Funding available to community projects responding to coronavirus


The Semble team has been blown away by the community action taking place in response to COVID-19. We have heard countless stories of communities organising and working to help keep each other safe and look after vulnerable people being most affected.

Grant makers acted quickly to respond to the public health crisis facing us and its social and economic consequences. Whilst a lot of funders have closed their offices, their administrators and trustees continue to work from home. Many of them have put measures in place to support and reassure their grant recipients. Over 150 organisations signed a COVID-19 funder statement, in which they pledged to allow funded groups to adapt their activities, to discuss changing dates and deadlines, to be financially flexible and to continue to listen to the needs of communities.

For more details on how your funders have reacted, we encourage you to check their websites or contact them directly.

Funding available for communities responding to COVID-19

There are a number of new funding pots which have been set up to support the amazing community groups who are responding to coronavirus. In this blog we highlight a few that may be of use to the Semble community. We are updating this list regularly to keep it up-to-date. If you’re aware of any opportunities we don’t yet have listed please let us know.

National funding available

The National Emergencies Trust Coronavirus Appeal

The National Emergencies Trust has begun to raise money to support community groups. This money will be aimed at local charities and grassroots organisations that can provide vital support to people in the quickest way possible. Their guidelines state:

Depending on monies raised, priority will be given in the first instance to:

  • Groups that support the ongoing needs of vulnerable people to ensure that their health and wellbeing is maintained
  • Groups and activities that support vulnerable people self-isolating (the elderly, people with pre-existing medical conditions etc)
  • Support for foodbanks and organisations working to combat hardship caused by the pandemic including child hunger
  • Community response coordination
  • Volunteer costs for new and existing organisations responding to the effect of the pandemic
  • Additional costs of working remotely and adapting services delivered in the wider community
  • Additional support as required for emotional support, mental health and bereavement support

Secondarily, and if funds allow:

  • Support to counter the loss of contract income and fundraising for organisations providing support for vulnerable groups

NET anticipates that, at least at first, the distribution of funds to support community groups, charities and other not for profit organisations will be through community foundations.”

Many Community Foundations set up coronavirus funding pots. To find out more details of the funding available in your area, search for your local Community Foundation here.

National Lottery Community Fund – supporting COVID-19 community responses

For the next few months the National Lottery Community Fund are focusing all funding decisions on organisations supporting communities through the COVID-19 pandemic.

The funding on offer ranges from £300 to £100,000.

Find out more by visiting the National Lottery website.

Sport England Community Emergency Fund

Sport England have launched an Emergency Fund to provide grants between £300 and £10,000 to organisations who are helping the nation to stay active but who are struggling financially or facing closure due to coronavirus.

Any organisation delivering community sport and physical activity can apply to our fund if it’s experiencing short term financial hardship or the ceasing of operations due to the impact of coronavirus.

These organisations include: Local sports clubs, voluntary and community sector organisations that deliver or enable sport/physical activity, small charitable trusts that do not qualify for financial help elsewhere and regional organisations or leagues that have already paid out funds for activities that are now cancelled and are not able to claim funds from elsewhere

For more information on the support available visit the Sport England website.

Sport England Tackling Inequalities 

Sport England’s Tackling Inequalities is offering grants of up to £10,000 to community groups and local sports clubs across England to minimise the impact of COVID-19 on activity levels in under-represented groups, ensuring that the physical activity participation inequality gap does not widen. “These groups are people from Lower Socio-Economic Groups, Black, Asian Minority Ethnic Communities, Disabled People and People with Long-Term Health Conditions“.

Application’s can be made through your local Active Partnership organisation, find yours here.

Defra COVID-19 Emergency Surplus Food Grant

The Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs has made £3.25 million of government funding available through the Resource Action Fund administered by WRAP. The fund will support not-for-profit food redistributors to ensure surplus food reaches people in need and to prevent this essential resource from being wasted.

Phase 2 of the scheme provides funding opportunities for small surplus food redistributors and is now open. Grants are available to small not-for-profit (NFP) organisations who can redistribute surplus food from the likes of retailers, wholesalers, and food manufacturers, to people in need or those considered vulnerable.

Full details of the funding and support available can be found on the WRAP website.

