COVID-19 has brought huge challenges for our society. People experiencing complex social issues are facing even greater risks. At such a difficult time, small and local charities, which have deep and longstanding roots in the communities they serve, have been never more needed.

Updated 21 January 2021


As charities continue to react, learn, and adapt to the diverse needs of the people they support, we have been rethinking and adapting our support and approach to funding. This work has been shaped by the conversations we’ve been having with you, our partners, and the wider sector. 


We don’t have all the answers and we don’t know what the future will look like. What we do know is that our support will need to continue to develop throughout this crisis. We see this taking the shape of three distinct phases:

  1. Reacting to the immediate crisis and supporting you as you adapt and respond
  2. Recovering – supporting charities and those they support beyond the immediate crisis
  3. Renewing services to adapt to the new normal


Read our May 2020 analysis report on how charities are responding to COVID-19.

And the follow-up Winter update to small charities responding to COVID-19.


See all the charities we're currently funding across our grants programmes.


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Support for grant holders


COVID Recovery Fund

On 3 August 2020, we launched our COVID Recovery Fund, a two-year unrestricted grant of £50,000 with dedicated organisational development support. Through this programme, we awarded 149 grants totalling an investment of £7.5 million in December 2020.


To survive the aftermath of the pandemic, charities have needed to alter the way in which they operate, deliver services and source income. Alongside crucial funding, we know charities need the space, support and resources to be able to do this and become more resilient to future challenges. This kind of work is complex, it takes time and involves the whole organisation and with the COVID Recovery Fund programme, a Development Partner will be appointed to work hand in hand with charities through this process.


The Development Partner will support the charities in this journey through your own internal resources, a range of external partners and consultants through our Enhance capacity building programme and will help you share and learn across charities through structured peer forums.


Racial Equity Funding

We know there is an explicit link between the vast majority of our complex social issues and racial injustice, and that these intersecting inequalities are best addressed by the small charities that are rooted in the communities they serve. We want to ensure that this funding is distributed equitably to the charities that are best placed to serve the communities who need it most. To make sure we can achieve this, a minimum of a quarter of this funding will go to charities that are led by and for people from Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic communities.


As part of our COVID Recovery Fund, 38% of the 149 grants were awarded to charities that are led by and for Black, Asian and minority ethnic communities – in recognition of both longstanding structural inequalities and the greater impacts of COVID on these communities.


Wales and our People and Communities Focus

Following a comprehensive review of our grants portfolio and the wider sector, we found that some charities in specific places were being excluded by our criteria. We recognise that many of these charities often provide a response to a specific social issue such as homelessness or domestic abuse alongside helping communities and individuals around a range of other issues. That is why also relaxed our eligibility criteria for charities based in Wales and the six communities where we are working to support long term transformational change.


The months and years to come will be difficult, as a funder, we know that to provide the best support for the charities we partner with we need to learn from them as much as they need to learn from each other. We will develop our own learning to understand how we can be a true partner to the charities we fund and the wider sector.


COVID React Fund

In May this year, we wrote to our existing grant holders offering additional grants between £5,000-£15,000 to cover any costs for adapting or developing services to respond to the COVID-19 crisis. We received strong applications from twice as many charities as we were able to fund


Through donations from the Health Foundation (£500,000) and the Welsh Community Foundation (£300,000), we were able to increase the number of charities we could support through this fund to a total of 416 – 90% of those who applied.


These small grants will go towards adaptations for physical space and PPE, equipment, and additional staff hours and fundraisers cost so that the charities we partner with can continue to support people facing complex social issues.


Applications submitted before COVID-19

We have a responsibility to use our funds as effectively as possible and so from 8th April, we stopped accepting any new applications for funding. This was so we could focus on designing a new approach that best responds to the current environment and can help charities survive, recover and strengthen in the long term. However, we proceeded with applications from charities that had already invested a significant amount of time in the process.


To minimise the disruption caused by COVID-19 and help charities quickly, we awarded over £2 million worth of one-year grants to 71 charities who’d already submitted applications to us when we closed. These charities have all adapted their services to support service users during COVID-19 and our funding will have the greatest impact in supporting them to survive this period.


Flexible funding

All existing grants will be more flexible. This can include:

  • Changing the focus of your grant so you can respond to the impact of the coronavirus crisis on your service users
  • Core funding to be used in any way you need to deliver your services and ability to use project funding to support your wider service users through the crisis
  • Leeway on agreed outcomes if they could not be met because of disruption from the coronavirus
  • Releasing the next annual payment without the need for a monitoring report if it could not be completed because of the disruption[1]
  • Possibility of amending grant payments so half of the total grant can be made available in one year


If you are an existing grant holder and need greater flexibility to your funding, please speak to your regional manager to discuss the options available.


[1] We’ll follow up once the situation has calmed down to work with you on completing the report.


Capacity building

We have adapted our full Enhance developmental support programme. We are continuing to provide support for charities to develop through our local and national partners. Alongside this, we have commissioned additional consultancy support to help charities respond to this crisis covering finance, fundraising, HR and operations, leadership and more. For any charities whose funding is coming to an end this year, we will continue to make our full development support programme available until 31 December 2020. This means that an additional 132 charities will have access to our Enhance programme this year. They will also be able to apply for the additional funding described above.


