COVID-19 what help is there for my organisation?

New (09/04/2020) Charity funding (Government)

The Chancellor last night announced a £750m support package for charities. The package was further broken down as:

  • £370m ring fenced for small charities
  • £200m ring fenced for hospices
  • with the remaining suggested to go to organisations working on the front line such as Citizen’s Advice, those supporting vulnerable children and those with disabilities.
  • A commitment to match public donations to the BBCs Big Night In fundraiser scheduled for 23rd April 2020

We await the detail and whilst we welcome this announcement we think it falls short and many organisations remain ineligible for much of the support so far provided. See more.

New (08/04/2020) Barclays Foundation

Barclays have announced a £100m package of Covid-19 support. There are two elements to the package. £50m to be channeled through trusted partners (Charities) working with those most affected by the Covid -19 virus (mainly UK, but also USA and India) and £50m commitment to match Barclays staff donations to registered charities. See more here

New (07/04/2020) Princes Trust and NatWest

The princes Trust and NatWest have launched an Enterprise Relief Fund. The £5million Enterprise Relief Fund will offer grants to 18 to 30-year olds across the UK who are self-employed and/or running their own business. In conjunction with cash grants, the initiative will offer one-to-one support and guidance to anyone who needs it and who may be worried about their future. Read more/ apply.

Emergency and Resilience funding

Charities Aid Foundation – Have launched a £5m grant fund for small charities that are struggling to continue to deliver front line services. Quick decisions and up to £10k emergency funds. Click here 

Cooperatives – The Hive assist programme has been launched to support cooperatives that are strugling during the Covid-19 outbreak. A package of one to one support (online) from Hive approved providers. Must have been trading for two years or more and have a turnover of less than £1m. See more.

Charity Bank have developed a list of resilience and emergency funding re Covid 19 (Coronavirus) and are updating regularly see here  

Pioneers post are collating a list of finance and funding support available, this included government support (as noted below) and trust funds etc. It is an extensive list and being updated regularly. Go to the list

Third Sector Online have reported today (27/03/2020) that Big Society Capital is setting up a £100m emergency loan fund for charities. Information should be available early next week. See the article here or go to Big Society Capital here

Serco Foundation – Coronavirus Community Support Fund
The Serco Foundation’s newly launched Coronavirus Community Support Fund enables any Serco employee to nominate any voluntary organisation that is providing meaningful and valuable support to others during the corona virus pandemic. This might be a food bank offering supplies to isolated people, or a local charity caring for the elderly or disabled. It might be a community or religious centre providing mental and physical care to those in greatest need, or a not-for-profit education provider helping parents while schools are shut. Theresa Comiskey: 07718 193 934 or

Grants Online Have an extensive list of national and regional funding announced to support organisations during the pandemic. This includes funding open now in addition to some expected in the near future (there are some that have been included in other lists, but we think it’s better to link to them all so we do not miss anything. that may help your organisation).  see here.

VCSE support networks

Social Enterprise UK is the national support organisation for social enterprise and they have a range of advice and support available to social enterprises Take a look at their support offer which is evolving as the information and crisis evolves.

Find out more.

The National Council for Voluntary Organisations (NCVO) have extensive guidance for charities with regard to the COVID 19 pandemic. We also note that they have removed the paywall for their Know how Non Profit advice, guidance and fact-sheets which are extremely useful for all charities so do take a look. Link to NCVO

Social Finance – Most (if not all) social finance organisation  have committed to supporting the sector and have said that they will be flexible so if you need support from your social lender e.g. a interest only period or payment holiday contact them direct, they will be as understanding and flexible as possible. See more detail here.

Good Finance have created a Covid 19 resource hub which has a good deal of information and access to support organised into a number of categories – this is being updated regularly. Go to the hub

Business support measures announced

A statutory sick pay relief package for Small to Medium Enterprises. That is two weeks of SSP refunded for all employees who are entitled to SSP and are off work due to Coronavirus, this includes those who are required to self isolate. Your payroll service provider should be able to provide more detail.

