New Minister for Civil Society praises 'heroic' charity staff and volunteers

In his first statement about the voluntary sector since being confirmed in post, Nigel Huddleston says small charities are the 'backbone of our communities'

Nigel Huddleston (Photograph: Eamonn M. McCormack/Getty Images for Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games)
Nigel Huddleston (Photograph: Eamonn M. McCormack/Getty Images for Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games)

The new charities minister has praised “heroic” charity staff and volunteers for their work during the coronavirus pandemic. 

It emerged on Friday that Nigel Huddleston, the MP for Mid Worcestershire and who already has responsibility for sport, tourism, heritage and the Commonwealth Games, had also been given the charities brief

Launching a new report today on the £200m of government funding that was distributed by the National Lottery Community Fund through the Coronavirus Community Support Fund, Huddleston said he was “immensely grateful for the volunteers and charity staff who have worked tirelessly throughout the pandemic”.

He said in a statement: “They have been truly heroic, and the backbone of our communities.”

The report, published today, shows that the fund distributed £187m in funding to more than 8,200 voluntary sector organisations. 

A survey of recipients, completed by more than 6,700 organisations, showed that almost half (48 per cent) used the funds they received to continue to operate. 

It also shows 44 per cent of respondents, who could choose multiple answers, said they used the funds to respond to increased demand for their services. 

The report says that more than 6,200 employees of those organisations were brought back or prevented from being furloughed, while an estimated more than 4,200 new staff members were recruited because of the funding. 

It says this was in addition to grantholders mobilising 136,000 existing volunteers and more than 47,000 volunteers they had not worked with previously.

Researchers found that grantholders worked with a median of 140 beneficiaries each, which suggests that an estimated almost 6.6 million people were reached by organisations that received CCSF grants. 

The scheme was aimed at small and medium-sized community organisations delivering activities and support to people affected by the Covid-19 pandemic in England. 

A total of £199m was allocated to the CCSF and £187m was distributed after administration and evaluation costs were deducted. 

Huddleston said: “Today’s results demonstrate the significant role the Coronavirus Community Support Fund has played in towns and cities across the country. 

“As part of our wider £750m of direct support for charities during the pandemic, this government funding meant organisations could continue their vital work helping more than six million people in need.”

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