New & Updated COVID-19 Funds

27 Mar 2020 Lynn Kennedy    Last updated: 26 Feb 2021

Updates on COVID-19-related Funding 

It's good to see that funders recognise that this is an exceptional situation that will have a massive impact on our sector and want to offer support and flexibility.  We will keep you updated about funders joining the wave of generosity that COVID-19 is provoking from communities across Northern Ireland and providing funding support.

Please note that funds can open and close within a matter of weeks, or even days, so speed is of the essence in applying.  Some funds are also pausing to either allow assessors to catch up with the sheer number of applications or simply to allow the funder to acquire additional funding.     

NB Remember, you can see all these schemes in a one-stop format, (and over 850 more relevant to Northern Irish charities), on GrantTracker, NI's leading funding database.   Subscribe from only £100 a year here


Sport NI: Supporting Sports to Build Back Better: Project Re-boot

Supported by National Lottery funding Sport NI have created a programme called Supporting Sports to Build Back Better. This programme will provide a multi-strand approach to supporting the sporting system with a Monitoring and Evaluation Framework being implemented alongside.  Project Re-Boot is part of this initiative and will invest in new and innovative projects to support the engagement and re-engagement of participants into sport, particularly people from groups who have been especially impacted by Covid-19. It has three levels of investment with funding ranging from £500 to £25,000.

Strand 1) Team-Up (Open for applications)

Grants of £10,000-£25,000 for projects and initiatives within clubs and communities that are creative and innovative. They are encouraging the lead partner to work collaboratively with others to engage or re-engage people into sport. They will focus particularly on people from groups who have been especially impacted by Covid-19. All projects to be delivered by 31st March 2022.

Strand 2) Activate (Anticipated launch in Spring)

Grants of up to £5000 for medium scale projects and initiatives that are creative and innovative. Lead partners are encouraged  to work collaboratively with others to engage or re-engage people into sport. They will focus particularly on people from groups who have been especially impacted by Covid-19.  Partnership funding is a likely requirement.  All projects to be delivered by 31st March 2022.

Strand 3) Sport Local (Applications will be invited from clubs in early summer)

Grants from £500 to £1,000 for micro projects and initiatives that are relatively short term in their delivery and are aimed at engaging and re-engaging participants most impacted by Covid-19 at club and its local community. No requirement for partnership funding.  Projects to be delivered by 31st March 2022.

Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon Borough Council: Covid-19 Community Support Grant 3rd Call 2020-21 (Extended Deadline, 12 Noon, 5th March)

A third call for Covid-19 Community.  Applications are invited under three themes as follows:

  • Theme A – Remote learning resources (Feb-Mar 2021)
  • Theme B – Covid Response (Aug 2020 – Jan 2021)
  • Theme C – Connecting Those Most Isolated (Feb-Mar 2021)

OTHER COVID-19 FUNDS CURRENTLY OPEN (As at 26th February 2021)

The Hope Beyond grants programme aims to enable churches and Christian charities to meet changing needs within their communities, helping them and the communities they support to adapt to the challenges and opportunities presented by the Coronavirus pandemic. Grants of up to £50,000 are available, dependent on the cost of your project and the level of need, ranging from 10% to 80% of project costs. 

This is a grants fund to support local communities during the current pandemic under the three themes of Food Distress, Financial Distress and Connectivity.  Up to £2,000 is available.  Only those church and community/voluntary groups who have not received any Covid-19 grants from Council to date can apply to the grant aid scheme

During the current national situation, Burg-Wächter is offering free security kits (worth £150) for community properties, equipment or outdoor areas that need extra security at this time and have limited funds to meet these needs.

Thanks to the National Emergencies Trust, a total funding pot of £350,000 is available to LGBT+ non-profit groups, organisations and projects. The funding is available to address the additional needs of LGBT+ people and communities most adversely impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic and to support and strengthen LGBT+ organisations that have been impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic.

NB  Please note: They have been overwhelmed with requests from this funding stream and therefore this fund is now closed for applications, except those organisations based in Wales or Northern Ireland.

A new fund from the UK insurance and long-term savings industry, launched 18th May. Working in partnership with the Charities Aid Foundation (CAF), National Emergencies Trust (NET) and others. Aiming to raise £100 million to help those most affected by COVID-19, with £82.5 million already having been pledged.  NB Please note that this fund is not open to applications as it will use other partners like CAF and NET to distribute funds raised.

Fermanagh and Omagh District Council has received further funding from the Department for Communities to target citizens who are most in need of urgent support as the Coronavirus pandemic continues to affect local communities.  Applications are invited from Voluntary Community sector organisations based in the Fermanagh and Omagh District Council area for the following 2 grant schemes -

  1. Covid-19 – Community Support Fund (Tranche 3)
  2. Covid-19 – Volunteer Support Fund

NB Funding must be spent by 31 March 2021. 

