Funding for charities during COVID-19

This page will cover funding opportunities, advice and guidance for voluntary sector organisations and social enterprises during the COVID-19/Coronavirus pandemic.

This page will be updated on a regular basis. Last updated: 25 March 2021

We have updated the funding available below to reflect funds that have been paused or closed

Commissioning and Procurement

  • Shaw Trust: Partnership opportunity

    Shaw Trust is a charity committed to working with a diverse network of suppliers to secure the best possible outcomes for their customers.

    Her Majesty’s Prison and Probation Service is launching a range of Activity Hubs (CFO4) part-funded through the European Social Fund. Shaw Trust is looking for partners who are interested in working with them to develop. Activity Hubs should provide a safe and inviting space where participants can engage voluntarily in a range of activities. They will help people to move away from offending behaviour by integrating a psycho-therapeutic approach with a range of engaging and character-building activities. They are looking for a range of partners who can help them deliver a range of activities, help offenders access mainstream services and become more integrated into their local communities.

    They are asking potential suppliers to visit their partnership page which gives further details of how to register interest. If you have any queries about the opportunity, please contact the partnership team at

  • Museums and Heritage Awards

    Enter by midnight of 31 March 2021
    The National Lottery Heritage Fund is sponsoring a sustainability award for the second year at the 2021 Museums + Heritage Awards. They are looking for a heritage organisation that is making waves and showing what can be done with innovation and passion. They are seeking the most outstanding environmentally sustainable project or exhibition which can demonstrate best practice in its approach to managing environmental impacts during 2020. Read more

  • NatWest SE100 Index & Social Business Awards 2021

    The deadline to enter is 25 April 2021
    The NatWest SE100 & Social Business Awards are delivered by Pioneers Post in partnership with NatWest Social & Community Capital.
    Read more

General funding advice

  • COVID-19 financial support from the government

    The Chancellor has set out a package of temporary, timely and targeted measures to support public services, people and businesses through this period of disruption caused by COVID-19. For more information visit

  • How to bid for government contracts as a consortium guidance

    On 8 September the government published guidance on how organisations can bid for contracts as a consortium, including the relevant requirements set out in the invitation to tender (ITT). A consortium in this context is two or more suppliers coming together to bid during a procurement. There is no limit to the number of members that may be in a consortium and consortia bidding is welcome.The full guidance can be found here.

  • How to bid for government contracts as a small to medium enterprise (SME) effectively

    On 8 September 2020 the government published this guidance. It provides steps SMEs can take when bidding for government contracts so they can compete with larger companies. The contents of the guidance covers: Where to find tender opportunities, What to plan before you bid, Writing your bid, Checking your bid, How the tender process works, After you bid and Further information.The guidance can be found here.

  • Crown Commercial Service: Simplified Bid Pack - Split Terms

    On 29 September 2020 the crown commercial service replaced its ‘Invitation to Tender’ pack with a simplified version. This may be of interest to VCSE organisations who bid for contracts from the crown commercial service or want to understand procurement processes generally. The guidance includes, Framework General Terms and Conditions, Framework Schedule templates, Call Off General Terms and Conditions and Call Off Schedule templates. See guidance here.

  • Cabinet Office and Crown Commercial Service: Public Procurement Review Service reports

    On 2 October 2020 the government updated its research and analysis to include the Public Procurement Review Service (PPRS) Progress Report for 2019-20. PPRS sits within the Cabinet Office and allows government suppliers and potential government suppliers to raise concerns anonymously  about potentially poor public sector procurement practice. The Progress Report highlights the main trends that the service has seen from 6 April 2019 to 5 April 2020. The research and analysis report can be found here.

  • Crowdfunder: 100% free fundraising for those starting up a new business after being affected by coronavirus

    Crowdfunding is a different way to raise money for good ideas. The latest campaign by Crowdfunder says:

    “If 2020 taught us anything, it’s that nothing in life is certain. But sometimes, when you’re down – the only way is up. We have thousands of new business startups raising money and creating their crowd at the same time. Crowdfunding helps you validate your idea, build your customer base before you start and raise the funds you need to make that leap. You’re ready. We’re ready. Let’s make your startup happen.“

    Details of how crowdfunding works, startup stories, and the link to start your crowdfunding can be found here.

  • Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS) for SMEs

    The temporary Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme supports SMEs with access to loans, overdrafts, invoice finance and asset finance of up to £5 million and for up to 6 years. The scheme will be delivered through commercial lenders, backed by the government-owned British Business Bank. There are 40 accredited lenders able to offer the scheme, including all the major banks. Find out more

  • Procurement Policy Note 11/20 published

    On 15 December the cabinet office published a policy paper titled Procurement Policy Note (PPN) 11/20: Reserving below threshold procurements. This procurement policy note set out the options that may be considered by Contracting Authorities when procuring contracts for goods, services and works with a value below the applicable thresholds. Read more

  • Superhighways online funding platforms - choosing the best fit for your charity

    As the opportunity to have a stall at a local fete doesn’t seem likely this summer, your charity may need to look at other fundraising options. Superhighways  describe their organisation as using technology and digital tools to help more people fund your work and reach more supporters.  They have an online fundraising factsheet. They have researched a selection of some of the more well-known platforms, and put together further information to help you make the right choice for your organisation. Read here.

Available funding

  • Alpkit Foundation: Grassroots funding support

    Alpkit as a charity normally help people Go Nice Places, Do Good Things. In their response to COVID-19 they have shifted their focus to funding projects that demonstrate an immediate impact on those affected by the COVID-19.
    Visit the Alpkit foundation website

  • Leicester City Council business support grant funding

    New lockdown grants announced on 5 January HM Treasury published a new story explaining that businesses in the retail, hospitality and leisure sectors are to receive a one-off grant worth up to £9,000. The cash is provided on a per-property basis to support businesses through the latest restrictions, and is expected to benefit over 600,000 business properties. Find out more about the Business support grant funding from Leicester City Council’s website here.

  • Charity Link Small Grants Scheme
  • Choose How You Move - Business Grant

    Funded by the Department for Transport, grants of up to £5000 are available to help boost the levels of active and sustainable travel amongst your staff.

    They are match funded and designed to help you overcome barriers to active travel, for instance by funding cycle parking, lockers or showers. In addition they have, Travel clinics, Cycle courses, Support with Modeshift STARS (Sustainable Travel Accreditation and Recognition Scheme) and Business Engagement Scheme. Every business is different, their team are happy to talk through how they can help your workplace. Get in touch at or call 0116 3057233 or follow them on LinkedIn. Find out more here.

  • Climate Action Fund - round 2 now open

    The deadline for applications of your initial idea is 5pm on 8 April 2021. The Climate Action Fund (CAF) is supporting communities across the UK to take action on climate change. The fund is part of The National Lottery (TNL) Community Fund’s Environment Strategy. They are offering two types of funding in this round – development funding and full awards. The maximum grant size for development funding is £150,000. For full awards, the maximum available is £1.5 million. Read more

  • Community Shares Booster Programme: Pathways

    The programme is a funding scheme to support community share offers. There are three pathways of support to choose from: Pathway one: Preparing the offer. Pathway two : Investment ready and Pathway three: Live offers. Applicants for the pathway will need to have utilised the step by step tool. The Community Shares Step-by-Step online tool enables you to work towards launching a community share offer. It is designed to help anyone considering raising community shares at any stage of development, from those investigating the idea for the very first time, to those who are on the verge of issuing an offer.

  • Coronavirus Support Fund (National Emergency Trust) - LLR Community Foundation

    This is a new fund to help those who live and work locally and who are struggling as a result of the pandemic. The money comes from The National Emergency Trust Fund and donations from local companies, individuals or families. The Coronavirus Support Fund continues to be open for applications, and has had a small injection of funding added to it from the Co-Op Foundation. Grant sizes are between £500 and £5,000 – Details of the fund can be found here.

  • DPD Eco Fund

    DPD are keen to fund educational facilities across the UK working on green projects with their students as well as start-up companies working on developing environmentally friendly products to apply. The Eco Fund is funded by their circular economy initiative to protect the environment. The plastic shrink wrap they use in their operation is broken down, and then recycled to create new plastic shrink wrap. View recently funded projects & application process here.

  • Energy Saving Trust: Energy Industry Voluntary Redress Scheme

    Energy Saving Trust has been appointed by Ofgem to distribute payments from energy companies who may have breached rules. Registered charities can apply for funds to deliver energy related projects that meet the scheme priorities and benefit people in England Scotland and Wales. Read more

  • Esmee Fairburn Foundation: New strategy launched

    Esmée Fairbairn Foundation is one of the UK’s largest independent funders. Their new strategy will focus their funding on three interdependent aims. The three interdependent aims are, Improving Our Natural World, Tackling injustice to deliver A Fairer Future and Nurturing Creative, Confident Communities. Work outside of these aims will no longer be funded. The application process, which consists of six steps can be found here.

