Charities across the UK will receive a £750 million package of support to ensure they can continue their vital work during the coronavirus outbreak, Chancellor Rishi Sunak announced today.
Tens of thousands of charities providing vital services will benefit from direct cash grants to ensure they can meet increased demand as a result of the virus as well as continuing their day-to-day activities supporting those in need.
As part of a UK-wide package of support, £360 million will be directly allocated by government departments to charities providing key services and supporting vulnerable people during the crisis.
As well as this, £370 million for small and medium-sized charities, including through a grant to the National Lottery Community Fund for those in England, will support those organisations at the heart of local communities which are making a big difference during the outbreak, including those delivering food, essential medicines and providing financial advice.
The Chancellor also announced the Government will match fund whatever the public decides to donate to the BBC’s Big Night In charity appeal on 23 April, starting with a contribution of at least £20 million to the National Emergencies Trust appeal.
Today’s announcement builds on previous announcements by the Chancellor to support charities and businesses, including deferring their VAT bills, paying no business rates for their shops next year, and furloughing staff where possible with the Government paying 80% of their wages.
Sunak said: Our charities are playing a crucial role in the national fight against coronavirus, supporting those who are most in need.
It’s right we do everything we can to help the sector during this difficult time, which is why we have announced this unprecedented £750 million package of extra funding.
This will ensure our key charities can continue to deliver the services that millions of people up and down the country rely on.
Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden said: Our brilliant charities are already playing a crucial role in our national effort to fight coronavirus – backed up by an army of volunteers. We’re determined to support them and match the generosity being shown by the British people. This package will make sure those on the front line are able to reach people who need help most, support communities and take pressure off our NHS.
Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, Matt Hancock said: The entire charity sector has stepped up as part of our national effort to tackle coronavirus – from helping our NHS heroes to ensuring the most vulnerable among us are cared for properly.
Hospices have suffered a huge challenge to their funding due to the outbreak of coronavirus but at the same time continued to play a vital role in delivering compassionate, quality end-of-life care for many people. I am delighted that this cash boost will provide further financial stability and support them to increase capacity of NHS Services and provide stability as we manage our response to coronavirus.
It’s vitally important we all continue to support our fantastic and hardworking hospices and their staff during this unprecedented time, and the whole country is grateful for the incredible work they do.
Charities providing vital services and helping vulnerable people through the current crisis will benefit from the £360 million allocated by government departments. These will include:
- hospices to help increase capacity and give stability to the sector
- St Johns Ambulance to support the NHS
- victims charities, including domestic abuse, to help with potential increase in demand for charities providing these services
- vulnerable children charities, so they can continue delivering services on behalf of local authorities
- Citizens Advice to increase the number of staff providing advice during this difficult time.
Departments will now work at pace to identify priority recipients, with the aim for charities to receive money in the coming weeks. The application system for the National Lottery Community Fund grant pot is expected to be operational within a similar period of time.
Where charitable services are devolved the UK Government has applied the Barnett formula in the normal way. We expect the devolved administrations to receive £60 million through the charities pot, and further significant Barnett allocations, dependent on the final proposals funded, through the direct grant pot. We encourage the devolved administrations to use this funding to support charities.
Speaking about the announcement, Charlotte Moore, Director of BBC Content said: “The Big Night In promises to be a fantastic evening of entertainment and we welcome this support. We want to help as many people as possible through this crisis. These funds will be shared by the huge number of smaller charities and projects who are making a vital difference to so many communities up and down the country.”
Tracey Bleakley, CEO from national charity Hospice UK, said: Hospice UK is delighted that the Government is providing up to £200 million of funding per quarter to hospices to help support the NHS and respond to the COVID-19 emergency.
Hospices are on the frontline of providing care and support to almost a quarter of a million vulnerable people every year at the end of their lives. This unprecedented funding recognises the vital role that hospices play in supporting the NHS in its fight against COVID-19, and means hospices across the country can keep providing beds, specialist clinical care and staffing to relieve pressure on the NHS at this critical moment.
Hospices depend on the generosity of their local communities to care for people and families affected by terminal illness. This incredible government support is very welcome but it’s still important that people continue to support their local hospice.
Hospice UK is working with the NHS to disburse this much-needed funding as soon as possible so we can continue to protect the most vulnerable people in our country during this national emergency.
Ruth Davison, Chief Executive of Comic Relief, added her thanks to the chancellor saying: “The incredible support for the Big Night In means we will be able to provide vital funding to smaller charities across the UK who are working around the clock to help keep people fed, safe and supported throughout the pandemic.”