Established by the Impartial Reporter in partnership with The Fermanagh Trust, with donations of over £10,000 raised by the local community.   Open to organisations and agencies in Fermanagh who need support to improve the well-being of health and social care and home care personnel including volunteers. Focussed on providing support that is needed for those workers throughout our healthcare system to help them to stay safe. Includes those working in hospital, residential settings and those providing community, home-based services to our elderly, ill and vulnerable, including private and not for profit contracted services.

The aim is to get more people eating healthily, strengthen our communities and reduce experience of loneliness and social isolation.   Offering small grants of £150 from June 2020 to April 2021. The grants are to support community led food growing, cooking and sharing activity and Get Togethers.  

The Community Grants Programme will support charities to REACT to the COVID19 pandemic, PREPARE to reopen services or adapt their services accordingly, and to RESTORE/RENEW in order to deliver what may be for many a new way of life. If you feel your proposed project can commence within the next three months, you are eligible to apply to the Foundation or support. They will continue to get decisions out quickly for COVID related projects.

NB  This scheme is now only open to existing Food Banks. Applications for the £1,000 grant for Constituted Groups are now closed.

  • Mid and East Antrim Borough Council: COVID-19 Community Recovery Grants Scheme (Closing 23.59pm, 31st March or before if funds are ehausted)

    Grants of up to £1000 to support projects that aid constituted Community and Voluntary Organisations to renew their activities either virtually or in line with guidance around social distancing and permitted activity.  Groups who have received funding under Phase 1 of the Recovery Grant Scheme (October 2020 – December 2020) can apply to this scheme for different items/projects.

Now offering £65 million for two new rounds of grants: £30 million through Community Partnership Grants and £35 million through Recovery Grants.  The charity, whose membership comprises more than 230 NHS charities across the UK, has allocated the funds to all member charities and is inviting them to apply for funding from its Covid-19 Appeal from 1 September.  Community Partnership Grants recognise the profound impact of the pandemic on all communities outside NHS settings such as hospices, community healthcare and social care, and grants will fund projects through public or voluntary sector organisations.  Recovery Grants will help tackle the longer term effects of Covid-19 and support hospitals in preparation for any second wave.

The Rank Foundation has temporarily suspended its major grants programme to focus on the immediate operational needs of its network. The Foundation has launched two funds to help existing network and current grant recipients:

  • The Emergency Fund is for immediate grants of up to £750 to purchase equipment, technology or memberships;
  • The Resilience Fund will provide grants to cover cashflow, fundraising and loss of income, and to help with increased demand for services.

Initially, funding will only be available to the Foundation’s RankNet members, but public access may be given at a later date.  They are currently reviewing their Pebble Grants programme criteria to allow for wider, public access. Their major grants programme will be suspended for the moment in order that they focus their attention and resources on meeting the more immediate operational needs of their network.

Delivered by Rosa and Smallwood Trust, the Women Thrive Fund is distributing grants of up to £40,000 to specialist women’s organisations across the UK working to enable women and girls to improve their mental health and wellbeing and/or improve their financial resilience. The fund responds directly to what women’s and girls’ organisations have told them throughout the pandemic: that declining mental health, increased risk of emotional trauma and increased poverty levels are their biggest concerns for women and girls across the UK.

The Resilience & Recovery Loan Fund (RRLF) is being run by Social Investment Business (SIB) with an initial £25m investment and support from Big Society Capital..  It  is a new fund for social enterprises and charities who are experiencing disruption to their normal business model as a result of COVID-19. It was established to make an existing government scheme (the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS) more easily accessible to charities and social enterprises.  The £25m is part of a wider package of support announced by Big Society Capital.

Support Adoption For Pets provides funding to pet rescue organisations for purposes which make a real difference to the welfare of UK domestic pets in rescue and aim to reduce the number of domestic pets in rescue.  Their grant programme has been redeveloped to support rescues throughout the short and medium-term impact of the Coronavirus

The Barclays Foundation have announced a £100 million COVID-19 Community Aid Package - The package consists of two strands. £50million will be donated to charities chosen by Barclays and £50million will be donated by matching their employees' personal donations (individual organisations cannot apply for this funding. The money will be disbursed principally in the UK, but also in Barclays’ international markets, including the USA and India

Resilience and inclusion project funding to support organisations working with heritage to adapt and respond to the changing environment they are now operating in. You can apply for grants from £3,000 to £10,000 and £10,000 to £100,000 for projects that: Support organisations working with heritage to adapt and recover in the continuing coronavirus (COVID-19) crisis;  or are focused on inclusion, led by and/or engaging diverse groups typically under-represented in heritage (for example, young people, minority ethnic and LGBT+ communities, disabled people and people from lower socio-economic backgrounds).  They expect to receive more good applications than they can support in this first phase of this fund (First Round Closed 18th December) but good applications not funded within this first phase may be considered within the second phase of funding due to open in February.

