Harriet Whitehead: Where have funders allocated their Covid-19 emergency funding?

06 Oct 2020 Voices

Harriet Whitehead reports on how some of the emergency funding that was released earlier this year is being used

Since the onset of Covid-19, many charities have come forward to warn of significant income losses, with figures suggesting there could be around 60,000 redundancies across the sector.

The impact of the pandemic has been severely detrimental to many charities, prompting an influx of emergency funding pots. Many of these came before any government support was made available. 

During the lockdown, Civil Society News kept track of what funding was available to charities. Several months on, many charities have been awarded money from trusts and foundations to help them through the crisis. 

An initial look at the money that has been allocated suggests that health charities having been particularly successful in gaining funding for their causes. There are also several projects around that have been funded to use technology to adapt to the new environment.

However, demand has still outstripped supply, with many funds oversubscribed.

In this article we will look at some examples of how emergency funding is being used.

Helpfully, 360Giving has collated data published by UK grantmakers. This shows that to date nearly £200m has been distributed, via 87 grantmakers to just over 10,000 recipients. 

One example of a funder participating in this resource is the Charities Aid Foundation (CAF). Through the tool we can see that CAF awarded grants to 1,256 organisations, including Kentish Town City Farm, Refugee Support Network and Child Accident Prevention Trust.

Rausing Charity Survival Fund hands out more than planned 

Julia and Hans Rausing have allocated £18m to over 300 charities through their The Charity Survival Fund, which had initially been allocated £10m.

The Rausings' Charity Survival Fund launched in July to provide core funding to UK charities struggling with loss of income due to coronavirus pandemic. It was the first time that the pair of philanthropists had invited charities to bid for funding. 

The amount of money available has been increased to reflect “the quality, quantity and urgent need of applications”.

The fund received 2,630 submissions with a total request value exceeding £174m.

Charities in all four nations of the UK are to receive donations. The £18m available follow the £16.5m emergency funding given to Covid-19 emergency causes by the Rausings in March and April.

This brings their total Covid-19 support to over £35m.

The successful charities work within the Julia and Hans Rausing Trust’s main areas of interest: health and wellbeing, welfare and education, and arts and culture. Over £11m will go to charities supporting people’s health and wellbeing.

Some of the charities that have been supported include:

  • Kinship Care: Based in Northern Ireland, the charity supports kinship carers and their children, notably grandparents and siblings raising their grandchildren and younger brothers and sisters respectively.
  • The Candlelighters Trust: Candlelighters supports children facing cancer across Yorkshire, from the point of diagnosis to those families who are sadly bereaved.
  • Fresh Start Portslade: This small charity in Brighton has converted a disused park toilet block into a café, running youth work training and other projects for people in the local community.

Julia and Hans Rausing said: “We were overwhelmed by both the quality and quantity of applications we received for the Charity Survival Fund. It highlighted to us the perilous state that so many amazing charities have found themselves in due to the loss of day to day income caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

“It is because of this need that we increased the funding available through the Charity Survival Fund to £18m, and we are pleased that this funding will enable so many extraordinary charities to continue their excellent work and support their local communities at this difficult time.”

Power to Change: Helping organisations adapt

One good illustration of what the first wave of funding has allowed organisations to do comes from Power to Change, which started the process of awarding emergency funding in April.

The funder says there was high demand, and it awarded more than 356 grants totalling £6.75m to community businesses in England to help them continue trading and diversify. 

Indeed, 54% of grantees used a portion of the money to pay staff salaries, whilst 18% used some of the money to adapt buildings so they could reopen and carry on trading.

In some cases these organisations were stepping in to support local authorities to deliver services, particularly health and social care.

For example, Tonic Music for Mental Health in Portsmouth was allocated £3,218.

Tonic runs music and arts programmes to help people with mental illness, particularly those who are isolated and vulnerable. Lockdown meant its events were cancelled, and combined with lost fundraising revenue and the closure of its merchandise shops, the organisation is set to lose over £80,000 of trading income in 2020.

Tonic was able to provide some of its services remotely, including workshops via Zoom and a series of videos providing advice on wellbeing. It has also set up WhatsApp groups to offer support and maintain engagement with its community.

British Muslim Fund

On the outbreak of the pandemic, the charities Rahma Mercy, Drop of Compassion, and Peace and Relief International formed the British Muslim Covid-19 Fund with £100,000 to help those affected affected by the pandemic. 

Grants from £250 up to £5,000 were made available to charities, organisations and voluntary groups in the UK, irrespective of faith. 

