FAQ for Covid Recovery Programme 2022

10 Jan 2022 Sandra Bailie    Last updated: 25 Jan 2022

This article lists frequently asked questions (FAQ) on the Covid Recovery Programme 2022 and will be updated on a regular basis.

This page will be updated as new information becomes available
[Last update: 25/01/22]


1. What is the aim of The Covid Recovery Programme for Organisations 2022 

The aim of the Covid Recovery Programme for Organisations is to reduce or remove operating deficits, which have arisen in the 2021/22 financial year (1 April 2021 - 31 March 2022) because of the pandemic. Operating deficits, which are unrelated to COVID, will not be eligible. 

2.Who can apply? 

The programme’s overarching aim is to mitigate the impact of the pandemic on not-for-profit organisation in the culture, arts, languages, heritage, sports, charities and social enterprise sectors. 

Details of who can apply can be found here  

3. How much is available?  

Awards will be up to £50,000.  

Exceptionally, a greater amount of funding may be available to eligible organisations that can demonstrate that the deficit attributable to COVID-19 in the financial year is greater than £50,000 and that the organisation requires funding in excess of that sum to stabilise financially.

N.B. The maximum amount of funding available to an eligible organisation under the Covid Recovery Programme for Ulster-Scots Organisations is £10,000 however this may also be influenced by the level of Free Reserves that you hold. The minimum grant available is £1,000. 

4. What is the deadline for applications? 

National Lottery Heritage Fund Covid Recovery Fund for Heritage Organisations is12:00pm (noon) 21 January 2022 

All other delivery partners are 28 January 2022: 

Ulster-Scots and Charities and Social Enterprises – 5:00pm on 28 January 2022 

Sports NI, Arts Council NI, Glor na nGeal, and NI Screen – 12:00pm(noon) on 28 January 2022 

5. Who are the delivery partners? 

The seven delivery partners are:  

Arts Council NI

NI Screen 

National Lottery Heritage Fund 

Glor Na NGael 


Sport NI 

Community Finance Ireland 

6. How do I apply? 

You need to decide which delivery partner is most relevant to your organisation and go to their website and follow the application process. 

7. Can I apply if I received a Covid-19 Charity Fund award in the past? 

Yes you can apply.  If you have already received a grant through the COVID-19 Charities Fund this funding considers a different period.  

8. How long will this funding last? 

This funding will be distributed as a one-off payment. 

9. Can I apply if I’m in receipt of other funding or others forms of support? 

Yes, any other forms of financial support should be declared in your application for funding and will be taken into account when determining the amount of any award.  If your charity receives a significant amount of regular public sector funding you will have to explain why this is insufficient to keep it going in the immediate term. 

10. What supporting documents do I need to submit?  

You need to check the website of the delivery partners you are applying to which will give details of what supporting documents you need to submit. They are all slightly different to please check carefully.

In most cases you will need:

  • Governing document
  • Bank statement
  • Management accounts for April 2021 - September/November 2021
  • Financial projections until March 2022
  • Annual accounts (year end 2019 and 2020)
  • Financial template

​11. Will all charities receive the same amount of funding? 

No, funding levels will be based on a proportionate assessment of a charity’s short-term financial need.  

To ensure a broad distribution of the funds available, the maximum level of grant under this scheme will be £50,000.  

In exceptional circumstances you may be able to apply for more but please go to delivery partner website for details of conditions.

N.B. The maximum amount of funding available to an eligible organisation under the Covid Recovery Programme for Ulster-Scots Organisations is £10,000. An Ulster-Scots organisation which has a larger operating deficit might be eligible to apply to another funder with a larger maximum grant, such as the Arts Council of Northern Ireland or Community Finance Ireland, but please remember that you can only apply to one funder. 

13. If I’m successful, how long will it take to receive the funding? 

They anticipate that applications will be assessed and decisions made by end of March 2022.  If you receive a letter of offer, it is important that this is signed and returned within a few days.  

14. Can I get more advice and help to complete my application? 

NICVA can provide independent advice and support for applicants on what is required and the application process until the closing date, this is based on the information that is available on the delivery partners websites. You can submit an enquiry here. NICVA held two information sessions on 10 Jan at 2pm and 12 Jan at 12noon and the presentation is available on our website.

