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Coronavirus funding: which should I apply for?

Published: 24/04/20 | Categories: Author: Alison Pritchard

Alison Pritchard, Sustainable Funding Manager at WCVA, urges voluntary organisations to think strategically about which COVID-19 emergency fund is most appropriate for them.

On 30 March, Welsh Government announced a support package worth £500m for businesses and charities. The package is designed to help businesses and charities who have suffered a drastic loss of trading income due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

This announcement came after the Welsh Government has already announced £24m in funding specifically for the voluntary sector. WCVA has been working together with the Welsh Government, Community Foundation Wales, National Lottery Community Fund and other partners to ensure the package of funding being made available will make a bigger difference to organisations from across spectrum of the voluntary sector in Wales.

But, what does all this mean practically for charities, and who should apply for what?

Think Strategically

This funding means that there are now several options available to organisations looking for financial support to get them through the next few months. As with all funding/fundraising decisions, we encourage you to think strategically to make the best use of these funds. Don’t just apply to the one that looks easiest to apply to. Think through:

  • What reserves you have available and if this reduces the amount of funding you need to apply for. For example, the Third Sector Resilience Fund expects that organisations are making appropriate use of their reserves before applying to the fund. This is the exact type of situation reserves are for; this is that rainy day.
  • Which fund would be most beneficial; look at the guidance for both funds and work out which will provide you with the best financial support.
  • Your sources of income; are you mainly a fundraising organisation or a trading organisation?
  • Whether the activity you are looking to fund is new, and in direct response to the Covid-19 crisis, or are you just looking to continue normal service provision?
  • What time frame are you looking to fund; would additional funding support be of more use now or would it be better in the future when you will be looking to re-establish services and activities?
  • What support your current funders are offering. Do they have a dedicated Covid-19 response fund and is it specifically for existing grant holders? You can check the responses of some of the main funders in Wales on our summary here. Contact your funders directly (we suggest by email) to discuss how they may be able to help you.
  • Have you made use of other Government support schemes where possible? Are you able to furlough any members of staff?

Once you have established your funding priorities, make sure to read through the information and application guidelines/FAQs for each fund to find the one that best meets your needs and circumstances. Below are the main publicly funded schemes available to Welsh not-for-profit organisations:

Voluntary Services Emergency Fund (WCVA) – for organisations of any size

This fund’s aim is to support not-for-profit organisations (including unincorporated constituted groups) in Wales to maintain or increase voluntary services for vulnerable individuals and communities affected by the Coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic.

Grants will be made between £10,000 and £100,000 for revenue or smaller capital expenditure (including PPE).

Applications must be made through WCVA’s MAP portal. Decisions will be made on a rolling basis by a grant panel.

There is no income threshold related to this grant.

Further details, guidance and FAQs can be found on the WCVA website: https://wcva.cymru/funding/volunteering-wales-grants-scheme/

The Economic Resilience Fund (Welsh Government) – for organisations of varying size whose primary income is from trading

The fund’s main aim is to support organisations not benefitting from the support schemes already announced by the UK Government, including the Job Retention Scheme and the Self-Employed Income Support Scheme, which will guarantee 80% of people’s wages and income.

Charities and not-for-profit organisations whose primary sources of income are from trading (including commissioned work, tenders and contracts) and, for example, are unable to furlough staff due to continuing service delivery should apply for a grant under this scheme.

This fund will provide:

Grants of £10,000 for micro-organisations employing up to nine people.

Grants of up to £100,000 for small and medium sized organisations with between 10 and 249 employees.

Support for larger Welsh organisations, which are of critical social or economic importance to Wales.

Full eligibility criteria together with details on how to apply for the Economic Resilience fund will be shared by Business Wales as soon as further information becomes available – https://businesswales.gov.wales/financial-support-and-grants.

Third Sector Resilience Fund (WCVA) – for organisations of varying size whose primary income is from fundraising

This fund 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.

Organisations can apply for up to £75,000. Support provided will be a blend of grant and loan: 75% grant and 25% loan (interest free and non-repayable for an initial period of 12 months).