  • Armed Forces Covenant Fund: Force for Change Programme

    The round one application deadline is at midday on 12 April 2021. The programme will award one year grants of up to £10,000 for community projects that reduce isolation and promote integration; supporting post-Covid recovery in local Armed Forces communities affected by isolation. Further details including eligibility and a copy of the online application form here

  • Green Recovery Challenge Fund Round 2

    The Green Recovery Challenge Fund is open for applications for funding of £50,000 to £250,000. Deadline 12pm 14 April 2021. You must contribute at least 5% of your project costs in cash (partnership funding) for all grants over £250,000. Read more

  • The Hargreaves Foundation Grant Scheme

    The foundation registered as a charitable incorporated organisation (CIO) in January 2020 and has just launched its grant scheme. Registered Charities or Charitable Incorporated Organisations can apply. The funding is not available for social enterprises.

    The Foundation’s objectives are underpinned by the desire to give those under the age of 18, and living with a mental health problem, physical disability, or growing up in poverty, the opportunity to fulfil their potential whilst improving wellbeing, self-esteem and independence. Find out more

  • Hastings Direct: COVID-19 Community Grant Scheme

    Hastings Group are providing financial support to local charities that are helping their communities with coronavirus related projects and schemes.The community grant fund is for local registered charities. The application process involves sending an email to:

    The email must include a letter on headed paper stating what the funding need is. Include details of the charity’s bank account, sort code and charity number. The local charities need to be based or supporting communities within a 20 mile radius of St George’s Way Leicester office.

  • 2021 Healthy Hearts Grants

    The central region fund opens on 17 May & closes at 5pm Monday 14 June.
    Funding is available to charities and community organisations for new, original and innovative projects that: Actively promote a healthy heart and Help to prevent, or reduce the risk of heart disease in your community. In response to the pandemic they are accepting applications for projects which can be delivered remotely or with social distancing measures in place. This year they will also be accepting applications for the funding of equipment only. Further details can be found here.

  • Heritage Trade Up Programme

    The deadline for applications is 1pm Friday 9 April 2021. The programme is a partnership between the National Lottery Heritage Fund and School for Social Entrepreneurs. The programme is designed for people who are leading a heritage organisation or trading project. They should have responsibility for the trading activity and be able to shape it and make strategic decisions. The funder is encouraging applications from across the UK and from organisations led by underrepresented groups, which celebrate heritage for all. Find out more here

  • Key Fund loans and grants

    Key Fund can support a range of activities, from restoring a derelict building to buying equipment or meeting start-up costs. If you’re an existing enterprise that needs to adapt and shift its focus or create a new service, they can help with immediate cash-flow problems or working capital until you’re on your feet. Details of their approach can be found here.

  • Leicester City Council: The Innovation Fund

    Any organisation or services that work with children, young people and families across Leicester City can apply for this fund. It is available to any group working with families who believe that they can improve lives with some targeted financial assistance. The applicant must demonstrate how the funded improvements will enhance the wellbeing for the families and children and young people you work with and how impact / evaluation will be evidenced. Bids in excess of £5000 will not be considered. The funding can only be used to support families residing in Leicester City only. Read more

  • Leicester Employment Hub: Apply for an apprenticeship levy transfer

    Leicester City Council is working in partnership with ASDA to support local businesses including the local VCSE sector. The Apprenticeship Levy is a levy on UK employers to fund new apprenticeship. The levy is charged at a rate of 0.5% of an employer’s pay bill. The levy helps to deliver new apprenticeships and it supports quality training by putting employers at the centre of the system. £100,000 of Asda’s levy will be transferred. You can apply to fund the learning for existing staff or new apprentices. You can apply for levy transfer funding before recruiting your apprentice, however, they will not transfer the funds until the start of the apprenticeship programme. Find out more here. Find out more

  • Lloyds Bank Foundation 2021 Funding

    Small and local charities helping people overcome complex social issues can now apply for two-year unrestricted grants of £50,000. At least 25% of all funding this year will be allocated to charities led by and for Black, Asian, and Minority Ethnic communities, building on the Foundation’s commitment to racial equity as outlined in their strategy. The funding will be open year-round, meaning charities can apply at a time that suits them and will not be restricted by deadlines. Read more

  • Magic Little Grants 2021

    This programme will run to 31st October 2021. Grants of up to £500 are available for small charities and community groups thanks to the players of People’s Postcode Lottery. If you have been awarded a Magic Little Grant in previous years, you will need to have completed and returned your monitoring forms for those years before you can receive another grant. Each organisation may only apply for one Magic Little Grants 2021.

