Charities and voluntary organisations in Wales are facing challenging and uncertain times during the current COVID-19 outbreak.
We’ve seen an amazing response by people wanting to volunteer and by voluntary organisations across Wales. They are doing vital work, giving people and communities the support they need in the face of this crisis – and for the longer term.
Sadly, as demand soars for their services, many voluntary organisations are under threat due to income streams drying up across the board. Fundraising is severely reduced as many marathons, charity concerts, and bake sales have been cancelled. Other income generators such as community centres, retail and hospitality services are also no longer possible.
Since April 2020 the Third sector resilience fund for Wales has been providing support to help organisations through the pandemic, but as time moves on it is appropriate for this to enter a new phase. The fund will expand its range of support, whilst still making available survival funding for those who need it. To assist recovery and to help organisations become more truly resilient for the future we are adding two new strands.
WHAT DOES THE FUND INCLUDE?
The fund is part of the £24m of support announced by Welsh Government and will involve a blend of 75% grant and 25% initially interest free loan to be available to voluntary sector organisations towards the costs of ongoing revenue expenditure, including salaries. Organisations can apply for up to £100,000.
The fund is split into three strands; Survive, Improve and Diversify.
This remains very much in line with the first phase of the Third sector resilience fund for Wales, recognising that for some the impact of COVID19 was late to take effect or become fully apparent. This strand is designed to support those voluntary sector organisations that need financial support to survive the current crisis primarily because of an unprecedented fall in their fundraising and donation income. We realise that many organisations will have a mix of fundraising/donation income and trading income.
We understand that the financial support available to organisations impacted by COVID-19 is continually changing. However, if your financial situation is predominately because of a loss in trading income we will expect you to have considered your eligibility for the grant support made available by Welsh Government (https://gov.wales/coronavirus-covid-19-support-businesses) and whether it is a better fit than this funding. There may also be certain sector specific funds available to you e.g. Arts Council of Wales, Sport Wales, etc. However, if there is a reason why you can’t access this support as a voluntary sector organisation then we may still be able to support you.
It is not about replacing lost income – it is about providing sufficient funds to cover essential expenditure not covered by any residual income or by other supportive interventions. ‘The funding of last resort’
This strand is aimed at organisations looking to improve the way they undertake certain existing functions.
Examples could be: –
- Establishing or expanding alternative delivery models for existing services
- Development of a stronger fund raising strategy with dedicated personnel
- Improving on line presence, including enhanced ability to make sales, take bookings or accept donations
- Development of a strong impact recording and reporting process
Organisations applying to the Improve stand will be expected to undertake a self-check of their operations and be able to demonstrate where improvement can be made.
Aimed at organisations looking to invest in new income generative activity to spread the risk from any future problems, for example further lockdowns.
Resilience funding has been the key driver of support for the sector in 2020 which has led to a reduction in the support for organisations to realise plans for innovative income generating activity.
Examples could be: –
- Expansion of services into a new geographical area
- New income generative activities
- Formation of trading subsidiary to expand delivery
This strand aims to provide patient capital to give two years for the new activity to become cash generating and self-sustaining.
PRINCIPLES OF THE FUND
- This is a Wales-wide support fund for those affected by COVID19 and specifically tailored for the voluntary sector, to complement the various other schemes already announced here and UK-wide
- Funding is for activity that will leave a lasting legacy within the organisation and is not simply to support a period of delivery. Whilst not necessarily immediate, it should enable an organisation to grow its income over time and become more resilient for the future. It should be remembered that part of the funding is repayable so applicants should treat it as an investment in their business, which should therefore yield an ongoing return
- It is not intended to duplicate provision offered elsewhere and applicants will be required to confirm that there is no ‘double funding’ taking place
- The fund is part of the £24m of support announced by Welsh Government
- Defrayment of funds will be in two phases: –
- 80% upfront
- 20% on submission of monitoring information
- Of the total award, 75% is grant and 25% repayable patient capital
- Money to be spent over a maximum period of 12 months according to the needs of the applicant as outlined in their application. We will accept proposals that include a tapering off in support over a prolonged period, using the assumption that income levels will recover in a gradual fashion rather than overnight
- Maximum award £100,000 per organisation (or group where there is a subsidiary)
- Unlike phase 1, applications from unincorporated bodies are welcome, providing that progress to incorporation is an early part of their plans
- No repayments or interest charged for 24 months on the repayable portion
- Repayments on the 25% repayable patient capital: –
- commences in month twenty-five after the initial defrayment date
- repayment schedule set in agreement with organisations based on affordability within cash flow
- maximum term 10 years upon commencement of repayments
- interest rate of 3% (accrues from month twenty-five). Calculated daily on outstanding balance
- In the event of the award not being defrayed in full, the amount to be repaid will be 25% of the funds defrayed
- Beneficiaries will be asked to provide an updated income and expenditure template at the end of the first quarter after first tranche of funding as well as evidence of progress towards the goals identified in their proposal. Provision of that will be a pre-condition for release of second tranche
- Same requirement at the end of the funding period and will be a condition for fulfilment of the conditions of the grant
- Reporting thereafter against agreed indicators
The fund is very much open to organisations looking to collaborate or work in partnership with other organisations to apply under the Improve and Diversify strands. We will be strongly supportive of such proposals
Examples could be:
- Organisations looking to merge back office functions
- Organisations looking to share a fundraiser or other resources
- A joint venture on a new trading activity
- Formal merger
To ensure that the collaboration or partnership working is appropriate for the fund please include the information in your Eligibility Questionnaire.