An additional Furlough Wages Bridging Loan is also available; up to £25,000 in additional to the £75,000 from the Third Sector Resilience Fund. This will be 100% repayable on an organsiations receipt of payment from the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme and is designed to support cashflow, not replace the UK scheme. The Furlough Wages Bridging Loan is also available to trading organisations.

Applications must be made through WCVA’s MAP portal. Decisions will be made on a rolling basis by a grant panel.

To meet the need for speed of defrayment, the first £5m will be allocated on a ‘first come, first served’ basis. In the event of the fund being oversubscribed, priority will be given to applicants from areas of Wales and parts of the sector under-represented in the first tranche.

There is no income threshold related to this grant or loan scheme.

Wales Coronavirus Resilience Fund (Community Foundation Wales) – for small organisations and community groups

This fund has been established to assist groups and organisations that are adapting their services and support to individuals and families, whether singly or collectively, affected by the Coronavirus pandemic.

  • Grants of between £500 and £2,000 are available for groups with an annual income of up to £200,000
  • Grants of up to £5,000 are available for groups with an annual income of between £201,000 and £500,000
  • Charities, constituted community groups, social enterprises and community/town councils running activities to support the community through the impact of the Coronavirus pandemic in Wales are eligible to apply.

Application criteria and the application form can be found on the Community Foundation Wales website.

National Lottery Awards for All (National Lottery Community Fund) – for organisations of any size

Awards for All is a quick way to apply for smaller amounts of funding between £300 and £10,000. Until September 2020, the National Lottery Community Fund will be prioritising applications that are COVID-19 related. This means we will prioritise applications from:

  • Organisations supporting people who are at high risk from COVID-19
  • Organisations supporting communities most likely to face increased demand and challenges as a direct result of measures to prevent the result of COVID-19, as highlighted through our stakeholder engagement and external analysis
  • Organisations with high potential to support communities with the direct and indirect impact of COVID-19

Applications are accepted from all not-for-profit organisations including schools and town/community councils.

Applications can be made at any time via the normal Awards for All webpages.

People and Places (Medium) (National Lottery Community Fund) – for organisations of any size

People and Places (medium) will fund capital and revenue community projects from £10,001 to £100,000. 

All the funding decisions NLCF make until September 2020 will prioritise addressing the current crisis. This means we will prioritise applications from:

  • Organisations supporting people who are at high risk from COVID-19
  • Organisations supporting communities most likely to face increased demand and challenges as a direct result of measures to prevent the result of COVID-19
  • Organisations with high potential to support communities with the direct and indirect impact of COVID-19

The NLCF will also consider how they can support such organisations to respond to any acute financial difficulties they might face as a result of the crisis.

Applications can be made at any time via the normal People and Places webpages.

People and Places (National Lottery Community Fund) – for organisations of any size

People and Places (large) will fund capital and revenue community projects from £100,001 to £500,000. 

All the funding decisions NLCF make until September 2020 will prioritise addressing the current crisis. This means we will prioritise applications from:

  • Organisations supporting people who are at high risk from COVID-19
  • Organisations supporting communities most likely to face increased demand and challenges as a direct result of measures to prevent the result of COVID-19
  • Organisations with high potential to support communities with the direct and indirect impact of COVID-19

The NLCF will also consider how they can support such organisations to respond to any acute financial difficulties they might face as a result of the crisis.

Applications can be made at any time via the normal People and Places webpages.

Grant Variations (The National Lottery Community Fund) –  for existing NLCF Grant holders with a grant in excess of £10,000 

Existing grant holders can apply for additional funding to cover costs until 30 September 2020. In most cases, top-ups should not be more than 105 of the original award.

Top ups will pay for:

  • Activities specifically geared to supporting communities through this crisis
  • Helping organisations overcome any financial difficulties caused by COVID-19

As with the funds mentioned above, priority will be given to organisations addressing the Covid 19 crisis.

Other sources

Over a dozen funds have been made available to support organisations in Wales through this difficult time. They are list on a dedicated Coronavirus Latest page on Funding Wales.