Morrisons Foundation – COVID-19 Homeless Support Fund

The Morrisons Foundation have pledged £500,000 to support charities caring for the homeless during the coronavirus outbreak and ensure help gets to those who need it most. Grants of up to £10,000 are available to support:

  • Outreach and support for rough sleepers, including provision of essentials
  • Delivery of services in hostels and shelters
  • Information and advice

To find out more about the fund and to apply, visit the Morrisons Foundation website

Alpkit Foundation – Grassroots Support Now

Grants of up to £500 are available for individuals or organisations serving those affected by coronavirus, across the country. Examples of the work which will be supported include:

  • Being active in your local community to help elderly or vulnerable people
  • Minimising the impact of self-isolation for those in quarantine who need access to food, medicines or social care
  • Supporting foodbanks and increasing the number of meals on wheels deliveries to support the elderly
  • Supporting those who are homeless or in temporary accommodation
  • Bringing adventure indoors and overcoming the obstacles that prevent us benefiting from going outdoors

Find out more by visiting the Alpkit Foundation website

National Survivor User Network COVID-19 Fund

The National Survivor User Network is making grants to support user-led organisations (ULOs) and smaller, unconstituted community groups in England to help with their COVID-19 responses.

Grants of up to £1,000 will be available to support community action, peer support, mutual aid and other activities that will make a direct difference to the lives of people living with mental ill-health, trauma and distress during this Covid-19 period.

Visit the National Survivor User Network website to find out more about the fund.

The Ernest Hecht Charitable Foundation

The Ernest Hecht Charitable Foundation is accepting applications for funding from UK charities who are struggling to survive funding crises during the COVID-19 pandemic, and charities who are seeking funding for future projects/activities.

The foundation is seeking to fund organisations working to support or improve the lives of recipients through art, healthcare, literature, music and theatre.

Grant amounts typically range from £500-£2,000, however the Foundation has given larger amounts.

Full details can be found on the Foundation’s website.

Forces Communities Together programme

Grants of £10,000  are available to UK charities, CICs, Schools and Armed Forces units/bases towards projects helping people from Armed Forces communities who are isolated as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Visit the Covenant Fund website for more information.

Clinks’ COVID-19 response grants

Grants of between £3,000 and £5,000 are available to voluntary sector organisations working within the criminal justice system in England and Wales to support their work during COVID-19.

Full details can be found here.

British Muslim COVID-19 Fund Grant

Fund is to help charities, organisations and voluntary groups in the UK irrespective of faith affected by the impact of Covid-19. Grants from £250 up to £5,000 are available.

Find out more by visiting their website.

ASDA Foundation C-19 Grants

In response to Covid-19, Asda Foundation have developed 2 new grant streams:

  • Hygiene Grant: focused on personal hygiene dignity, supporting residents/patients in facilities, who are struggling and unable to provide their own toiletries either through lack of funds or access to family support. They expect applications from care homes, hospices, hospitals and homeless shelters.
  • Healthy Holiday Grant: designed to support groups that typically would be holding summer holiday activities to ensure children are provided with a hot meal. If social distancing is relaxed before school holidays, then standard (Transforming Communities Improving Lives (TCIL) criteria would apply (Option 1). If social distancing hasn’t relaxed, we would provide grants for groups to deliver provisions to children at home (Option 2).

Grants of up to £500 are available to UK charities, not for profit companies, community interest companies and unincorporated clubs/associations.

More information can be found on the ASDA Foundation website.

Edge Post Covid-19 Revival Fund

The Edge Foundation is offering grants of between £10,000 and £50,000 to address the educational challenges arising from the aftermath of the Covid-19 crisis.

Projects must address at least one of the following issues or challenges arising from the aftermath of the Covid-19 crisis:

  • How professional and vocational education, including apprenticeships, can be delivered and supported by online learning.
  • How to deliver mentoring and support for students and/or apprentices whether studying within educational institutions, in the workplace or remotely
  • How to deliver and develop essential employability skills in young people when relationships with employers and the community may have been disrupted
  • How education, including apprenticeships, could be delivered differently or better following the Covid-19 crisis.

For full details please visit the Foundation’s website.

Charities Aid Foundation’s Coronavirus Emergency Fund*

Organisations in the UK with charitable activities can apply for up to £10,000 to support day to day activities in the current health emergency or your Covid-19 emergency response activities.

You can apply for unrestricted funding for core costs, staffing, volunteer costs, supplies and equipment, communications or other critical charitable areas. You must be able to describe how an emergency grant will improve the situation for your organisation and community.

You can find out more and apply by visiting the CAF website.

*This fund is paused at the time of writing, please keep an eye on their website for details of when it is reopened.

Mind’s Coronavirus Mental Health Response Fund*

Voluntary and community sector organisations have a vital role working alongside our NHS colleagues to support anyone who has a mental health problem.

To help community groups in England continue to provide mental health services or provide additional support, grants of £20,000 or £50,000 are available for projects lasting up to 12 months.

Visit Mind’s website for full details of the fund. 