For social enterprises looking to collaborate Social Business Wales run by the Wales Co-operative Centre may be able to provide advice on finding other likeminded social enterprises.
SOCIAL COMMUNITY COMMITMENT
Successful applicants will be required to sign up to a Social Community Commitment. This will be a combination of a commitment to:
- deliver on a range of agreed indicators covering jobs, volunteers and service users / beneficiaries
- achieve a range of outcomes determined by you and relevant to your organisation linked to the Well-being of Future Generations Act
- achieve or retain recognised accreditation such as (but not limited to) the following:
- Trusted Charity Mark – Level 1
- Trusted Charity Mark – Level 2
- National Living Wage Employer
- Investing in Volunteers
- Institute of Fundraising Qualification for staff
- Green Dragon
- Welsh Language Standards
- Social Enterprise Academy completion by staff
- Investors in people
- FairPlay Employer – Chwarae Teg
- On-line via WCVA’s MAP portal
- Two-part process:
- Eligibility Questionnaire allowing an organisation to express an interest in the fund covering basic organisation data and initial information on the proposal
- Full application covering more detailed information
- Applications will need to have been submitted, reviewed, approved and the first tranche of funds paid by 31 March 2021 so organisations are encouraged to apply leaving plenty of time for this process to be completed
- Application questions cover: –
- Governance issues including brief skills profiles of board/trustees and key staff
- Finances – question to explain income streams in normal times
- Request for details of other actions taken to reduce costs and other funding sources accessed
- Statement about use of cash and/or reserves to support cash flow now
- Commentary requested re how you see income streams returning
- Improve & Diversify – commentary requested on how you see new income streams being created or existing ones improving as a result of the funded activity
- No requirement to submit policies or have documents signed by board members
- Supporting information required will be: –
- Last full accounts
- Most recent management accounts or income/expenditure summary (we may accept six months bank statements for smaller organisations)
- Cashflow forecast
- Governing document
- Recent bank statement
- Procurement policy / Financial Procedures for those applying for the Improve and Diversify strands of the Fund
SCORING AND FUNDING ALLOCATION
- An expression of interest will be required initially, outlining your plans, their impact and identifying a budget for them.
- Once this has been agreed, in the second stage, applications will be assessed in three sections – governance, historic finances and proposal for spend. A minimum score must be achieved in each section to qualify for an award
- We recognise the need to get funding released quickly, but there is a need to balance this with ensuring that the money reaches all parts of Wales and to organisations large and small. We also want to achieve a fair spread across organisations addressing a broad spectrum of societal needs
- To meet the need for speed of defrayment, the fund will be allocated on a ‘first come, first served’ basis. However, we reserve the right to move from a first come first served basis to a more selective process depending on demand and funds remaining.
- If you have queries in the first instance please email email@example.com rather than telephone WCVA – we anticipate a high volume of demand and this will enable us to deal with queries in the most efficient manner
- To find out if you are eligible please click HERE
MORE ON FUNDING AND COVID-19
- Voluntary Services Emergency Fund – A new grant scheme designed for delivery in a fast and robust way to enable the voluntary sector to continue and expand their work, especially with volunteers
- How to claim for wage costs through the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme
- funding.cymru – the latest funds supporting the sector with the effects of coronavirus
- WCVA Emergency fast-track loans – for voluntary sector organisations in Wales to help see them through the effects of coronavirus and recent flooding
- A list of various funders’ responses to the virus
- Coronavirus: advice for corporate fundraisers (English only)
- Information for fundraisers about coronavirus (English only)