The City of London Corporation’s charitable funder, the City Bridge Trust, is telling more than 400 grant recipients “to direct funding to where they feel it’s most needed” rather than spend grants on the specific purposes they were given for.
The grant-maker has told grantees they can use up to 12 months of funding for core day-to-day running costs, including paying staff, renting premises and covering essentials such as energy and phone bills, instead of having to spend it on the purpose for which it was originally granted.
The trust, which awards about £25m a year, said it had made the move because the future of many of its grantees was being threatened by the coronavirus pandemic.
It urged other grant-makers to follow suit.
A spokesman for the charity told Third Sector that the offer to convert grants was open to all of its grantees but that it was up to each individual organisation to take advantage of it.
Dhruv Patel, chair of the City of London Corporation’s City Bridge Trust Committee, said the changes had been put in place because “voluntary organisations are needed more than ever” during the coronavirus crisis.
“The sudden drop in income experienced across the voluntary sector means that many organisations face an existential threat, which has worrying implications for the communities and vulnerable people who rely on their services,” he said.
“We hope that giving our grantees the choice to direct funding to where they feel it’s most needed will provide a lifeline to help them get through the crisis, and I really hope other funders will consider making the same offer if they can.”
To help offset lost income from the coronavirus pandemic, the trust has also given about £1.7m in one-off grants to 202 organisations.