click here.

10:15: Analysis: How charities with low reserves are coping with the pandemic

With fundraising income wiped out, many charities are falling back on their reserves. But with only a quarter estimated to have reserves large enough to last three months, how are organisations coping? Liam Kay reports

Read the full analysis here

09:45: Small charities 'struggling to support service users' with no face-to-face services

More than six in 10 charities are struggling to assist service users who would typically have relied on face-to-face support during the coronavirus pandemic, new research has revealed.

A survey of 219 charities carried out by CharityComms and the Media Trust found respondents, 70 per cent of which were smaller charities, were experiencing a number of communication challenges as a result of the pandemic.

Read the full story here

09:40: RNLI chief takes 50% pay cut as a third of staff are furloughed

Mark Dowie (left), who is paid £160,000 a year to head the life-saving charity, will have the cut backdated to 1 April. Meanwhile, about 30 per cent of the charity’s 1,767-strong workforce will be furloughed over the next few weeks, he said.

The furloughed staff members will be paid 80 per cent of their current pay under the government’s job-retention scheme, which will be topped up to full pay by the charity for the month of April, the charity said in a statement.

Read the full story here

09:35: Air ambulance fundraising biker ride to take place virtually

The Express & Star reports that the Midlands Air Ambulance Charity's Bike4Life Ride Out and Festival has been postponed. This was due to be the 10th anniversary and it usually attracts 10,000 riders.

Nevertheless, reports the newspaper, any biker or motorcycle fan who wants to show their support to the charity is being encouraged to take part in a virtual version of the Ride Out.

Motorcyclists are asked to send images of themselves with their motorcycles. The pictures will then be used to create a "virtual ride out" film, which will go live on the charity's Facebook page on the original event's date of 26 April. Pictures can be sent to

09:25: Construction industry charity begins crisis appeal

According to online news outlet Vertikal, Lighthouse Club, the Construction Industry Charity usually relies on event income to fund its 24-hour helpline, but it has postponed its national and regional events at a time when the construction community needs its support the most.

It has therefore set up a Construction Workers Family Crisis Fund to ensure that construction workers and their families are not abandoned during the pandemic, it reports.

Chief executive Bill Hill said: “The calls to our construction industry helpline are currently increasing by more than 25 per cent a week. Many of the calls are from self employed tradesmen, agency staff or workers on zero-hour contracts who cope from week to week. They are often only one or two paydays away from poverty. They need our help to feed their families and to pay their bills for heating and lighting.”

To donate to the fund, click here.

09:20: Scottish regulator issues guidance on submitting annual information during health crisis

The Office of the Scottish Charity Regulator says it will currently take no action against charities that miss deadlines, but is urging charities to do their best to hit them. It says: "To help with this we are allowing charities to submit accounts with typed signatures rather than ‘wet signatures’."

The OSCR says the process of putting a red line against the entry of late submitters on the charity register is automated. It adds: "We would like to reinforce the fact that we are not currently penalising charities for being late during this time, and we would ask that organisations and individuals understand this position when looking at the register."

Refer to the OSCR Covid-19 guidance for up-to-date information for charities, and contact it if you have any further questions or if you need help accessing OSCR Online.

09:10: Muscular Dystrophy UK furloughs 60 per cent of staff

The charity says it has had to cancel or postpone a number of events that generate a substantial amount of income, including its own Oxford Town and Gown 10k running event, which was due to take place the week after London Marathon. It estimates it could lose £2.8m as a result of all the cancellations.

Employees who are not being furloughed have agreed to a 20 per cent pay cut and reduction in hours from 13 April for an initial period of three months.

Mucular Dystrophy UK says March was one of the busiest months of the year for the charity’s helpline, with 38 per cent of calls related to the virus. More people than usual also visited the website and more than a fifth of total website views were of the charity’s coronavirus guidance.