British Muslim Covid-19 Fund was launched on 23 April with £100,000, and within five days received requests totalling £250,000.

Thus far it has allocated nearly £60,000. Successful applicants include: Women's Health in South Tyneside, Live Cancer Free Ltd and several Age UK charities. 

The remaining money is being held until the second wave, but the demand for for these funds already comes to more than £200,000.

Barclays 100x100 UK Covid-19 Community Relief Programme 

Barclays is giving 100 organisations £100,000. A full list of recipients is not available yet, but some have been speaking about how they plan to use the money.

Age UK

Barclays has made a donation to support Age UK’s work as part of the bank’s wider Covid-19 Community Aid Package, which is supporting organisations that meet the immediate needs of isolated older people, low-income families, those facing financial hardship, NHS staff and key workers. 

Barclays colleagues are also taking part in Age UK’s Telephone Friendship Service, which has seen members of the bank’s staff each matched with an older person who is experiencing loneliness. 

Steph Harland, chief executive at Age UK, said: “We are tremendously grateful to Barclays for their partnership and donation. This really will help us and our local Age UKs continue to make a huge difference to the lives of so many older people and keep our essential services running when they are so desperately needed.”

Teens Unite 

Cancer charity Teens Unite is facing a 75% loss of income, yet registrations for support have increased 66%. 

All of its services are now being delivered via online sessions and, despite the crisis, the charity has been able to increase its support from four face-to-face activities per month to four digital sessions every week. Barclays’ donation will ensure that the charity can continue to offer support online and meet the ongoing needs.

St Barnabas Hospice

St Barnabas Hospice has grant funding from The National Lottery Community Foundation Covid-19 response fund and the Barclays fund to make more use of technology. 

It aims to reach out digitally to Lincolnshire patients, giving those patients who require it access to technology so they can continue to use their services while face-to-face support is currently not feasible. Staff facilities have also been improved so they can reach out to more patients digitally, broaden capacity and support to those most in need.

Scottish Autism

Scottish Autism has been awarded a £100,000 grant to support autistic people and their families who’ve been adversely impacted by the pandemic.

The charity will use the funds to create a new online coaching and counselling service to support autistic people and their families through Covid-19 and help them transition to a new normal when lockdown and social distancing measures eventually come to an end.

Earlier this summer, Scottish Autism reported a 101% increase in enquiries to its Autism Advice Line since lockdown came into effect.

The Childhood Trust: Champions for Children

The Childhood Trust created a match fund of £1m to encourage people to donate to one of its 94 beneficiary charities. 

The Champions for Children campaign was informed by research, including its Children in Lockdown Report and a film that interviewed children impacted by the coronavirus crisis.

The campaign raised £3,655,349 in total. The charity's forthcoming Christmas Challenge campaign will also be supporting children living in poverty who have been impacted by coronavirus and this has a fundraising target of £3m.

Youth Endowment Fund

The Youth Endowment Fund Covid-19 grant round awarded a total of £6.4m to 129 organisations across England and Wales.

The list of recipients includes The Shaw Trust, Catch22 and Escapeline.

The funding will support the delivery of new programmes and activities, including online and virtual programmes, targeted work in schools and detached youth work.

Thomas Pocklington Trust 

TPT provides grants for a broad range of projects that support blind and partially-sighted people.

In March it delivered a £500,000 Covid fund to support sight loss charities during the pandemic. Projects from Fight Against Blindness, Wirral Society of the Blind and Partially Sighted and ABA Leeds are among the 55 applications approved.

Its funding programme is currently closed whilst it undergoes a review.

The Cadent Foundation

The Cadent Foundation has given 45 emergency grants totalling over £465,000 since March this year.

The largest grant of £240,000 has been given to the Trussell Trust foodbank network, while £100,000 has gone to the Royal Voluntary Service and £125,000 in small donations has been given to smaller charities across Cadent’s network.

An example of the small charity grants is Hutton Daily Bread, which is a small church-based organisation in Brentwood providing food and support to the needy of the parish and during the pandemic food relief to the community at large.  

The grant helped the group buy more equipment to meet the increased need in the community and to replace a number of “domestic” appliances with commercial grade ones.

What next?

Although several initial deadlines for applications have passed, other funding is now cropping up to tackle the new phase of recovery.

Nineteen funders are to receive millions in match-funded cash from the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport. 

A total of £85m was available from the government funds to be added to money already raised by the foundations, doubling the amount available for distribution. In some cases, charities will be invited to apply for this funding, while in others distribution will take place through existing partners. 

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