The National Emergencies Trust launched an appeal to raise funds to help local charities to support those individuals suffering hardship as a result of the coronavirus outbreak. Donations are still being accepted and will be passed out through other funders.   (NB There is no separate fund for applications)​

Thanks to Co-op funding, they are now offering a dedicated package of free Covid-19 support for all forms of community business – including woodlands, farms, bakeries, pubs and shops, as well as those developing groups that have been affected by the pandemic.   Includes support and guidance on developing short – medium term cash flow, reviewing business plans, applying for funding, upholding good practice governance and utilising community shares and accessing government support.​

Grants of up to £10,000 available for projects from across the UK which are working to create resilient rural communities. This is a very specific fund, with the aim of supporting farming and rural communities to cope with the impact of Covid-19, to expand on new services that have emerged to support the local community during this time and to build future resilience.

The Swimathon Foundation has launched a second Covid-19 Relief Fund.  It will once again seek to allocate grants of between £250 and £1,000 to small swimming and aquatic organisations who are experiencing continued financial hardship from the effects of Covid-19, especially where access to financial support has not been available. These range from National Governing Body Affiliated Swim Clubs, Aquatic Clubs and Swim Schools to Independent Swimming Organisations

The Volant Trust accepts applications from charities in the UK and internationally that demonstrate a strong focus on alleviating social deprivation and helping vulnerable groups who have been particularly impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic. Applications for medical equipment and the production or distribution of PPE will also be considered.  Grant levels are at the discretion of the trustees, with no minimum or maximum amounts publicly set.  (NB The Volant Trust's usual open grant programmes centre on Scotland, but this fund is UK-wide)


ADT supports young people who through volunteering or community service, aim to enhance the lives of others, particularly those most marginalised by society.  To help young people to volunteer in response to COVID-19 they are now offering larger grants of up to £1000.

The Bank of Ireland Begin Together Arts Fund , in partnership with Business to Arts and Arts & Business NI, will distribute €1million  between 2020 & 2022 to support artists and arts projects across the island of Ireland.  Grants are available from €3,000 – €10,000/c. GBP£2,500 – £8,400. to support or commission artists or groups of artists to work with a partner organisation (e.g. a venue or event, arts organisation, community/voluntary organisation or another funding agency/organisation) in the development of new or existing artwork(s) / arts project(s) that have been adapted due to COVID-19 or are inspired by/respond to COVID-19.

The Ernest Hecht Charitable Foundation is continuing to accept applications for funding from: i) charities who are struggling to survive funding crises during the Covid-19 pandemic, and (ii) charities who are seeking funding for future projects/activities.

Currently inviting customers to nominate a local charity, group or cause for a Community Grant of up to £2,500 to help them to continue providing support to those affected by the Coronavirus, or who themselves are struggling to maintain their usual services. Examples for nominations might include foodbanks, support groups or homeless charities. Have already helped more than 200 good causes deliver projects such as helping disability charities invest in their resources, and community groups tackle isolation amongst the older generation. Nominations for this round closed on the 12th May 2020.

  • The Community Justice Fund (Not currently accepting applications - further information is expected to be published in February 2021)

Grants of approx. 25-75K focused on the needs of specialist social welfare legal advice organisations. Aim to help them respond to COVID-19, with flexible support so organisations can respond to the challenges in ways that they feel best meets their needs but for which they do not currently have the funds.  This could be about ‘keeping the doors open’, making the necessary shifts to home working, maintaining services, adapting services to reach people in new ways and at greater scale, supporting the wellbeing of staff, or a combination of these and other responses

The Elton John AIDS Foundation’s COVID-19 Emergency Fund is looking to support community-based organisations to implement lifesaving interventions to help mitigate adverse effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on HIV response efforts for key population communities around the world.

Community groups and small to medium sized organisations can apply for grants of up to £40,000 for projects and activities addressing homelessness. This can include tackling the root causes, tackling re-insertion in society or developing a response to the challenges which have arisen as a result of the coronavirus crisis.  Can be used to help fund capital costs (e.g. building and land improvements), staff costs, activities, equipment, one-time events, and other core costs needed to support the project. Organisations are encouraged to collaborate. 

  • The Sylvia Waddilove Foundation UK: COVID–19 Emergency Fund (As at 26th February, this fund was still no longer accepting applications due to demand but more updates are expected) 

The Foundation has set up an emergency fund to help small to medium sized organisations who are struggling to manage the financial impact of COVID-19 either because of increased demand for their services or loss of income. The fund is targeted at organisations in a critical position.  Grants are for a maximum of £1,000


Further information will be provided by NICVA as it becomes available.'s picture
by Lynn Kennedy

Fundraising Advice Officer

[email protected]

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