09:00: NHS launches mental health hotline for employees, staffed by charity volunteers

The NHS says its staff will be able to call or text a free number staffed by thousands of specially trained volunteers from charities to receive support and advice about the pressures they face every day during the pandemic.

Anyone who requires further help will be referred to other services, ranging from practical and financial assistance to specialist bereavement and psychological support. The phone line will be open between 7am and 11pm every day, and the text service will run 24 hours a day.

The more than 1,500 volunteers who will be staffing the lines have come from charities including Hospice UK, Samaritans and Shout. The NHS has also partnered with Headspace, UnMind and Big Health to offer a suite of apps for no charge to assist staff with their mental health. The apps offer support in everything from guided meditation, tools to battle anxiety and help with sleep problems.

7 April

17:40 – We are clocking off for the evening; reports will resume tomorrow

17:10: £100m Covid-19 community aid package launched by Barclays

The company today announced the setting up of the Barclays Foundation, initially to provide a community aid package of £100m to charities working to support vulnerable people affected by the coronavirus and to alleviate the associated social and economic hardship caused by the crisis.

There are two components. First there is a corporate contribution of £50m, to be donated to and deployed through a variety of charities working to support vulnerable people. The money will be disbursed principally in the UK, but also in Barclays’ international markets, including the US and India.

Second is a £50m commitment by Barclays to match personal donations made by its employees to charities of their choice, local to them, and which are working to support communities affected by the health crisis.

Read the full story here

16:30: Media Trust urges charities to post their opportunities for comms professionals on its website

The charity says its research suggests the sector is in very urgent need of volunteers comms suport during the pandemic. Charities can register here. Media and communications professionals who want to volunteer their services to hard-pressed charities can leave their details here.

The Media Trust also offers links to 15 free digital comms resources to use during the crisis.

16:05: West Yorkshire charity re-invents itself as telephone and online service

According to the Ilkley Gazette, the local charity Good Neighbours, which helps older and vulnerable people in the area, has kept three of its services – Shop Assist, Befriending and Moving On – going in this way.

The charity’s chair, Penny Coulthard, told the Gazette: “Some of our volunteers themselves have unfortunately fallen ill and we were concerned that would leave us short-staffed. Added to that was the fact that we lost half our volunteers when people over 70 were told to self-isolate.

"However, I’m pleased to say that the response has been tremendous. We’ve recently managed to match more than 20 clients with new volunteers. That’s doubled the capacity we had before, and hopefully that will continue."

15:45: Artist designs poster to raises money for refugees, asylum seekers and food banks

The Guardian reports on its website that the artist Jeremy Deller has created a poster that celebrates the role of immigrants in combating the coronavirus to raise funds for refugees, asylum seekers and food banks during the pandemic.

Money raised from sales of the poster, it says, will go to Refugee Action and the Trussell Trust. The posters cost £25 and can be bought from the website of graphic designer Fraser Muggeridge, who collaborated with Deller on the project.

15:35: Kwik Fit partnership has raised £1m for Children with Cancer in a year

Staff at the automotive servicing and repair company chose Children with Cancer as the company's first charity of the year last year. Kwik Fit staff participated in events such as the Virgin Money London Marathon and the Simplyhealth Great North Run, as well as organising various fundraising activities including bake sales, static bike challenges, car washes, sponsored walks and the company’s first ever Tour De Branch, a bike ride covering 2,500 miles and connecting 120 Kwik Fit centres.

Mark Brider, chief executive of the charity, said: “We are hugely grateful to Kwik Fit for its incredible fundraising efforts over the past year. Every day in the UK, 12 children and young people are diagnosed with cancer and, of those 12, two will not survive the disease. We exist to make a change to that, and it is thanks to our generous supporters that we are able to keep investing in vital, life-saving research to find cures and kinder, safer treatments for childhood cancer.”

