An initial £13m of the funds raised through the Big Night In appeal has been allocated to charities.
Grants will go towards a range of causes, including supporting women, children, older people and BAME communities during the crisis.
The biggest pots include £2m for women’s aid federations in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland to support people experiencing domestic violence and abuse, and £2m for BBC Children in Need’s Emergency Essentials crisis fund, to help families who need immediate support.
Grants worth £800,000 each have been awarded to the Community Foundation for Northern Ireland (CFNI), the Corra Foundation, Groundwork UK, Refugee Action and the Rosa Women’s Fund.
Comic Relief said it will also be supporting BAME community projects, in response to the impact Covid-19 is having on BAME communities. This will be through targeted funding via Rosa Women’s Fund and Refugee Action, plus an extra £650,000 which will be announced “shortly” and distributed by a BAME-led organisation.
Homeless Link will be receiving £700,000, while Age UK, British Red Cross, Buttle, Fareshare and Wales Council for Voluntary Action were awarded £650,000 each.
The appeal raised £28m on the night and £70m in total. This includes the government match funding every pound donated. Some £20m will go to the National Emergencies Trust, and £4m to NHS Charities Together.
The Big Night In telethon was broadcast on BBC One on 23 April, but the appeal is still open. Merchandise profits from BBC Radio 1’s Big Weekend 2020 festival, which takes place this weekend and is being held virtually for the first time, will also be going to the appeal. The government will be match-funding donations until 23 June.
Comic Relief said that the first round of grants “will be paid out imminently, in many cases within one to two weeks”.
‘Working at great speed’
Ruth Davison, chief executive of Comic Relief, said: “We are incredibly grateful to everyone who came together during this challenging time and supported The Big Night In. We are working at great speed to allocate funding to projects in urgent need of help as they support vulnerable communities across the UK.
“This first allocation includes projects helping the elderly and most isolated, services helping women facing rising levels of domestic abuse, and support for BAME communities who are disproportionately affected by coronavirus. I’m proud this funding will help provide vital support for thousands of people throughout the pandemic.”
Simon Antrobus, chief executive of BBC Children in Need, said: “Helping disadvantaged children and young people at times when they need it most is central to all that we do, and right now is clearly one of those times.
“It is hard to put into words how much of a positive impact the money raised through The Big Night In will make on children and young people across the UK, who are going through unimaginable difficulties at this time. To our supporters who so generously supported the appeal, we simply cannot thank you enough.”