    Further details of the grant and the how to apply process, once published, can be found here:

  • The Ministry of Defence: Armed Forces Day funding

    Grant applications close 31 March 2021. Armed Forces Day is on Saturday 26 June 2021. Grants of up to £10,000 can be applied for. The funding can be used to pay for: Road closures required to hold an event, including to allow for parades and marches, Decorations, flags and banners, Newspaper and radio advertisements to promote the event, Marshalling, security and first aid arrangements for the event, Insurance and PA & communications systems. Further details can be found here.

  • Morrisons Foundation: COVID-19 Homeless Support Fund

    The Morrisons Foundation supports charities making a positive difference in local communities. Homelessness charities are raising concerns that if someone is sleeping rough or in a crowded night shelter, it’s impossible to self-isolate and maintain social distance so help is needed more than ever before. Homeless Support Fund, is designed to support charities caring for the homeless during the coronavirus outbreak and ensure help gets to those who need it most. Find out more

  • Morrisons Foundation: Grant Funding

    Their grant funding supports charities delivering projects which help to improve people’s lives. Grants are available to fully fund projects up to £25,000. Their grant guidance can be found here.

  • Paul Hamlyn Foundation: Ideas and Pioneers Fund

    Grants of up to £15,000 to support people with a vision of a better society to explore their ideas for change. They are open to applications all year round and the process is simple – just a short form and a two-minute video. You do not have to have a registered organisation to apply to the Fund. However, the proposed idea must have clear public benefit or charitable purpose. Further details can be found here.

  • The Police and Crime Commissioner's Prevention Fund 2020/2021: Emergency funding to support Covid-19 response

    The Police and Crime Commissioner has expanded the Prevention Fund to include applications which can support communities to cope with the impact of Covid-19 and channel emergency help to where it is needed most. There are 2 levels of funding: Up to £9,999 pa and £10,000 to £25,000 pa. However, these will be awarded only for exceptional projects. The commissioner is interested in supporting projects that mobilise resources and react positively to the challenges posed by Covid-19 but can also show a demonstrable link and positive impact on the priorities of the commissioner’s priorities.

    The priorities are described in the police and crime plan, which can be found here

    The application form and guidance notes can be found here

  • The Resilience & Recovery Loan Fund (RRLF) now available

    Deadline: Applications close at 11.59pm on Wednesday 31 March 2021. 
    The Resilience & Recovery Loan Fund (RRLF) is a new fund for social enterprises and charities that are improving people’s lives across the UK who are experiencing disruption to their normal business model as a result of COVID-19. The fund is intended for those organisations who face a problem because expected income and activity has been delayed or disrupted. A loan may help with this, providing working capital until normal business can commence again. Read more

  • The Screwfix Foundation

    The Screwfix Foundation is a registered charity set up in 2013. They have a clear purpose of raising funds to support projects that will fix, repair, maintain and improve properties and community facilities for those in need throughout the UK.

    All applications are reviewed individually by their team on a quarterly basis, the review dates are in February, May, August and November. They offer local registered charities and not for profit organisations funding of up to £5,000.
    You can apply online here.

  • Severn Trent Water: Community Fund

    On 1 June 2020 Severn Trent re-opened their community fund, whose aims are about community wellbeing. This funding is not a specific covid-19 fund response.

    The proposed  project must be in the Severn Trent region  and the community it is benefitting must be Severn Trent customers. Funding is available in 3 categories:

    • £2k to £10k
    • £10,001 to £75k
    • £75,001 to £250k

    For applications above £10k you must be a registered charity or a business registered with companies house, or a local authority.  Their funding priority of community wellbeing centres on 3 things:

    • People : Projects that help people to lead a healthier life and gain new skills
    • Places: Projects that help to create better places to live in and use
    • Environment: Projects that will help look after our natural environment, give people greater access to that environment or help look after water.

    Details of the fund, who to contact if you have a query,  and the application process can be found here.