15:30: NCS Trust repurposes programme for summer 2020

Announcing that all those who signed up for the summer 2020 programme will get refunds because it can no longer take place, the trust says all the young people who were expecting to take part this summer will have the opportunity to be part of an alternative free NCS 2020.

It says it is urgently developing the details of the alternative offer with the Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport and NCS suppliers. The National Citizen Service is a government-led volunteering scheme for young people.

15:25: Re-engage partners with PG Tips to offer volunteer training

The tea brand's link-up with the charity for older people will offer training to thousands of people to support vulnerable groups in their local communities.

PG tips is helping to fund 2,000 new "call companion" volunteer opportunities for a telephone befriending service, which will provide a support network for older people who might otherwise have no one to turn to.

People can sign up at Each volunteer will follow an induction checklist, including a work shadow scheme and online confidentiality training. People can also refer an older person to the charity on its website, or can donate funds online at

12:55: Charities must show they are part of the solution, says fundraising agency chief

Sharing the first feedback from a research study conducted by his agency, Bluefrog founder Mark Phillips says in a blog that during the health crisis charities must make themselves visible, ask for help, be relevant where possible and plan their communications now.

He says the agency's research showed that donors are confused, still lacking in trust and have feelings of helplessness, but want to volunteer and give to relevant causes.

To find out more, read the blog.

12:25: Sainsbury's to match-fund Comic Relief fundraising appeal

The supermarket, which has raised more than £130m during its partnership with Comic Relief over the years, will be matching donations given by customers to that charity and BBC Children in Need between 9 April and 1 May.

Customers will be able to round up their bills or donate in-store, donate online and even contribute their Nectar points to the fundraising efforts, with the funds raised split evenly between both charities.

As a temporary measure, Sainsbury’s is also stocking The Big Issue magazine to continue providing homeless and vulnerably housed people across the UK with an income. Vendors have been asked to stop selling on the street in the wake of the Covid-19 crisis, so Sainsbury’s has become the first major retailer to stock the magazine online and in-store to help maximise sales.

To learn more about Sainsbury’s partnership with Comic Relief and BBC Children in Need, click here.

12:10: Time to Spare sets up furlough volunteer swap initiative

Furlough Go is a network of furlough charity staff who want to support other organisations during the pandemic, given that they are unable to volunteer for their own organisations under the government job-retention scheme.

Time to Spare says it is working with the voluntary and community sector, as well as adult social care, public health and the NHS, to support and mobilise volunteers to where there is the greatest need.

For more information and to get involved, click here.

12:05: Muslim charities launch national campaign in response to health crisis

The Muslim Charities Forum is leading a collective UK response to the Covid-19 crisis that has been coordinated by several leading Muslim organisations and which it describes as the first of its kind from Muslim charitable groups.

The Campaign for National Solidarity, backed by 20 organisations, includes an emergency fundraising appeal to help the organisations support communities across the UK. Any money raised will provide grants for those facing financial strife during and support local organisations in need of resources.

Fadi Itani, chief executive of the Muslim Charities Forum, said: “We are facing an unprecedented crisis, and there has never been a more urgent time to work together for the betterment of all those in the UK facing difficulties and increased risk during this emergency. Before this is over, millions of people across the UK are wondering where they will find the money to pay their rent, their bills, and purchase the essentials for themselves and their families."

For more information, click here.

11:25: Breast Cancer Now in urgent appeal for funds

The charity says the pandemic is having a huge impact on its ability to raise the funds it needs to continue its work.

It says: "We know that people affected by breast cancer, and in particular those going through treatment, are more likely to be identified in a higher risk group. We’ve been overwhelmed by the number of people calling our helpline and emailing our specialist breast care nurses for trusted information, information they desperately need to understand how coronavirus could impact them and their treatment."

To donate to Breast Cancer Now, click here.

11:20: Law firm runs webinar today on the financial options available to charities

Bates Wells is running the online seminar today from 1.30pm to 3pm, in conjunction with the National Council for Voluntary Organisations and the Charity Finance Group, under the title Finance and Your Charity: Navigating the Government Schemes; Managing Solvency.

