Just under £8.5m has been allocated to small charities so far from the government’s coronavirus emergency fund, six weeks after the £200m scheme opened.
The National Lottery Community Fund (NLCF) said that almost 500 organisations in England have now been promised money from the Coronavirus Community Support Fund (CCSF), which it distributes on behalf of the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport.
An example of an organisation that has received funding is Ultimate Counselling Training and Support Services, which provides community-based mental health services in Barking.
It received just under £10,000 from the fund to deliver food parcels and offer mental health counselling to vulnerable people from BAME communities, including older people and the bereaved.
‘More to come’
NLCF said in a statement that there is “much more to come as our funding teams work at pace to get the money out where it is needed”.
The government and NLCF have faced heavy criticism for delays in announcing and then releasing funds.
Dawn Austwick, chief executive of NLCF, said: “From the very beginning of this crisis, the way communities have rallied and responded has been incredible. As we know, demand for funding remains high across the sector.”
Referring to all NLCF’s funding programmes, which includes the government’s emergency fund, she added: “We’re delighted to have already distributed £200m to communities across the UK since lockdown, including the first grants made from the CCSF in England. We’re proud of our team and of being able to support communities and the sector through these unprecedented times.
“We will continue to work hard to get this vital funding out to where it is needed most.”
Minister for civil society: We are working hard
The minister for civil society, Baroness Barran, said: “The work of our dedicated charities and volunteers has been vital during the pandemic, and it will continue to be so as we recover and rebuild.
“I am delighted that this funding from the government and National Lottery is already having such an impact supporting vulnerable people and families across the country. We are working hard to get financial support to those who need it as quickly as possible.”