Most departmental funding from £750m rescue package is available, minister claims

Baroness Barran made the claim at the launch of an NPC report, but the DCMS can explain only where a third of the funding has gone

Baroness Barran
Baroness Barran

Most of the funding from the government coronavirus rescue package has been allocated to government departments and is open for applications, according to the Minister for Civil Society. 

But when asked by Third Sector the Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport, which is overseeing the distribution of the funding, could explain only where a third of the funding had gone.

In April the government announced £750m in support of charities dealing with the impact of the coronavirus, £360m of which was to be distributed by government departments to charities providing key services and supporting vulnerable people during the crisis.

Speaking at a virtual launch event for New Philanthropy Capital’s State of the Sector 2020 report, Baroness Barran said she was aware there had been “a lot of concern about the pace at which we’re getting funding out to charities”. 

But she said “most of that [funding] has now been allocated or is open for applications” and the rest would “be announced in the next week or two”.

The funding was announced on 8 April after a campaign by charity sector bodies under the banner #EveryDayCounts, highlighting the immediate need for money charities were experiencing as a result of the coronavirus crisis.

Many in the sector have criticised the speed of the process for distributing money and criticised the lack of information on the issue.

In response to a request from Third Sector for a list of where the £360m had been allocated, the DCMS responded by providing links to funds worth a total of £51m, with information about a further £66m. 

The list provided by the DCMS included the Covid-19 Food Charity Grant Scheme, a £16m pot distributed by the Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs that allows front-line food aid charities in England to apply for grants of up to £100,000. 

Defra is also distributing grants of £100,000 to zoos and aquariums for animal food, maintenance and keepers’ wages from a total pot of £14m.

A total of £6m is available to armed forces charities and community interest companies supporting serving personnel, veterans and their families affected by Covid-19 from the Armed Forces Covenant Fund Trust, via the Ministry of Defence’s share of the funding. 

Grants of between £50,000 and £100,000 are available from the Loneliness Covid-19 Grant Fund, a £5m pot distributed by the DCMS for charities working to tackle loneliness and isolation caused by the pandemic. 

The Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government has opened applications for the Covid-19 Homelessness Response Fund, a £6m pot for organisations dealing with homelessness, and a £10m fund for domestic abuse safe accommodation charities, which the MHCLG website said was “part of a £76m government package of support to charities supporting vulnerable people including domestic abuse victims”.

A DMCS spokeswoman said a full list of the allocations would be published on the government website “in due course”.

Of the £750m originally announced in April, the other £370m is due to be distributed to small charities by the National Lottery Community Fund and its equivalents in Wales and Scotland. 

Barran said she was “working with the NLCF to resolve final issues around governance and prioristion of that funding” before it was distributed.

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