It says the session will examine:

  • How the government’s rescue funding schemes apply to the sector, including the job-retention scheme;
  • Managing your charity’s solvency;
  • The NCVO’s work on securing a package of financial support for the sector.

Roberta Fusco, director of policy and engagement at the CFG, will be talking through the schemes the government has announced and how they might be applied – or not – to the charity context. The presentations will be followed by a Q&A session.

To register for the event, click here.

11:10: Comic Relief and Children in Need team up for BBC fundraiser

The corporation will have a special night of programming on 23 April between 7pm and 10pm, called Britain's Big Night In, to raise money for those affected by coronavirus.

Respecting social distancing rules, the programme will split any money raised between the two charities.

Read the full story here

11:00: Young Minds collates coronavirus advice for young people in one place

The charity that helps young people with their mental health says you can find tips, advice and guidance on the support available during the outbreak on one web page.

It covers anxiety, low moods, self-isolation and social distancing, eating disorders and other topics. To find out more, click here.

10:15: Cancer Research UK announces cuts to funding programmes

CRUK says it has had to cut funding to its existing grants and institutes by up to 10 per cent and its national network of centres by about 20 per cent. In an open letter to its researcher community, Iain Foulkes, executive director of research and innovation, says this amounts to a cut of £44m to its research portfolio across the year.

Foulkes says: “Covid-19 has left the whole world in uncharted waters. And the unprecedented measures to control the global pandemic have had a huge impact on both our researchers’ ability to carry on in the lab, and on our ability to fundraise. Faced with a predicted loss of 20 to 25 per cent of fundraising income, we are forced to look for savings across our current portfolio.

“Cancer Research UK funds nearly 50 per cent of the cancer research in the UK and making cuts to research funding is the most difficult decision we have had to make. We don’t do so lightly. We are hopeful that limiting our spending now will enable us to continue funding life-saving research in the long run."

10:00: Northwood hospice charity in appeal for funds

The Hillingdon & Uxbridge Times reports that the Michael Sobell Hospice Charity is suffering a huge financial shortfall this year because of the pandemic, having closed its three shops, its weekly book stalls and its warehouse operations.

Events manager Ophelia Chambers-Henry told the newspaper: “We need to raise £5,750 a day to support our 10-bed in-patient and day therapy unit. Every donation, however small, takes us one step closer to preventing the hospice from closing.”

To make a donation, visit the website, or post a donation to the Fundraising Office, Michael Sobell Hospice, Mount Vernon Hospital, Northwood, WD3 1PZ.

09:40: Charity Bank updates list of resources available to the sector

Given the lack of an announcement from the government about supporting charities through the pandemic, says the bank, it continues to add contacts to its list of potential resources available.

Its list of emergency funds for charities and social enterprises now includes the National Lottery Community Fund, the National Lottery Heritage Fund, Arts Council England, the National Emergencies Trust, the Charities Aid Foundation, Sport England and many more national and local funds.

It also shares practical support and guidance on its resource hub.

09:30: Christian Aid to continue restructure despite the coronavirus

The charity said in July last year that up to 200 jobs could be at risk as part of plans to restructure and withdraw from 12 countries to save the charity £7m a year.

In December the charity said that phase one of its redundancy programme would see most of its regional offices closed, with 89 full-time-equivalent posts lost. The charity has now confirmed that a further 79 full-time-equivalent roles will be lost as a result of the restructure.

Read the full story here

6 April

17:35 – We are clocking off for the evening; reports will resume tomorrow

17:15: Unicef UK outlines six mental health strategies for teenagers during the crisis

Unicef says it spoke with the expert adolescent psychologist, best-selling author and monthly New York Times columnist Dr Lisa Damour about what you can do to practise self-care and look after your mental health.

