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

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.

Disabled People’s Organisations (DPOs) COVID-19 Emergency Fund

The £1.5m fund, provided by The National Emergency Trust, will support grassroots Disabled People’s Organisations across the UK to respond to the COVID-19 needs of Disabled people. The minimum you can apply for is £1,000 and the maximum is £25,000.

They are looking to fund COVID-19 related work in the following broad three areas:

  • Independent living
  • Isolation
  • Income

Any DPO in the UK can apply if a majority of your governing body (greater than 51%) or management committee are made up of Disabled people and you have a constitution (you do not need to be a registered charity).

Full details can be found on the Disability Wales website.

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.

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

True Colours Trust – Covid-19 support

Grants of up to £5,000 to help smaller organisations to adapt and continue to deliver their vital services in light of Covid-19. This may include normal running costs of programmes which are resuming, or adaptations to existing services to allow them to take place safely.

Proposals for the following areas of work will be considered, in no particular order:

  • Activities for disabled children, children with life limiting conditions and their families
  • Adaptations to services including PPE, digital service provision and physical changes to spaces to be Covid-19 compliant.
  • Siblings’ projects
  • Bereavement Support
  • Respite which supports the whole family
  • Support for children/families who are shielding or unable to return to school
  • Specialised play equipment / access to play and leisure

Trustees will prioritise applications from organisations:

  • Which support a high proportion of children and families from BAME communities
  • Which operate in areas of high deprivation or areas which are experiencing a second lockdown
  • Whose annual income in 2019/20 was under £350,000

Full details of the funding on offer can be found here.

LGBT+ Futures Fund

The National Emergencies Trust Fund is offering grants of up to £15,000 to support the diverse organisations that make up the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Trans + (LGBT+) Sector.

The funding is available to address the additional needs of LGBT+ people and communities most adversely impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic and to support and strengthen LGBT+ organisations that have been impacted.

Head to the NET website to find out more.

Metro’s LGBTQ+ COVID-19 Fund

Grants of between £500 – £15,000 are on offer to LGBTQ+ community-led organisations and groups across the UK, to support their vital role in supporting LGBTQ+ communities through the coronavirus pandemic and beyond.

Applications are open to groups and organisations with an annual turnover under £100,000. Organisations must also be led by LGBTQ+ staff or volunteers (if you are a group within a larger organisation, then the staff/volunteers leading on this proposed project should identify as LGBTQ+).

Full details can be found on the Metro Charity website.

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.

*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.

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.

*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

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:

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.

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

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

Salford CVS COVID-19 response funds

Salford CVS have a number of grants schemes available to Salford-based VCSE organisations for projects addressing the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Funding includes:

  • Wellbeing Fund – grants of up to £1,000 to improve the health and wellbeing projects for the benefit of Salford residents
  • Covid-19 BAME Response Fund – awarding grants of up to £10,000 for Salford-based BAME-led VCSE organisations
  • Covid-19 Disability Response Fund – funding of up to £10,000 for Salford-based disabled-people-led or disability-focused VCSE organisations
  • Covid-19 Recovery Fund – grants of up to £20,000 for Salford-based VCSE organisations who are supporting beneficiaries most affected by Covid-19

Find out more here.

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.

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

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

Gloucestershire Coronavirus Quick Response Programme

‘Quick Response’ grants of up to £5,000 are available to small not-for-profit organisations/community groups with charitable aims that are based and working in Gloucestershire.

A Quick Response grant can support charitable and community activities, projects and services that aim to improve the lives of local people affected by coronavirus, addressing specific needs and disadvantages within their communities. 

We are prioritising activities supporting work with people and/or communities most vulnerable to the impact of the Covid-19 crisis: Black, Asian & Minority Ethnic (BAME) Communities, Young people, Disabled people, People in poverty or on low incomes, People suffering from physical and/or mental health issues, Older people.

More details can be found on the on the Gloucestershire Community Foundation website.

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.


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 18th September 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.