A £100m fund supported by a group of insurance and long-term savings companies has launched today to help people and communities affected by the Covid-19 crisis.
The Covid-19 Support Fund aims to raise £100m in total, with £82.5m already pledged by 29 personal finance companies.
The fund has been launched in partnership with the Charities Aid Foundation (CAF) and has made an initial £20m donation to the National Emergencies Trust (NET).
Charities will not be able to apply for funding directly, but money will be distributed through umbrella bodies.
The fund aims to “provide immediate relief to charities affected by Covid-19”. It is looking to support community-based charities that are struggling during the crisis, charities supporting the most vulnerable, and wellbeing and mental health initiatives, among others.
It is backed by members of the Association of British Insurers (ABI), the British Insurance Brokers’ Association (BIBA), Lloyd’s and The London Market Group (LMG). Lloyd’s pledged £5m.
Sir John Low, chief executive of CAF, said: “Getting these vital funds quickly and safely into the hands of the many charities at the heart of our communities is central to CAF’s mission, and we are proud to be able to work alongside those in the insurance and long-term savings industries to make this happen.
“We know it will make a huge difference to many people in need of support at this time.”
A number of corporates, particularly from finance and retail, have given emergency support to charities since the beginning of the crisis. Barclays set up a £100m fund, most of which will be distributed in the UK, and is expected to start giving out the first £10m in June.
£11m granted by London Community Response
Elsewhere, London Community Response has so far distributed more than £11m to charities and community groups across the capital through 1,100 grants.
The initiative, coordinated by the London Funders network, launched mid-March. Some £18m has been pledged to it so far by more than 50 different funders. This includes £5m from the Mayor of London.
Funding has gone towards a range of services in all London boroughs, including delivery of emergency food packages, advice services and support for rough sleepers.
Applications are currently open for two different programmes: a crisis response programme with grants up to £10,000 to support emergency community response, and a “delivering differently” programme, offering grants between £10,000 and £50,000 to charities that need to change how they deliver their services.
However, the delivering differently programme is closing today at 5pm. London Community Response said it will announce new funding in early June.
Debbie Weekes-Bernard, deputy mayor for social integration, social mobility and community engagement, said: “Community and voluntary organisations across the capital are experiencing unprecedented levels of demand for their services, and this funding is helping them to continue their vital work and support more Londoners during these challenging times.
“From providing emergency food to essential advice and support, they are showing the very best of our city, and I urge all eligible groups to continue applying to the fund so that they can keep supporting our communities who are most in need, and that the government urgently steps up its support to keep these vital groups operating.”