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Finances and Funding during the coronavirus crisis

You can find a range of information, tips and links on this page covering finance and funding during the coronavirus health crisis. We will be regularly updating the page – scroll down for further details and more updates. 

You can find further information on our HR partners Clover HR’s website which has a dedicated Covid–19 section. Clover HR have been providing free advice and support to Irish in Britain members and running webinars for them during the lockdown. 

Government employment support – Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme

Since the first lockdown in March 2020, the Government created the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme – or ‘furlough’ scheme – which allows employers (including charities) to access support to continue paying part of their employees’ salary for those who would otherwise be laid off during the crisis. HMRC reimburse 80% of designated workers (referred to as ‘furloughed workers’) wage costs, up to a cap of £2,500 per month. 

The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme has been extended until April 2021. Payments will return to up to 80% of salary, capped at £2,500. Flexible furlough is available, but National Insurance and pension payments will not be included. Claims for December 2020 must be made by 14 January 2021. 

Claims must be made online here.

Employers can make claims through the online Coronavirus Statutory Sick Pay Rebate Scheme. This scheme allows small and medium–sized employers, with fewer than 250 employees, to apply to HMRC to recover the costs of paying coronavirus–related SSP. Employers can claim back up to 2 weeks of SSP. 

Grant funding bodies

The Chancellor announced £750m for charities on 7 April with £350m going towards smaller charities – some of this will be distributed by The National Lottery Community Fund. £60m is for Scotland and Wales. £360m is going towards charities providing frontline services. 

  • The National Lottery’s Reaching Communities fund is offering grants of £10,000–£500,000 for up to five years. This is a fantastic opportunity for community based projects. 
  • Charities can apply for grants from the National Emergency Trust (NET) through their local community foundation – find out where yours is here
  • Arts Council England’s Cultural Recovery Fund is now open for a second round, find out more here.
  • The Local Connections Fund, with funding from the government and the National Lottery is making £4 million in small grants (up to £2,500) available for projects that tackle loneliness during the pandemic. 
  • Another government loneliness fund has £7.5 million available in conjunction with Arts Council England. 
  • The Frontline Network has made emergency funds available to fight homelessness during the crisis. They are accepting applications from paid frontline workers who provide support to those experiencing homelessness. 
  • The Connected Communities fund is making grants up to £10,000 available for London–based community groups and charities who are working against poverty and inequality. Eligible charities must have an annual turnover of £100,000 or less. 
  • GrantsOnline have compiled a very useful list of funding opportunities during the crisis here.

Charity finance advice 

Detailed advice on charity finances from the NCVO

The implications of Covid–19 will create a financial crunch and charities are encouraged to do now do what they can to prepare for this. These are a few things you may want to consider.

  • Focus on cash flow management.
  • Know what your fixed costs are and when you will need to pay them.
  • Delay committing to any expenditure that you can.
  • Chase all outstanding debts.
  • Invoice for all services already delivered and then ensure that these invoices are paid.
  • If you are receiving funding, submit any required reports on time to make sure that you receive future instalments on time.
  • Talk to your bank manager and see if they will offer you an overdraft facility (even if you don’t need one right now).
  • If you have loan repayments the lender may be willing to delay the capital repayment.
  • Implement a recruitment freeze on all vacant posts.
  • The Charity Finance Group has compiled a guide for charity finance professionals which will be updated with new information and advice as the crisis unfolds.

More funding updates

The National Lottery Community Fund has announced its priorities for the next six months in light of the coronavirus crisis. 

The Institute for Fundraising has developed advice for fundraisers.

The Charity Commission has said that it will take a pragmatic approach to regulation during this period.  

At the moment, charities that are hit financially by coronavirus will only be able to apply for government business loans if more than half their income comes from trading activity. See more here. 

Advice for small businesses

You may wish to consult Ramon Lee Accountants advice on emergency measure for individuals and businesses, many of which are applicable to charities. Some questions to ask yourself are

  • Is the business able to trade on a day to day basis without concerns?
  • Do you have confidence that the business can return to these levels once we are through this situation?
  • Is any decline in trade usual for this time of year or a sharp drop off i.e. the public advised to avoid pubs?
  • Are your suppliers experiencing the same, what are their pressures?
  • What is your cash position – how long will the available money last in terms of overheads – can I afford to pay the staff this month but not next?
  • Are certain areas of the business more robust?
  • Consider your staff options – do staff contracts allow for short or revised working terms, can you ask staff to use holiday, can they take unpaid holiday
  • How will the government support help me through this process?
  • What conversations should I be having NOW – staff, landlord, suppliers, HMRC, bank
  • How long ahead should I plan?

You can read more on their website.


Go to our dedicated online section for all our resources and information on supporting our community through the coronavirus health crisis.