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Lottery funder sees record number of applicants for £200m government pot

29 May 2020 News

A £200m government fund for smaller charities, run by the National Lottery Community Fund (NLCF), received a record-breaking number of applications when it opened last week.

A spokesperson for NLCF said that the funder has received bids to the Coronavirus Community Support Fund worth “multi millions of pounds”.

They added that on Friday, the day that £200m from government became available, the fund received a record number of applications. 

However, NLCF declined to confirm how many applications it had received since the fund opened, how many grants have been agreed, and how much money has been allocated, despite repeated requests for further details.

It is still not clear when the first payments might reach charities, although the Lottery has previously said that it hopes to release funds “as soon as possible”.

Government funding is being distributed alongside the NLCF’s normal funding, and charities do not need to apply separately for the different pots. The money is part of the £750m package for charities announced in early April. There has been significant criticism of how long it has taken to launch the application process. 

First-come-first-served

The Coronavirus Community Support Fund opened last week to distribute the first £200m in emergency government funding to small charities in England impacted by the coronavirus crisis. Another £110m will be made available at a later date.

There is no deadline for applications to the fund, with rolling decisions on grants made on a first-come-first-served basis. This process has been criticised by some sector leaders for encouraging “applicants to apply as quickly as possible, rather than as well as possible”.

High demand

A Lottery spokesperson said: “We’ve received hundreds of applications to the Coronavirus Community Support Fund since it opened, with requests totalling multi millions of pounds. A record was broken on Friday, when we received the most applications we have ever seen in one day. 

“There is high demand for this funding, and we'll continue to assess applications at speed so that we can get funding out to communities as quickly as possible.”

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