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National Lottery Community Fund frees up £300m to help charities with Covid-19 crisis

27 Mar 2020 News

All National Lottery Community Fund (NLCF) funding decisions in the next six months will be devoted to responding to the Covid-19 crisis.

This involves up to £300m of funding. NLCF said it will accelerate the cash part of this funding as much as possible.

Dawn Austwick, the chief executive of the NLCF, said it has been talking to grant holders and partners to understand the nature of their response to Covid-19 and to see what the NLCF can do.

“So far, we have of course honoured our existing commitments to grant holders and offered them flexibility so that they can focus on supporting their communities,” she said.

“We have now made two additional decisions. Firstly, all the funding decisions we make for the next six months (up to £300m of National Lottery funding) will be devoted to addressing the current crisis.

“In addition, we will accelerate the cash part of this funding as much as we can, so that we can get money to where it needs to be. This is not new money, but it will be faster money and we know that we must act quickly and with confidence,” she said.

'Critical to get cash out of the door' 

Austwick explained that in deciding how to implement the approach,  NLCF has to make some tough choices about how to get money out quickly to those communities and organisations that need it most. 

It will prioritise faster payments for existing grant holders and applicants, on the criteria that activities are specifically geared to supporting communities through this crisis and helping organisations overcome any liquidity issues caused by Covid-19​​​​​​.

Austwick added: “We are doing this because we know it is critical right now to work harder as a funder to get cash out of the door, and hope that by acting quickly we can help organisations at the fore-front of the current crisis, when support is needed most.

“Should we get through this initial tranche of support with some funding left or circumstances change, we will move to set new priorities. We know that this means some groups will not be able to access our funding over the coming months and we will endeavour to return to our broader support as soon as we can.

“Things are moving at pace and we will keep our approach under constant review. We are also going to continue our exploration of how this crisis is changing how we live as communities and how civil society itself is changed.”

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