Government launches £85m coronavirus match-fund scheme

The government will use £85m of its £750m emergency coronavirus funding to match-fund selected fundraising campaigns, it has announced. 

The Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak announced a financial support package for charities hit by the coronavirus crisis of £750m on 8 April, following pressure from a number of charities and umbrella organisations. 

The government has since faced criticism over the slow pace at which the urgently needed funds have been distributed

On Saturday, Oliver Dowden, the culture secretary, said funders, foundations, and philanthropists were being invited to apply for a share of the £85m Community Match Challenge fund to match their donations to good causes until 31 August.

In a statement, Dowden said: “Since Covid hit, the British people, businesses and philanthropists have stepped up and fundraised hundreds of millions of pounds to support the most vulnerable in our communities.

“We're now launching a Community Match Challenge as part of our multi-billion-pound package of support for our brilliant charity sector.” 

The Voluntary and Community Sector Emergencies Partnership, which supports national and local coordination in the wake of crises and emergencies, will receive £4.8m of the funding, to help strengthen the voluntary sector’s response to coronavirus and future emergencies, Dowden said.

Mike Adamson, chief executive of British Red Cross and chair of the VCSEP, said the grant would help strengthen the support it offered to the voluntary and community sector, government and statutory agencies as they respond to the next phase of Covid-19. 

“Over the coming months we will be setting up systems to improve coordination across our sector, capture unmet needs as a result of emergencies, and match and coordinate volunteer demand and supply,” he said.

“The money we have secured will go a long way in helping us to achieve our ambitions and establish a legacy for responding to future emergencies.”  

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