First, she said, recognise that anxiety is a normal reaction to stressful situations and can help people take steps to protect themselves. Second, Damour recommends creating distractions by, for example, joining online challenges – though she also recommends not having unfettered access to screens and social media.

Third, she urges teenagers to find new ways to connect with friends and, fourth, tells them to focus on themselves. Fifth, says Damour, "feel your feelings" and, sixth, be kind to yourself and others.

For more information, click here.

16:55: Age UK to put 70 per cent of staff on furlough

The charity for older people says about 1,200 staff members are affected, the majority of whom are in the charity's retail division: it closed its shops in light of government advice.

At the same time, the charity said, demand for its services had “gone through the roof” as older people, who are more at risk from the virus than most, sought advice, information and practical support.

Read the full story here

16:45: Join a webinar on managing your team through a pandemic

The Lloyds Bank Foundation for England & Wales is running a free webinar, hosted by Roots HR, a community interest company that acts as a human resources consultancy for the social sector.

Taking place on 9 April, between 10am and 11am, the webinar will cover:

  • How you can pay your people and what this means for staff who are self-isolating, sick, home schooling or who are affected by lay-off and short term working;
  • Furlough leave: what this means and how it will affect your organisation;
  • Home working: how you can prepare your staff for working from home and support your people in shifting to a new way of working; and
  • Redundancy: how you undergo this process and what it means for your organisation.

For more details and to register, click here.

16:30: Refugee Action offers alternative fundraising ideas for coronavirus lockdown

The charity says you might not be able to run a marathon, but you can host a virtual fundraiser. It says: "All you need to do is decide on your lockdown challenge and make it official by creating a Facebook fundraiser and asking for donations."

First it suggests donating your commute: ask your contacts to donate what they’ve saved on commuting to Refugee Action. And, with exercise still permitted, sponsored activities can still happen, maybe by walking or running a certain distance each day.

Less physically, it suggests virtual Friday drinks: you could host a quiz to raise some money. It says you could even sell some stuff and give the proceeds to the charity.

For more information, click here.

16:25: Royal Voluntary Service pauses registrations for NHS volunteers

The RVS says it is considering applications and will get back to people as soon as it can, and asks applicants to bear with it.

NHS Volunteer Responders will support the health service with simple but vital tasks, including driving people to and from hospital, delivering food and medication, and telephone befriending. Volunteers will also support the NHS to transport equipment and supplies.

Registrations will reopen soon, says the RVS.

16:15: Stream of Fleabag West End show will raise money for charities

In September last year, the show was broadcast live to cinema audiences by means of National Theatre Live, The Guardian reports. The newspaper says that from today viewers in the UK and Ireland will be able to stream a recording of the show via the Soho Theatre’s on demand site. It costs £4, with the money going to charities.

According to the theatre, 35 per cent will be sent to the National Emergencies Trust, 35 per cent will be sent to NHS Charities Together, 15 per cent will be sent to Acting For Others, which distributes funds to people struggling across the theatre sector and 15 per cent will be kept for the Fleabag Support Fund, a new emergency support fund for UK based freelancers in the theatre industry.

To watch Fleabag on Demand, click here.

15:45: Legal firm updates its guidance on insolvency in light of coronavirus crisis

Crowe tweets that the government announced changes to the insolvency regime on 28 March, aimed at providing companies with breathing space so they can keep trading through the pandemic.

It points out thathere will be a temporary suspension of wrongful trading provisions to remove the threat of personal liability during the crisis, applied retrospectively from 1 March 2020. There will also be a temporary moratorium for companies undergoing restructuring so that they cannot be put into administration by creditors and will continue to be able to pay suppliers and staff.

For more information and to download the guidance, click here.

15:35: Wellcome Trust building to be made available as respite centre for NHS staff

The health research funder says it has reached an agreement with University College London Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust that will see the ground floor of its headquarters in the Gibbs Building at 215 Euston Road in London, temporarily adapted for healthcare workers.