  • Social Entrepreneurs 2021/22 Programme

    Applications close at 1pm on 16 April 2021. Lloyds Bank and Bank of Scotland Social Entrepreneurs Programme is run in partnership with the School for Social Entrepreneurs, and jointly funded by The National Lottery Community Fund. In the past the programme has helped more than 2,000 people to start up, build and scale social enterprises, charities, community projects and impact-led organisations. View further details of the programme here.

  • Spacehive: Crowdfund Leicester

    CrowdFund Leicester is all about connecting people, communities, businesses and resources to ideas that will make Leicester City an even better place to live, visit, and study.

    Alongside this online fundraising platform, is the City Mayor’s Community Engagement Fund. The City Mayor’s Community Engagement Fund may pledge up to £10,000 towards your project. VAL has been discussing with Spacehive how that pledge process is working during this period. They have explained that the Mayor’s team can assess projects early if they are covid-19 related, as they control the Community Engagement Fund which is only available through the online platform.

    It’s not a covid specific fund but can be used where there is an overlap in the criteria to support covid-19 ideas. The city council community mobilisation fund is aligned to the crowdfunding programme but managed separately. The mobilisation funding is often used to support crowdfunding campaigns.

    To set up a Leicester crowdfunding campaign use the link below:

    To access the mobilisation fund contact the ward councillors click here

  • Sport England Return to play small grants fund

    The fund has been launched to give additional help to the sport and physical activity sector during the coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic. The Return to Play: Small Grants will provide grants of between £300 and £10,000. It will help community sport respond to the challenges posed, such as having to deliver in smaller groups, having the correct hygiene and safety equipment and giving training to club volunteers. Find out more here.


  • Sport England Return to play community asset fund

    The fund has been launched to give additional help to the sport and physical activity sector during the coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic. The Return to Play: Community Asset Fund will provide grants ranging in value from £10,001 to £50,000 to help local sports clubs and organisations to adapt and open important places and spaces that can help them welcome back their local community safely. Find out more here.

  • Sport England Return to play active together fund

    The fund has been launched to give additional help to the sport and physical activity sector during the coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic.

    The Return to Play: Active Together is a crowdfunding initiative which will help sports clubs and organisations set up their own campaigns to help sustain them through the crisis. Find out more here.

  • Standard Life Foundation Grant Scheme

    Application deadline is 3rd June 2021 at 1pm. They fund research, campaigning and policy work.The independent charitable foundation’s mission is to contribute towards strategic change which improves financial well-being in the UK. They want everyone to have a decent standard of living and feel in control of their finances, improving the lives of those on low-to-middle incomes. Find out more

  • Youth Centre Recovery Fund

    Applications are accepted until 4pm on 31 March 2021. Established by Julia and Hans Rausing to help charities running youth centres to be able to survive and recover from the impact of Covid-19. The Fund is open to registered charities who run youth centres in England. The charities must offer youth services within a locality and operate out of a fixed space or venue. Find out more

  • Youth Endowment Fund – themed grant round

    Applications open 19 April 2021. The Youth Endowment Fund exists to prevent children and young people becoming involved in violence. The question they are aiming to answer through this grant round is which diversion approaches work best at preventing 10 to 17 year-olds from becoming involved in violence? Read more

  • Youth Futures Foundation: Development and Impact Grants

    The foundation has a rolling grants programme designed to find, fund, support and evaluate promising practice. Funding will go to organisations working with young people aged 14-24 to help them overcome barriers to finding meaningful work. They are looking for approaches that can be tested, evaluated and, where proven to be effective, expanded to reach more young people.

    There are two types of grants available:

    • Development Grants with level of financial support being between £30,000 – £150,000pa for delivery and development over a 1-2 year duration.
    • Impact Grants with the level of financial support being £100,000 – £1.2m pa for delivery over a 1-5 year duration

    Details of the grants can be found here.

  • Funding to be a conversation host

    Engage Britain is looking for people across England, Scotland and Wales to host community conversations about health and care from January 2021. The charity has partnered with Just Ideas and WSA Community Consultants to recruit a diverse group of hosts from across the country. Further details can be found here.

  • Game on funding

    The FA has come together with the Premier League, the government, and Sport England through the Football Foundation to launch “Game on,” three funds to get the country ready for the return of grassroots football at the end of March 2021. Read more

Help with applying

If you would like help with applying for these funds such as a read and review, please submit a request using the online contact form. Please select the ‘support for your voluntary organisation’ in the contact drop down list using the link below:

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