17. How do your reserves impact on your application? 

The Charity Commission for Northern Ireland defines reserves as the unspent resources or income of an organisation. These may or may not be governed by an explicit reserves policy. The Department for Communities recognises that it is prudent for organisations to build up and maintain a level or reserves appropriate to the circumstances of the organisation. This means that the maximum grant available to your organisation will normally be limited to a maximum of six months costs.  

It also normally means that if your organisation has projected reserves at 31 March 2022 in excess of six months costs you should not expect to receive a payment under this Programme. If you believe that your organisation has a valid reason for holding reserves greater than six months costs, you must include this reason in your funding application. Things to note regarding reserves:

  • Make it clear which reserves are restricted and unrestricted.
  • Advice on reserves is on NICVA website Reserves policy guidance | NICVA
  • Reserves are the funds that your charity has which can be freely spent on any of its charitable purposes. This definition excludes restricted income funds and endowment funds as these must be spent in a specific way. Reserves will also normally exclude tangible fixed assets held for the charity’s own use.
  • If you have free unrestricted reserves they can help with your deficit. The template allows you to split the reserves into restricted and unrestricted.
  • Upload your reserves policy
  • If you believe that your organisation has a valid reason for holding more than 6 months reserve you need to make this clear.

18. How will applications be assessed? 

CFI guidance: 

An operating deficit is a negative difference between your trading income and trading expenditure in the period 1 April 2021 to 31 March 2022.  

Based on the financial calculations the organisation anticipated that it would have an operating deficit for the period 31 March 2022 and can confirm that this is COVID related.  

The maximum amount of funding available to an eligible organisation under this Programme is £50,000. Exceptionally, if you need more, you must fill in the relevant template. 

19. When making predictions for January to March 2022 what do we base this on in terms of restrictions? 

In making their projections of future income and expenditure, applicants must assume that the relevant COVID-19 related restrictions in force on the day of application remain in force until 31 March 2022. 

20. More than £50,000 should only be applied for in exceptional circumstances. What will be considered when applying for excess of £50,000? 

Only exceptionally should the value of an award under the programme exceed £50,000. In such circumstances, the onus is on the applicant to demonstrate how the organisation meets one or more of the criteria under which a higher award will be considered:  

  1. That it is in financial difficulty, with a risk of (a) closure (b) loss of jobs or (c) loss of services which would impact on community health or wellbeing; 

  1. That it is of significant strategic importance to the sector or locality and without financial support survival is threatened, and that the loss of the organisation could cause longer-term damage to sectoral growth and development; 

  1. That it is prudent to accept a single application on behalf of a number of smaller charitable entities that are an integral part of a larger established organisation, and where financial need is greater than £50,000. 

Before large amounts of public funding may be committed, an application for more than £50,000 will be subject to a wider assessment to determine viability, financial resilience and strategic importance within a balanced sector and explore whether other financial levers are available to the organisation.  Review the specific delivery partner's guidance for further information.

For Community Finance Ireland for applications above £50,000, applicants should go ahead and submit an application. If it is above £50,000 they should make this clear on the application form and explain why (both in the application form and the financial overview template).

21. Can I apply to more than one delivery partner? 

No, you can only apply once. You need to choose the one that best fits your primary purpose. 

22. Will the delivery partners contact me if information is missing? 

Due to the tight turn-around times of this funding, most are unable to get back to applicants for further information. Therefore it is important that you submit all mandatory enclosures, using the templates where required, and provide all information clearly for assessment. 

23. Am I eligible if the deficit is not Covid related? 

No, you must be able to confirm that the deficit is due to the Covid-19 pandemic. 

24. What if the proposed awards requested exceed the budget available? 

In the event that the proposed awards exceed the available budget, awards will be prioritised to those organisations with the largest operating deficits expressed as a percentage of their income in the financial year 2021/22. 

25. Does it matter which delivery partner you choose?

You need to choose the one that best meets your primary purpose; it is all the same pot of money.

26. Is it open to branches of UK wide organisations? And do we need separate audited accounts or are management accounts accepted?

167 charities registered elsewhere but provide services in NI - can apply for this funding provided they can supply NI specific accounts for their operation here. You need to have the ability to disaggregate your accounts - you need to show income and expenditure for NI. This fund is for this region of NI.

27. What do we do as our financial year end is May 2022?

Period being analysed is April 2021 to March 2022, so despite your year end being different you need to present the financial information for this period, both actuals and projected. Use the financial template to evidence the deficit

28. Can I apply if I have a loss of fundraising income?

Yes if you have a deficit that is Covid related.