Job Retention Scheme (also known as Furlough). Employers are able to agree with employees to furlough them if there is no work available and they would otherwise be laid off. In short you/ your employer will be able to pay you 80% of your salary whilst you are unable to work. The scheme is currently for three months but it may be extended. Detailed guidance can be found here.

A 12-month business rates holiday for all retail, hospitality and leisure businesses in England. This is unlikely to be available to those who are charities or CICs (or other structures) who have been granted 80% mandatory rate relief. There have been calls for support for charities (see below). If you fit into this category you will likely have already received your rates bill from your local authority. You are therefore likely to be re-billed very soon and it is said you do not need to apply. Any issues Contact your local authority.

Small business grant funding of £10,000 for all business in receipt of small business rate relief or rural rate relief. Many social enterprises will fall into this category. See above contact your local authority.

If you qualify for Small Business Rate Relief (or Rural Rate Relief) you will receive a non domestic rates bill from your Local Authority and as a small business should have already applied for Small Business Rate Relief of 100%. That said, the central government is likely to release funds to local authorities for this support package in early April. It is advised (by Gov) that you do not have to apply and your local authority will contact you. However we think it would not hurt to register your qualification ahead of this by contacting your LA. You should have contact details on your rates bill. Contact your local authority.

However, some social enterprises will be sharing accommodation and may not pay rates directly. If you are in shared accommodation and your rent to your landlord includes a service charge or amount to contribute to rates (as opposed to you receiving your own rates bill- see below) you may be able to discuss a reduction with your landlord – not all landlords will qualify for the relief or support announced as it depends on their size and status as above, so do not expect a reduction, we just think it is worth asking. Contact your landlord.

Grant funding of £25,000 for retail, hospitality and leisure businesses with property with a rate-able value between £15,000 and £51,000 (see notes above re structure and charities). We can think of some social enterprises that may well be in these industries and category of rate-able value. Once again it is expected that the local authority will contact you, but any issues. Contact your local authority.

The Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme offering loans of up to £5 million for SMEs through the British Business Bank. This is a government backed loan scheme which should be accessible through banks (April). There is a list of approved banks here. The government will be providing assurances to banks that will cover at least 80% of the loan value so should mean your bank is less stringent in lending. The loan is meant to be short term to deal with issues such as cash flow and therefore all interest is to be paid by the government for 12 months. So if you pay the loan back within that period it should not cost you. Of course if you don’t then interest and capital payment will fall back to the business!. Contact you bank (and possibly social lender see below).

VAT deferral. If you are a social enterprise that trades and charges VAT on your products or services you will be able to defer payment if your payment is due between 20th of March March and and 30th June. This is not a grant and the VAT liability will remain. The deferral scheme is designed to help with cash flow difficulties. You will still need to submit your VAT 100 normally, but the guidance says you don’t pay. Some will pay by Direct Debit so to avoid any issues it may be sensible to cancel your direct debit, although we would expect HMRC to change the date and not call for the Direct Debits during this period.

The HMRC Time To Pay Scheme This is a scheme that has been available for a while, but it is a reminder that if your social enterprise (and those who are self employed) pays taxes then there is the ability to apply for time to pay. It may for example be that a VAT payment could be deferred to help cashflow etc. Contact HMRC.

Find out more.

Self employed on the 26th March the Chancellor announced a support package for those who are self employed, which seem comparable to the support announced for those on PAYE. Essentially the self employed will be provided with up to 80% of their salary (up to a maximum of £2,500 per month) for three months. Those with profits of up to £50,000 are eligible and should be contacted by HMRC. There is quite a long wait through and payments are expected to be made directly to the persons bank account in June. More detail here.

We hope this page is useful please feel free to tweet it – circulate it etc.

The DISE Team.