*This fund is paused at the time of writing, please keep an eye on their website for details of when it is reopened.

Regional funding available

North England

Coalfields COVID-19 Recovery & Resilience Fund

In response to the COVID-19 crisis Coalfields Community Investment Programme is offering grants of up to £10,000 to organisations in the North West, the North East, the Midlands and in Yorkshire.

Priority will be given to organisations that are delivering support services or have significantly adapted their services in order to respond to the current crisis and support vulnerable people.”

Full details of the fund are available on the Coalfields website

Steve Morgan Foundation – COVID-19 Emergency Fund

The Steve Morgan Foundation has pledged up to £1 million a week to charities tackling coronavirus. The fund is available to charities in Merseyside, Cheshire and North Wales who are working to help the people affected by the outbreak.

The Foundation is “pledging up to £1m a week to help cash-strapped charities in the Foundation’s catchment area impacted by the critical phase of coronavirus… Charities in Merseyside, Cheshire and North Wales looking for emergency funding should email in the first instance.To check the criteria visit the Steve Morgan Foundation website.

Manchester Wellbeing Fund – Fast-track grants

Grants of between £250 and £500 are available to organisations in Manchester that are developing new ways of keeping in touch with vulnerable members of the community.

Now more than ever, we need to take care of our own mental health and the mental wellbeing of those around us – and now more than ever community groups are adapting and responding.”

Find out more by visiting the Greater Manchester Mental Health NHS website.

Action Together – COVID-19 Community Response Fund

Grants of up to £200 and of up to £1,000 are available to Oldham, Rochdale, and Tameside & Glossop groups working on a COVID-19 Community Response and meeting either of these priorities:

  • We want to connect local community action and help to co-ordinate efforts in response to the needs of residents. We are especially interested in funding good neighbour, mutual aid and social action projects that directly help people affected by the effects of the virus.
  • We also want to support the community, voluntary, faith and social enterprise sector to respond with new ideas that help, connect or support people through this crisis.

Visit the Action Together website for full details of the funding available. 

Cheshire West and Chester Council’s Community Response Fund

Grants are available for voluntary organisations, community groups, small charities or other not-for-profit-organisations based in Cheshire West and Chester responding to COVID-19.

Grants over £500 will be considered, but most grants will be around £2,000.

You can access the application form by emailing: For more information visit the council’s website

Active Humber – Tackling Inequalities Fund

Active Humber has received £80,000 from Sport England Tackling Inequalities fund to distribute between June and October 2020. Grants of up to £10,000 are available to community groups and local sports clubs based in the Humber to minimise the impact of COVID-19 on activity levels in under-represented groups, ensuring that the physical activity participation inequality gap does not widen. “These groups are people from Lower Socio-Economic Groups, Black, Asian Minority Ethnic Communities, Disabled People and People with Long-Term Health Conditions“.

More information is available via the Active Humber website.

Karbon Homes Community Funding

To help communities during the coronavirus crisis, Karbon Homes are offering grants for initiatives in the North East of England and Yorkshire supporting: socially isolated or elderly people without support networks, those unable to afford essentials, and those unable to access the internet.

They currently have two types of grant available:

  • Small grants up to £1,000 to support grass roots organisations to deliver local initiatives
  • Large grants up to £3,000 to deliver strategic responses to the crisis

Find out more by visiting the Karbon Homes website.

The Midlands

Warwick District Council’s Community Emergency Response Fund (COVID-19)

The fund is providing grants of up to £1,000 to organisations who are supporting the Warwick District community and are experiencing short-term financial hardship or ceasing of operations due to COVID-19, or simply need funding to provide, adapt or increase their services for community benefit during this crisis.

The fund has 3 criteria:

  1. People in need within Warwick District
  2. Financial need
  3. Impact of not receiving funding

Full details can be found on the Warwick District Council’s website.

Lincolnshire County Council’s COVID-19 community fund

Lincolnshire County Council are providing funding for local projects during the coronavirus pandemic.

Each of our 70 county councillors can allocate £3,000 towards initiatives which benefit the community. Councillors can also pool their budgets to jointly fund a specific project.

Find out more about the fund by visiting the Lincolnshire County Council website.

Nottinghamshire County Council – Nottinghamshire COVID-19 Community Fund

Grants of between £200 and £10,000 are available to Nottinghamshire charities and voluntary groups that are delivering essential services to vulnerable residents impacted by COVID-19.

We are particularly prioritising:

  • Projects that directly help vulnerable people affected by the effects of COVID-19, such as by providing access to food, toiletries, necessities, as well as projects to help vulnerable people in isolation.
  • Projects that are already set up and are incurring extra costs as a result of helping vulnerable people

Visit the Nottinghamshire County Council website for more information on the funding available.