We are also regularly releasing webinars focused on helping charities build their skills in the above fields. These webinars are available to any small charity including any we do not currently support. To stay up to date and find out about the next webinar as soon as it’s available you can sign up for our newsletter here.


We know that charities need urgent help and what we do can only go so far. To help charities grow their capabilities, capacity and confidence to influence and campaign for change we’ve developed the changemaker programme.   


To see our full range of Enhance support during COVID-19, visit our regularly updated page here.


To discuss your development needs and access any of the support listed above, please speak to your regional manager.


Partnering with Lloyds Banking Group

Through our 35-year partnership with Lloyds Banking Group, we help charities find a trusted mentor that can offer ongoing support across a range of areas including business strategy and planning, governance and management and digital.


As well as mentoring, Lloyds Banking Group staff are delivering forums to help charities through their most pressing issues from crisis review and recovery, financial management, leadership and governance and more.


We also run a Trustee Programme that introduces senior Lloyds Banking Group staff to charities seeking to recruit new trustees.


For support in improving digital skills and reducing the digital divide charities can access the Lloyds Banking Group Digital Champions programme. This programme puts charities in touch with staff from Lloyds Banking Group who have strong skills and expertise in digital from IT and technology to digital marketing. 


The Lloyds Bank Academy has produced a series of trainer-led webinars and resources to help organisations improve their digital capabilities. These webinars and resources are free for everyone and you can find out more and sign up here.


Support for the charity sector

Supporting infrastructure bodies

Infrastructure bodies have an important role to play in civil society and supporting charities. However, they have been affected by this crisis as well yet have had fewer avenues for support. We want to ensure that these organisations can continue to help charities during this crisis and beyond, so we have invested a total of £450,000 to 15 regional and local charitable infrastructure organisations to help them advocate for local charities.


Learn more about this grants programme. 


Supporting charities to influence welfare policy

We’ve been hearing for a long time from charities about challenges with the welfare system, but during the coronavirus pandemic, these issues have intensified. Many people have experienced a drop in their income in recent months and have needed to access welfare support. We want to support charities to influence change in the welfare system through policy, research and campaigning. We have awarded over £336,000 to nine charities to improve the welfare system for people facing complex social issues


Learn more about this grants programme. 


Government support

This crisis has presented huge challenges for charities and while we know that charities need additional funding and help to adapt services, much more needs to be done to ensure charities can survive the crisis. That’s why our approach has always been to fund charities, help to develop charities and the wider sector, and influence policy and practice. We will continue to push for change to improve the environment in which charities work.


We’ve been working closely with NCVO, ACEVO, NAVCA, CFG and other infrastructure bodies calling on the government to support charities during the COVID-19 crisis. Through #EveryDayCounts we put pressure on the Government to urgently provide support for charities resulting in the £750m funding announcement. While this is a welcome start, the sector is facing a £4.5bn income shortfall and the Government can do more to support charities who are the lifeblood of civil society. We are continuing to work with others in the sector by showing why charities are #NeverMoreNeeded.


At the start of May, we submitted evidence to the DCMS Select Committee that fed into their report on the impact of coronavirus on charities, government’s response and what the future might look like for the sector. The evidence we submitted was built on the experiences of the charities we support.


Thanks to match funding from the UK Government Department for Digital Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) Community Match Challenge, we have also been able to award £4.37m to 105 small charities with an income of under £1m.


Strengthening charities in the wider sector

We are continuing our long-term work in six communities across England and Wales to redesign the way local services are sourced and delivered so that people and communities are better supported.


We’ve adapted this work to help our partners start to recover and rebuild from this crisis. We’re achieving this by facilitating conversations between organisations that fund services, the charities and community organisation that deliver them, and the local people who will use them.


To help with this we have also made our capacity-building support available to our charity and organisational partners across the six communities.


We have launched a new programme to review what it means to be a resilient small charity in a post-pandemic world. The programme will bring our learning together with that of other organisations and charities themselves. Through this, we want to identify and help charities to anticipate, prepare for, respond and adapt to incremental change and sudden disruptions so they can survive and prosper.


Enabling collaborations between funders

Foundations across the country have responded to this health crisis with flexibility, funding and support for their grant holders. We think more can be done to coordinate support for charities.


Along with the Association of Charitable Foundations (ACF) and Esmée Fairbairn Foundation, we have been developing a proposal for a Funders Collaborative Hub to propose how we can achieve a coordinated support offer for the next phase of the crisis as the country looks to recover and renew.


Support for our team

The Lloyds Bank Foundation for England and Wales is committed to the Health and Safety of its employees.


Prior to re-opening our offices on the 7 September 2020, we conducted a full Risk Assessment in consultation with our employees.


We have taken reasonable steps to enable our employees to work safely and to protect our employees and others from COVID 19.


All relevant staff have received the necessary training to ensure that they understand these measures and that they take the necessary steps to keep themselves and others safe while carrying out the work of the Foundation. We will continue to review our Risk Assessment regularly with changes in the current circumstances and in line with government guidelines.


Click on the image below to see full assessment and certificate. 



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