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Coronavirus: £750 million of government support announced for charities

3-minute read

Lauren Hellicar

17 April 2020

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The Chancellor, Rishi Sunak, has pledged £750 million worth of support for frontline charities. That’s on top of measures previously announced for businesses, according to the government website.

Funding to continue vital charity work during the pandemic

Tens of thousands of charities doing vital work are to receive direct cash grants to make sure they can meet increased demand on their services caused by the coronavirus outbreak. The money is also intended to ensure they can keep up with their regular support for those in need.

How will the money be distributed?

£360 million for national charities

£360 million is to be given directly to charities providing essential services and supporting vulnerable people during the pandemic. This money will help:

  • increase hospice capacity to bring stability to the sector
  • St John Ambulance to support the NHS
  • support victims charities, including domestic abuse charities, with the increase in demand for their services during lockdown
  • support charities for vulnerable children, so they can continue delivering services for local authorities
  • support Citizens Advice, so they have more staff available to give advice

Tracey Bleakley, CEO of Hospice UK, said: “Hospice UK is delighted that the Government is providing up to £200 million of funding per quarter to hospices to help support the NHS and respond to the COVID-19 emergency.

“Hospices are on the frontline of providing care and support to almost a quarter of a million vulnerable people every year at the end of their lives. This unprecedented funding recognises the vital role that hospices play in supporting the NHS in its fight against COVID-19, and means hospices across the country can keep providing beds, specialist clinical care and staffing to relieve pressure on the NHS at this critical moment.”

£370 million for local charities

£370 million is being made available to small and medium-sized charities. Smaller charities work at the heart of local communities and are providing lifelines during the pandemic, from essential food and medicine deliveries to financial advice.

In England, part of this funding pot is coming from a grant to the National Lottery Community Fund. The devolved nations are expected to receive £60 million through the charities pot plus an amount worked out using the Barnett formula (a calculation used to make sure the devolved governments get the equivalent amount when money is spent on things like education and healthcare in England).

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£20 million government pledge for The Big Night In

The BBC’s Big Night In is scheduled to air on Thursday 23 April 2020 at 7pm. According to gov.uk, the government will fund-match the amount donated by the public, starting with at least £20 million set aside for the National Emergencies Trust appeal.

When will the funding be available?

Government departments are currently working to prioritise which charities will receive funding first, and are developing the application process for the National Lottery Community Fund. Both are expected to be ready ‘in the coming weeks’, according to gov.uk.

Other support for charities during the pandemic

Charities can also defer paying their VAT bills, pay no business rates for their shops next year, and furlough staff, where possible, while the government pays 80 per cent of their wages. You can read more about this support in our article on coronavirus support for small businesses.

Matt Hancock, Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, said: “The entire charity sector has stepped up as part of our national effort to tackle coronavirus – from helping our NHS heroes to ensuring the most vulnerable among us are cared for properly.”

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