It says this will offer them a safe space to have a change of scene from the hospital, have a nap, eat and drink, and get psychological health and wellbeing support.

The respite centre will be staffed by volunteers, including some Wellcome staff, and managed by a centre manager and a volunteer manager. Enquiries about the centre should be addressed to

15:05: Virgin Money Foundation announces grants totalling £850,000

The grants are to help fund organisations in the voluntary and community sector in north-east England. The foundation says £500,000 has been made available through its Community Resilience Fund for organisations already funded by it to replace lost income or to meet local need.

The foundation has made an award of £100,000 to the Community Foundation for Tyne and Wear and Northumberland's Response and Recovery Fund. And £252,731 is being made available through the Community Anchors' Fund: community anchors are locally-led organisations that support local people of all ages.

Visit for further details.

15:00: Hymans Robertson Foundation launches hardship fund

The fund is open to applications from today for more than 50 charities that are already funded and supported by the foundation, and need help during the pandemic. They are encouraged to complete a short application for individual grants of between £500 and £5,000, and the foundation will meet weekly to make funding decisions.

The foundation would also like to hear from other LLPs, professional services firms or businesses that are interested in joining this initiative, either through a donation or by co-funding. The foundation says it has put in place governance, policies, procedures and payments to assure other co-funders that funding will be targeted to reputable UK-based charities.

For information about joining the fund as a co-funder or to make a donation, please contact the foundation's chief executive, Marcella Boyle, at

13:05: Yorkshire children's hospice begins pandemic fundraising appeal

Martin House (left), which cares for families from across West, North and East Yorkshire, says its voluntary income, which accounts for nearly 90 per cent of its funding, has almost completely dried up since the lockdown began because it has had to cancel its fundraising events and close its charity shops.

At the same time, it says, it is doing its bit to support the NHS, working in the community to prevent hospital admissions so hospitals can concentrate on caring for Covid-19 patients.

To donate, click here.

12:55: Publisher distributes free books to people facing hardship during pandemic

Penguin Random House UK says this includes families on low incomes and older people facing isolation, with the aim of providing mental stimulation, company and comfort.

The initiative is being carried out by means of a partnership with the community platform Neighbourly, which supports a national network of food banks and community causes that deliver food parcels to people’s homes, as well as grass-roots groups that support older people facing social isolation.

The books cover a wide range of genres, including fiction, non-fiction and children’s books. For more information, click here.

12:45: £100k fund goes live for charities and community bodies in Darlington

The Northern Echo reports that the fund has been set up by Darlington Borough Council, which has contributed the first £100,000, and the council hopes to work with others to increase the amount available.

Organisations are being told not to apply if its main business is retail and leisure and they have already received help from the government's small business relief grant scheme, says the Echo.

To apply for a grant, click here.

12:40: Addressing racial inequality 'must be central to coronavirus response'

Black, Asian and minority ethnic communities will be disproportionately affected by the crisis if funders and charity leaders do not do this, the #CharitySoWhite campaign group has warned.

In a position paper, Racial Injustice in the Covid-19 Response, published this morning, the group says that without a “purposeful approach” that looks at how racial issues intersect with the response to the crisis, there is a risk that the pandemic will further entrench social inequalities.

Read the full story here

12:15: Action for Children still seeking emergency donations

The charity says that before the lockdown four million children were locked in poverty, and now vulnerable families are reaching breaking point.

Action for Children has 476 services in communities across the country and helps more than 387,000 children, teenagers, parents and carers a year. It is supporting families to cover the cost of basic essentials such as food, nappies, cleaning products and gas and electricity.

To donate, click here.

12:05: Virtual Grand National raises more than £2.6m for NHS charities

According to the Racing Post, an audience that peaked at 4.8 million, 30 per cent of those watching TV at the time, witnessed Potters Corner win the virtual race, run in place of the real thing, which had been cancelled.

