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£45million of COVID funding to support the most vulnerable communities

The National Lottery Community Fund has today announced it is working alongside five expert partnerships to ensure almost £45million (£44.85million) of National Lottery funding reaches communities most vulnerable to the impact of COVID-19.

The move is part of The National Lottery Community Fund’s COVID-19 emergency response and means it will benefit from the partnerships’ collective expertise and networks, to ensure funding is distributed to even more communities.

The partnerships will focus on supporting organisations that work with those communities that have been disproportionately impacted by COVID-19. This includes BAME and other communities experiencing health inequalities and people experiencing homelessness. There will also be a focus on getting support to social enterprises.

Grants to the sector partnerships range from £5 million up to almost £20 million. The COVID-19 Social Enterprise Support Fund Partnership will use almost £20 million to provide grants to social enterprise organisations that are best-placed to support local, vulnerable communities in response to the COVID-19 crisis.

Partnerships receiving £5 million include The Barrow Cadbury Trust COVID-19 Support Fund for small and medium organisations supporting migrants and refugees and Homeless Link, to support small and medium-sized homelessness charities and help them adapt their service delivery to respond to the crisis.

Dawn Austwick, Chief Executive of The National Lottery Community Fund, said:

“These partnerships will extend the reach of National Lottery funding at a time when communities need it most. They are each experts in their field, which is why we’re delighted to be working alongside them. Their local knowledge, dedication and network of contacts will be critical in supporting the distribution of much-needed funding at a critical time for communities. We’re grateful to them for working with us so closely and of course to National Lottery players for making this emergency response possible.”

Sara Llewellin, Chief Executive, at Barrow Cadbury Trust, said:

“This is a very welcome boost to a part of the sector which is really struggling.  We will make sure every penny is used to support refugees and migrants at this very difficult time when the need is outstripping supply for these vulnerable communities. Ensuring a broad mix of user groups and a wide geographic spread will guide our decision-making, which will also be informed by people with personal experience on the ground. We are immensely grateful to The National Lottery Community Fund who have gone the extra mile to make this happen.”

Speaking on behalf of the COVID-19 Community-led Organisations Recovery Scheme, CEO of Power to Change Vidhya Alakeson, said:

“The coronavirus pandemic revealed just how vital community-led organisations are in delivering support to local people. They stepped up during the lockdown but now many face impending financial crisis. Thanks to National Lottery funding, this new recovery scheme is there to help them transition through this challenging period and ensure they can survive and continue their vital work.”

Rick Henderson, Chief Executive of Homeless Link, said: 

“This funding will enable us to support and provide lifelines for frontline homelessness charities from across the country, which are struggling due to the impact of coronavirus. The additional finances will ensure that, during this difficult time, people experiencing homelessness will continue to receive essential support that can help them to recover and move on with their lives.

“We are grateful to The National Lottery Community Fund and the players of the National Lottery, who have made this important funding possible.”

Ruth Daniel, CEO of The Access to Justice Foundation, said:

“The Community Justice Fund has been set up to respond to the overwhelming pressures the not-for-profit legal advice sector is currently facing due to the unprecedented effects of COVID-19. Without urgent financial support, many will be pushed to breaking point and unable to help the most vulnerable people in society who depend on them.

Mark Norbury, Chief Executive of UnLtd, said:

“Social enterprises are in urgent need of grant funding. They are delivering vital community support while balancing their operations, finances, mental health, and social distancing. The virus, the economic crash, and underlying social injustice are hitting vulnerable communities the hardest. An unprecedented pandemic requires an unprecedented response. We are hugely thankful to players of the National Lottery for making this possible.

“In particular we are encouraging social entrepreneurs from Black, Asian and minority ethnic backgrounds, leaders with lived experience and disabled-led organisations to step forward for this funding. We are proud to be working alongside the School for Social Entrepreneurs, Resonance, Key Fund and Big Issue Invest in an effort to keep social enterprises surviving and thriving during this critical period.

“The £5 million from The National Lottery Community Fund will make a significant difference in the number of grants that can be administered via the Community Justice Fund, helping a greater number of social welfare organisations across the UK remain effective and sustainable in the face of this crisis. We are extremely grateful to National Lottery players for making this grant possible.”

The National Lottery Community Fund, the largest funder of community activity in the UK, has given out more than £200 million since the start of lockdown to help communities cope with the impact. National Lottery distributors as a whole have distributed up to £600 million to support communities throughout the UK during the Coronavirus crisis, playing a critical role in supporting people, projects and communities during these challenging times.

Further details and signposting can be seen on The National Lottery Community Fund’s website.


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