New funding available to communities tackling COVID-19


The whole Semble team has been blown away by the community action taking place in response to COVID-19. In the last week we have heard countless stories of communities organising and working to help keep each other safe and look after vulnerable people being most affected. If you want to see what’s happening near you and find out how you can get involved, check out our Community Action Response blog or contact your local Acorn or Mutual Aid coronavirus response group.

Funders have 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 will keep this list up-to-date but if you are aware of any others please let us know.

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.

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.

Martin Lewis pledges to support small-charity coronavirus poverty relief

Martin Lewis, via his charity fund, has made £1 million available to “provide grants of £5,000 to £20,000 to small registered charities, or local arms of bigger charities, across the UK – to help with specific UK coronavirus-related poverty relief projects.

For more information and to apply, visit Martin Lewis’ blog.

London Community Response Fund

A group of funders are working together to support the capital’s community organisations responding to coronavirus.

An initial funding pot is now open offering grants of up to £5,000 to support charitable activities helping people living in London or one or more of London’s 33 local authority areas.

This first wave of funding is for urgent needs so that you can cover costs that you are incurring right now to support communities affected by the COVID-19 outbreak and the move to social distancing, with a focus on food and essentials… This funding is intended to enable you to cover these essentials and urgent costs so that you can carry on providing support to Londoners.

A second round of funding will follow in April offering larger grants for “service transformation costs, and ongoing work to support communities. We are also exploring funding for some of the longer-term needs of communities and the sector affected by the crisis.

Applying for the first round of funding will not stop you from applying for the second.

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

Neighbourly Community Fund

Neighbourly are launching a series of micro-grants of up to £400, to support good causes that are helping communities affected by the new Coronavirus outbreak. Grants will be awarded to existing members of Neighbourly in UK and Ireland whose work will involve supporting members of the community suffering economically, socially or from ill health as a result of the outbreak.

This may include, but not be limited to, elderly people, those on low incomes and people at risk of food insecurity. Grants are unrestricted and can go towards food provision, emergency supplies, practical support, running costs, transport and other essentials.

For more information and to apply: Neighbourly community Fund

The Salford Crisis Fund – Covid 19

The Salford Crisis Fund is a responsive fund offering grants of up to £500 to help address immediate need arising from the coronavirus crisis. All applications must explain how you will support the health and wellbeing of local people affected by this crisis. This grant is funded by NHS Salford CCG.
To apply, organisations must be members of Salford CVs (free registration)

Examples of what can be funded:
-Provision of food and household items to vulnerable groups
-Phone-based and other practical support to vulnerable groups / self-isolated households
-Emotional wellbeing & mental health support to those in need

For more information and to apply visit The Salford CVS 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.

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
  • heleople 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

COVID-19 Emergency Fund for the Sight Loss Sector

Grants will be available of up to £10,000 pounds or the equivalent of two months’ running costs (whichever is less) for use over the next six months.

The monies can be used either to cover the general running costs of the charity in the face of cashflow issues directly caused by the crisis, or to fund a project that will support the blind and partially sighted community through these difficult times. For more information and to apply visit the TPT’s website.

Northumbria Police and Crime Commissioner – Coronavirus Response Fund

In response to coronavirus the Northumbria Police and Crime Commissioner has brought forward their annual community fund to support charities and community groups in Northumberland and Tyne & Wear.

Funding of up to £5,000 is available to assist projects which “support victims, improve people’s lives to prevent crime (support access to services for those in need of safeguarding or reduce reoffending) and build community confidence.

Full details can be found on the Northumbria Police and Crime Commissioner’s 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.

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 6th April 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.

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