West Midlands Police and Crime Commissioner’s Community Initiatives Fund

Community organisations can apply for funding up to £5,000 to help fund work which helps and supports people having to self-isolate under COVID-19 restrictions.

Full details can be found here.

South East England

London Community Response Fund

A group of funders are working together to support London‘s community organisations responding to coronavirus.

Grants of up to £10,000 to enable you to meet the immediate needs of communities, from food and essentials, to equipment and additional short-term staff costs.

For full details of the funding available and to apply visit the London Community Response website.

Brent Cross South Community Fund

The Brent Cross South Community Fund is offering up to £3,000 to help local initiatives around the Brent Cross South area of London responding to coronavirus.

The target area includes Golders Green, West Hendon, and Childs Hill.

More information can be found on our website.

East Suffolk Council’s Hidden Needs Grant Programme

Grants of between £2,500 and £10,000 are available to organisations in East Suffolk to tackle social isolation and loneliness within their community.

We are particularly interested in funding projects that support those identified (pre-Covid-19) as more likely to be socially isolated and lonely, as we know that these individuals, families and communities are likely to be impacted by Covid-19 to a greater extent than the wider population. Projects may also target new sectors of the population who you feel have become more socially isolated as a result of the virus.

For full details visit the the Council’s website.

East Suffolk Council’s Coronavirus (COVID-19) Community Funds

East Suffolk Council is providing grants to community organisations that are working to support vulnerable members of the community.

Grants of between £50 and £2,500 will be available for projects which support local residents who are struggling due to the virus. Larger requests for funding will be considered under exceptional circumstances.”

To find out more, visit the East Suffolk Council website.

South West England

The Exeter Covid-19 community action fund 

The Fund aims to help community groups and organisations as they step up to help those people most affected by the pandemic. It will support groups and organisations with a one-off grant of up to £1,000 to support projects for community led activities that will:

  • meet urgent needs within your community
  • provide supplies for food banks
  • cover transport costs for getting vital supplies to people isolated at home
  • help people to stay connected and informed
  • help people maintain and support mental health and wellbeing

The Exeter COVID-19 Community Action Fund can also be used for a one off grant of up to £3,000 to existing community organisations that are facing a shortfall in income due to cancellations, and require immediate, short term funding to keep essential services running.

Visit Exeter city’s website for more information and to apply.

Bristol City Council Youth Sector Support Fund

Grants of up to £15,000 are available to Bristol based youth sector organisations whose finances are significantly affected by the coronavirus outbreak, so they can maintain contact with young people and continue their work once lock-down restrictions are eased.

The fund is administered by the Quartet Community Foundation, find out more by visiting their website.


Scottish Government – Helping communities affected by COVID-19

The Scottish Government has made a fund of £350 million available to councils, charities, businesses and community groups in response to coronavirus.

The fund is “designed to be flexible, cutting down on red tape to enable them to respond swiftly and according to local need for people impacted economically or through reduced contact with society, including anyone struggling to access food.

For more information on the funding and to apply, visit the Scottish Government website and contact


Welsh Government Voluntary Services Emergency Fund

The Welsh Government has announced funding for voluntary organisations that are providing vital support during the coronavirus crisis. Grants of between £10,000 and £100,000 are available to activities and services helping communities in Wales.

The purpose of this fund is to enable those providing vital support to groups such as: people in isolation, the elderly, carers, people struggling to access food etc so that they can be supported during this time.

Initial funding will be for up to six months; however, this may change depending on how the crisis develops.

The fund will be administered by WCVA. For full details of the fund, visit the WCVA website.

With each day we are facing fresh challenges and there is a lot of work to do. However we are buoyed by the action from communities, charities and businesses who are committed to tackling them.  We will strive to keep you abreast of the latest developments and support available. To stay up to date with the latest community news, including funding opportunities, resources and events, sign up for the Semble Scoop and follow us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.

We hope you all keep safe and well and continue your amazing work to support your communities.

Please note: this blog was posted on 23rd March 2020 and last updated on 17th June 2020. Due to the quickly changing situation be sure to check trusted websites such as Coronavirus (COVID-19): UK Government Response for all necessary advice and information.

You can find out more about the support available to individuals affected by coronavirus here.

About the Author:

Keir is a project officer based in Semble's Bristol office. Most of his time is spent on two of our movement campaigns, Outdoor Classroom Day and Backyard Nature. One of Keir’s main interests is food equality and outside of Semble he runs a small community food waste project.