The National Lottery Community Fund (NLCF) has opened a £45m programme to fund charities and social enterprises working with people “disproportionately impacted” by the coronavirus.
The money will be distributed through five partnerships, which includes £5m for migrant and refugee charities made available by the Barrow Cadbury Trust, and another £5m for homelessness charities via Homeless Link.
A further £5m will be distributed to charities giving welfare advice, while nearly £20m will go to social enterprises. A consortium headed by Power to Change has received £10m to work with community businesses and other local organisations in England.
Proceeding without government
The announcement comes a fortnight after the government reportedly withdrew from a series of partnership agreements without warning. The partnerships would have been funded using public money from the NLCF’s Coronavirus Community Support Fund.
The NLCF told those partners last week that, in the absence of public funding, it would finance the work instead.
‘Need is outstripping supply’
Sara Llewellin, chief executive at the Barrow Cadbury Trust, said: “This is a very welcome boost to a part of the sector which is really struggling.
“We will make sure every penny is used to support refugees and migrants at this very difficult time, when need is outstripping supply for these vulnerable communities.”
Vidhya Alakeson, chief executive of the foundation Power to Change, said: “The coronavirus pandemic revealed just how vital community-led organisations are in delivering support to local people. They stepped up during the lockdown but now many face impending financial crisis.
“Thanks to National Lottery funding, this new recovery scheme is there to help them transition through this challenging period and ensure they can survive and continue their vital work.”
Dawn Austwick: Local knowledge and networks are crucial
Dawn Austwick, chief executive of NLCF, said: “These partnerships will extend the reach of National Lottery funding at a time when communities need it most. They are each experts in their field, which is why we’re delighted to be working alongside them.
“Their local knowledge, dedication and network of contacts will be critical in supporting the distribution of much needed funding at a critical time for communities. We’re grateful to them for working with us so closely and of course to National Lottery players for making this emergency response possible.”
An NLCF spokesperson added: “We have always recognised that partnerships will play a key role in helping us to get emergency National Lottery funding out to where it is needed most, and this is something we have done as a grantmaker for many years.”
They confirmed that no government funding is being used for these partnerships.