The government is offering up to £85 million to match donations to selected coronavirus charity campaigns in England. The funding will come from the £750 million in funding that it has promised to charities responding to the impact of coronavirus.
Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden announced the allocation of funding for the new ‘Community Match Challenge’. From today (18 July) to 31 August, funds raised through “selected coronavirus charity campaigns” will be matched pound-for-pound.
He invited grantmakers, foundations and philanthropists, whose coronavirus campaigns have raised millions of pounds to help the most vulnerable and those affected by the pandemic, to apply for a share of the £85m to match their donations.
Oliver Dowden MP said:
“Since Covid hit, the British people, businesses and philanthropists have stepped up and fundraised hundreds of millions of pounds to support the most vulnerable in our communities. We’re now launching a Community Match Challenge as part of our multi-billion-pound package of support for our brilliant charity sector. The Government will match pound for pound what is raised by others to double the generosity of others.”
The £750m in government grants to charities, announced in April after a month-long lobbying campaign by major charities, did not of course reach one billion pounds, let along “multi-billion”[s], but the package he referred to includes wider measures to support the economy, including the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme and the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme.
These grants were specifically for “frontline charities” during the coronavirus outbreak, rather than all those charities experiencing a significant drop in income.
£4.8m to Voluntary and Community Sector Emergencies Partnership
Dowden also announced that £4.8 million would be granted to the Voluntary and Community Sector Emergencies Partnership. This group comes together to improve national and local coordination before, during and after emergencies.
The partnership is a group of voluntary and community sector organisations co-chaired by the British Red Cross and National Council for Voluntary Organisations. Members include:
- Business in the Community
- St John Ambulance
- National Association for Voluntary and Community Action
- National Emergencies Trust
- National Police Chiefs Council
- Muslim Aid
- Salvation Army
- UK Community Foundations
- Victim Support
- Association of Greater Manchester Authorities.
The £4.8 million is provided to help it strengthen the voluntary sector’s response to coronavirus and future emergencies. It will fund regional hubs:
- to join up distribution of local volunteers and resources such as food supplies
- a national network to coordinate demand for volunteers across the country
- a “new digital tool” to help identify where help is needed most at a local and national level.
Mike Adamson, Chief Executive of British Red Cross and Chair of the VCSEP said:
“Over the coming months we will be setting up systems to improve coordination across our sector, capture unmet needs as a result of emergencies, and match and coordinate volunteer demand and supply. The money we have secured will go a long way in helping us to achieve our ambitions and establish a legacy for responding to future emergencies.”
Government funding for charities during coronavirus
During the coronavirus period the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport has led the allocation of funding specifically to charities that were “providing key services to help vulnerable people during the crisis”. It did not aim to fund or sustain the broader work of charities, many of whom faced instant financial challenges after lockdown.
The £750m funding awarded was allocated, for example, to hospices (£200 million) and charities that support vulnerable children and people who have suffered from domestic abuse, sexual abuse and modern slavery (£76 million).
In addition the Government matched public donations to the BBC’s “Big Night In” charity appeal, with over £70 million being distributed by Comic Relief, Children In Need and the National Emergencies Trust to charities on the frontline.
It also supported the release of £150 million from dormant accounts to help social enterprises get affordable credit to people who were financially vulnerable and support charities tackling youth unemployment.
The DCMS noted too that charity shops in England have been able to open from 15 June and are benefiting from the new enhanced retail rate relief at 100 per cent.
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