Peter Lyndon
Emergency funding for front-line charities IS available

Suddenly foodbanks are front page news, as they prove to be the major suppliers of food to the most vulnerable in society at a time when cities and communities have woken up to their fragile hold on the essentials of life. All have had to adapt their way of working, either by providing food where social distancing can be maintained, or delivering to doorsteps. In doing so they have become the lifeline to thousands more of the most vulnerable. Other safety nets, such as free school meals, have been hit. Frequently it’s small local charities often stepping up to meet the need.

At the same time a great number of their volunteers have had to step back because of age or ‘underlying medical conditions’.

Most report a 100% – 300% increase in the amounts of food required to meet demand as more and more people experience reduced means and greater pressures.

And here is the ‘rub’. The normal sources of supply of both material aid and finance for have either reduced or dried up. Churches are no longer able to meet, so their collection points for food are no longer accessible. The funds available from regular donors have reduced as we all feel the pinch.

Foodbanks are not the only front line charities facing the same challenge. Charity shops are closed so hospices and many other vital services are at risk.

But money is available! Here is a brief glimpse into some of the ways small local charities can access emergency funds.

On Wednesday, 8 April the government announced it is making £370 million available for small and medium sized charities. Much of it will be available through local councils, and through the National Lottery Community Fund application process. Check out your local council Coronavirus Response for details of how to access volunteers and applications for emergency funds. The government will also match fund the BBC’s Big Night In charity appeal on the 23 April up to £20 million.

The National Emergencies Trust, having raised c. £20 million, is distributing the money super fast through UK Community Foundations and the 46 local community foundations. Contact details are all available at ukcommunityfoundations.org

The Charities Aid Foundation have set up a COVID-19 Funding and Resources hub to manage a CAF Coronavirus Emergency Fund. Currently they have received requests for over £39 million, so are on pause at the moment. However they will re-open when they are re-supplied. However they are making their donation platform available free to charities to set up online fundraising appeals. Details at cafonline.org

And on the subject of online appeals, Crowdfunder (crowdfunder.co.uk) is waiving fees for charities having to step up their operations at the moment. Acts 435 (acts435.org.uk), works through churches to crowdfund for locally identified needs. The Besom (besom.com) acts as a bridge between those who want to give specific items and those in need of them.

If you are working specifically with the homeless/rough sleepers at this time, The Morrisons Foundation has a ring-fenced fund that you can access. Watch the following video for more information, or visit morrisonsfoundation.com.

Many funders have cut red tape for registered charities to a minimum, so don’t delay, apply today!


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