The Post reports that Michael Dugher, chief executive of the Betting and Gaming Council, said the money would be handed to NHS Charities Together, which represents more than 140 organisations.

He added: "It's also fantastic that the Jockey Club will be donating 10,000 tickets to the NHS and social care sector in Merseyside for the first day of the 2021 Randox Health Grand National Festival at Aintree."

The BGC added that profits on bets placed in Ireland would be donated to Irish charities, including the Irish Red Cross, according to the Post.

11:55: South coast grant-giver launches £1m to help local charities to survive

The Bournemouth Echo says the Talbot Village Trust has set up the Covid-19 Support Fund to help charities and community organisations in Bournemouth, Christchurch, Poole, East Dorset and Purbeck.

11:45: Black Country sight-loss charity in appeal for urgent funding

According to the Express & Star, the Beacon Centre in Wolverhampton has had to temporarily suspend a number of key activities during the pandemic and is losing more than £15,000 a week while having to expand its talking news and telephone befriending services so it can reach vulnerable people.

The newspaper says the charity is asking for donations of £5 a time. Beacon Centre chief executive Lisa Cowley told the Express & Star: "We have been here supporting people with sight loss for more than 145 years, but the people we help need us more than ever right now and many of them are afraid that we won’t be there for them in the future."

To donate, visit or text BEACONCRISIS (all one word) to 70085. Texts cost £5 plus one standard rate message.

11:35: Military veterans charity ceases face-to-face services

The East Anglian newspaper the Daily Gazette reports that the recovery centre at Chavasse VC House in Colchester, which is run by the military charity Help for Heroes, has been forced to close its doors to protect staff and beneficiaries.

The centre offers physical and psychological support for veterans and serving military personnel, but will now offer welfare assistance, counselling sessions and advice only by telephone and Skype. It also has plans to offer virtual sports, health and activity programmes, says the Daily Gazette.

Julian North, recovery manager for east and south at Help for Heroes, said: “Our psychological services are largely unaffected and being delivered right across our region as are welfare and clinical services. Accessing services is really quick and easy online or by phone and our response is incredibly fast."

11:25: Older people's charity begins appeal after calls to helpline increase tenfold

Scottish newspaper The National reports that Age Scotland has been handling 700 calls a day during the lockdown, compared with an average of about 70 before the pandemic.

The charity's chief executive, Brian Sloan, told the newspaper: “The longer it goes on the harder life is going to be for older people, particularly those who are alone and in danger of becoming chronically lonely. We need to be here for them."

Donations can be made at or by texting AGESCOT to 70490 to donate £10 (texts cost £10 plus standard rate message).

11:20: Refuge says domestic abuse calls have increased by 25 per cent since lockdown

According to BBC News the charity's National Domestic Abuse Helpline has started to receive hundreds more calls since the government said people should stay in their homes to combat the spread of coronavirus.

And it reports that visits to the UK-wide domestic abuse website to get information were 150 per cent higher than during the last week in February, Refuge said.

Refuge says the helpline is still running 24 hours, seven days a week, with staff operating from home, the BBC reports.

11:10: Scottish government gives £700k to museums and galleries Urgent Response Fund

According to the funding body Museums Galleries Scotland, £400,000 will support accredited, independent museums that care for recognised collections and £300,000 will support non-recognised collections. Unlike MGS’s standard grants programmes, the awards will cover core costs and will not be tied to project outcomes.

The Scottish government has also provided £55,000 of capital funding, available to all museums, to purchase the necessary equipment to work from home and to enable museums to provide digital access to museum collections and activity.

MSG says the two funds are part of a raft of measures in the first stage of its three-phased approach of "emergency, recovery and resilience" to support the sector in 2020/21. Future phases will support the wider sector to recover and build resilience, and MGS will announce further details of these in the coming weeks. The Digital Resilience and Urgent Response Fund will open on 8 April through MGS’s online grants system.

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