29. Will any funding become available for profit making arts organisations at a later date?

Arts Council NI responded to say they are not expecting any further funding and Arts Council funding is restricted to non profit making organisations

30. Will priority be given to those who were not successful the last time for covid related funding?

No this stands on its own merit and no priority will be given to those who have or haven’t received the Covid funding in previous years. Key criteria is that you have Covid related deficit.

31. Arts Council guidelines say that loss of income due to ticketing events cannot be applied for, does this include loss of box office income?

Only if you have a deficit as a result of this. It cannot simply cover loss of income because of this.

32. We have applied to Charity Commission and have been called forward but we are not registered as yet, can we apply?

If you are on the list waiting to be registered then you are eligible. You need to at least have an expression of interest to be registered as a charity.

33. Our organisation has been prudent during the year and made some savings and have low level running costs, can we apply?

You can only apply if you have a deficit for 2021-2022.

34. Can you return to the CFI online application form or do you have to do it all in one sitting?

Yes you can return to it; it saves automatically. You have to be on the same browser and same device for it to remember you  (and not in Incognito or Private browsing mode). Answers will be kept safely in your browser’s local storage, for 15 days. When you open the application again, you’ll be taken to the start of the form, but will see your existing answers from your last visit. You can edit those answers and fill out the rest of the questions before submitting.

Community Finance Ireland have advised that it might not be straightforward to print a copy of the application form. If required to do so, Community Finance Ireland could consider sending a copy back to each applicant that requests a copy of their application form.

Please note that if on return to the form after closing the browser, you may note your responses are saved but documents that you have uploaded do not seem to be saved. The issue is that your browser keeps a ‘cache’ of all the text but cannot do the same for the files. In this case, you could upload the documents again before submitting. Alternatively, missed files can be emailed to CFI in this situation. 

35. If a charity has a trading social enterprise as part of its operating structure can it make one or two applications?

It depends if both have legally operating structure and identity, company and charity number. One organisation cannot make two applications.

36. Our social care project creates surplus to fund our work and it is running at a loss. Can we apply for the deficit for the project or does it have to be for the organisation as a whole?

This fund is for organisations not projects. It has to be a deficit for the organisation as a whole.

37. Is the pot divided equally between all delivery partners?

This is a single programme. At the end of the funding exercise when applications are received DfC will look at the total amount required. If the ask is more then they will target those with higher percentage level of deficit. All sectors will be treated the same. There is a total of £20million available.

38. Can we apply for funding for things we would like to have bought?

No, you can only apply if you have a deficit.

39. Is the financial info for pre Covid or during Covid?

The financial template asks for Pre Covid financial performance for the year April 2019 – March 2020  this will be used for a comparison against the actual / projected performance for April 2021 – March 2022

40. Once funds are received what are the next steps?

Once you receive the letter of offer you will need to return the proforma. If there is a differential of 10% or more they will ask why that exists and you will need to justify this. They look at the organisations and best endeavours they made. Organisations need to make informed decisions that they can stand over. DfC reserve the right to recoup.

41. We have Covid loans repayable over 5 years, should these be included?

Bounceback bank loans - this should be included in the inflow of money, and this will be used as part of assessment. There needs to be an overall deficit. You can explain this in the narrative.

42. Our organisation expects project funding in March for March onwards how do we show this?

If funding is not received until after March make that clear on application, write in the narrative.

43. If a trading social enterprise has a deficit and the charity is at breakeven can they then apply?

It depends on which organisation is applying. If the social enterprise has their own company number and governing document and have a deficit due to Covid - then yes.

44. For identification purposes, what documents do you need to upload to the CFI online application form?

For questions related to Trustees/Director and Key Contact, you can upload the following documents:

  • Photo ID - These include Passport, Driving Licence, Electoral Card, Original birth certificate, Firearms or shotgun certificate etc.
  • Proof of Address – Current UK / Ireland driving licence (but only if not used for the name evidence), Utility Bill (within 3 months), Bank/Building Society/Credit Union statement or passbook, Original Mortgage Statement from a recognised lender, Home or Motor insurance certificate, HMRC or Revenue self-assessment statement or tax demand etc.

Further information can be found in the DfC Covid Recovery Programme Financial Overview Guidance Notes on their website.





sandra.bailie@nicva.org's picture
by Sandra Bailie

Head of Organisational Development

[email protected]

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