This is an extraordinarily difficult time for many. The COVID-19 outbreak has led to those already facing disadvantage at even greater risks because of the pandemic itself or the measures adopted to manage it. We’ve seen the remarkable work of small and local charities across the country adapting services overnight to continue to support individuals and communities facing complex social issues.


We are all learning as we go in this new reality and taking it one day at a time as we work on keeping commitments to those we support who are keeping staff, volunteers and supporters safe, and keeping services running as resources are depleting.


All funders are also rightly rethinking through how they adapt, respond and support. Our priority is to continue to support the charities we partner with through this crisis because it is these small and local charities who are best placed to help their communities.


This is why all existing grants will be more flexible. This means charities can change the focus of their funding to better respond to the crisis. Where needed charities can speak to their Regional Manager to receive 50% of total grant funding in one year, flexibility on reporting deadlines and payments made available without completed reports. Agreed outcomes can also be relaxed so charities aren’t under pressure to meet objectives that may no longer be feasible. We have also adapted our development support. This includes additional offers to help with remote working and responding to this crisis, virtual consultancy and volunteering including with Lloyds Banking Group, and webinars open to everyone in the sector.


We know we need to do more and not just now, but to help charities through the crucial months and years following the immediate emergency. From the conversations we’ve been having with charities we currently support, other funders and infrastructure organisations, we realise that we need to adapt our own funding strategy to better support small and local charities in the current environment building on our unchanging values to be a long-term and supportive partner.


To minimise the disruption caused by COVID-19 and help charities quickly, we will provide immediate short-term funding to some charities that have already spent a significant amount of time on their application or those who were expecting to receive new funding prioritising those which have adapted their services to support their service users during COVID-19 or where our funding will have the greatest impact in supporting charities to survive this period. For these charities, we will be releasing a one-year grant as quickly as possible with a lighter touch assessment. These grants will continue to be flexible on reporting requirements so charities can focus on their services. This is to make sure vital charities can continue running their services while we put together the right funding programme for this situation.


We have a responsibility to use our funds as effectively as possible and so from 8 April 2020, we will not accept any new applications until we can launch a new approach to funding that responds to the current environment and can help charities survive, recover, and strengthen in the long term. We want to get this right so our staff and Trustees will be working to design that approach, including considering how our own offer fits with and complements the approaches other funders are taking.


We want to re-assure those considering a new application that the short term pause of our grant programmes will put us in a stronger position to offer the right support for charities in the longer term. We hope this strikes the right balance and gives us the opportunity to be able to respond to COVID-19 and to best support the charities who are on the front line. Our commitment to partnering with small and local charities and the people who you serve and help overcome complex social issues is stronger than ever.


Further details of our new programmes and approaches will be launched as soon as we are able to. In the meantime, if you have any questions at all please contact your Regional Manager or our office on 0370 411 1223 or

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