New & Updated COVID-19 Funds from Trusts & Foundations

27 Mar 2020 Lynn Kennedy    Last updated: 28 May 2020

Updates on all COVID-19 related funding from Trusts & Foundations for your organisation

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 800 more relevant to Northern Irish charities), on GrantTracker, our funding database.  And we're still offering a month's free access to GrantTracker to any organisation in the sector who needs it in these challenging times.


A £6 million, single round Covid-19 Impact Programme for Armed Forces charities and CICs to help them ensure that people from Armed Forces communities can keep accessing important services, where resources for these services have been impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic.

The purpose of the Tampon Tax Fund is to allocate the funds generated from the VAT on sanitary products to projects that improve the lives of disadvantaged women and girls. For 2020/2021 they welcome organisations applying to this round of funding to include activities that seek to address the consequences of COVID-19 for disadvantaged women and girls.

Offering 5 grants of £10,000 to organisations working in the community and voluntary sector, who are delivering innovative and new projects offering additional value in social care at this time, in areas where statutory support is falling short of need, is limited, or in some places currently non-existent, as the public sector focuses on emergencies. The area of benefit is County Antrim only.  

Administered by Groundwork NI, the new ESB Northern Ireland COVID-19 Emergency Fund offers £250-£1000 grants for COVID-19 emergency projects and activities to support vulnerable people in ESB wind farms' areas of benefit.

Independent Age Grants Fund is a £2 million fund to help smaller organisations across the UK working with older people hardest hit by the virus.  Their Grants Fund will comprise of four separate funding rounds. In each round they will make £500,000 available where organisations can apply to receive up to £15,000 each.

Provides financial support to organisations, community and grassroots groups working to redress the impact of COVID-19 and beyond on those who identify as POC (which includes other terms such as BAME, racialised people, black indigenous, people of colour BIPOC). They understand that many POC experience crisis on a daily basis and their commitment is to get money to the people who need it most.   Grants range from £5,000 to £50,000 and for their first wave of funding they aim to redistribute £500,000.

COVID-19 FUNDS CURRENTLY OPEN (Including this week's new funds)

Every three months, £250,000 is shared equally among their UK employees to donate to the forward thinking projects that matter to them most. Each charity can apply for up to £50,000. In addition to the usual 2 key funding areas of community resilience and financial capability and inclusion, for the current round of funding they have broadened the eligibility criteria to include core running costs of causes looking to adapt or continue their vital services throughout the COVID-19 outbreak.

The COVID-19 2020 Booster Grants programme will open to current BBC Children in Need grant-holders from Monday 18th May 2020 and will enable organisations to apply for funding up to £5,000 over a 6 month period.

The COVID-19 Large Grants programme will open to applications from 8th June 2020 and will enable organisations to apply for funding up to £80,000 over an 18 month period.

The Childs Charitable trust has introduced an Emergency Funding programme to support charities that are experiencing financial difficulties as a result of the current pandemic. The trust particularly welcomes applications from Christian based organisations.

Grants of up to £2500 for community based food provision responses that support local families with children under the age of 10 as a result of the order to close schools and/or loss of household income as a result of the COVID-19 virus. As the closure order may run into the summer holiday period the fund is keen to support community based programmes that can provide support across this entire period.  (Managed by Community Foundation for NI)

The Community Foundation for Northern Ireland's Coronavirus Community Fund is a key NI fund and aims to help constituted groups in NI to deal with the emerging issues of Coronavirus.  

NB This fund has been continually widening its focus.  The fund is now offering grants of up to 10K for the following -  

  • Older people (aged over 50) 
  • Those at increased risk, particularly in relation to poor mental health and wellbeing
  • Vulnerable isolated people and families, particularly those living in rural areas, families where a parent/ both parents have lost their employment or where children are living in poverty
  • Children and young people’s projects, particularly focusing on the voice of young people and connecting through creative mediums.  
  • Black, Asian and ethnic minority communities

NB Safeguarding guidelines changed on 27/03 to reflect the fact that groups want to respond to immediate COVID-19 issues and may not yet have full adult safeguarding policies and procedures in place.  

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.

Cookstown and Western Shores Area Network (CWSAN) is providing a limited number of small grants of £150 each to assist very localised and isolated communities in rural areas throughout Mid Ulster during the COVID-19 pandemic.  This small grant is for safety equipment and fuel for volunteers up to a maximum of £150 for small local emergency support groups only who are working right across their local communities.

The Enkalon Foundation will move the focus of their modest funding pot to charities and community organisations helping people who are isolated and vulnerable in their local communities at this difficult time. As a small funder they focus their funding based on their core objectives in the former Antrim Borough Council area. All potential applicants need to contact the administrator directly with an outline of the new or existing project.

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.

Update: they will be making an additional £16 million of funding available this year in response to COVID-19.  £14 million will be in fast-response grants for organisations they currently support across all of their sectors: the arts, children and young people, environment, food and social change. £2 million will be for contributions to emergency funding schemes in collaboration with others.  They are currently closed to new applications so that they can concentrate support on the organisations they already fund.  They had planned to reopen their new grant programmes (in line with their new strategy) in May, but this has now been delayed until September.

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.

HFNI had initially focused COVID-19 funding on their SMALL and MEDIUM grants, with Large and Special Initiatives grants on hold for now due to the activity based nature of these programmes. They also moved from quarterly to weekly grant making to decrease turnaround time.  Due to overwhelming demand, they are now offering a single grants scheme offering grants of up to £5000 for COVID-19 related projects.  The aim is to make it easier for charities to access aid quickly to provide vital services during the Covid-19 crisis. So far, they've awarded £439K to 80 charities and are hoping to help as many as they can. #WeStandWithTheSector

Funded by M&S Family (including M&S Bank and M&S Energy), Lidl, Aldi, Danone UK & Ireland and Coca-Cola European Partners this new fund supports community organisations helping those most at risk during the Coronavirus crisis.  The partners have committed a combined total of almost £500,000 to the Fund, to provide immediate micro-grants to community organisations that are helping the people most affected by the outbreak, including the elderly, those on low incomes and people at risk of food insecurity.   NB As of 25th May, more than 594K had been allocated out of an increased funding pot of £1.16 million (The original funding pot was just 500K.)  

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.

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.

In collaboration with the Legal Education Foundation and the Esmée Fairbairn Foundation, provides grants of up to £40,000 for one year to support legal action in all its forms – empowering, persuading, challenging – that seeks to protect vulnerable individuals and communities from the impact of Covid-19 and the response to the pandemic from public authorities, businesses, and communities.  ​  

Hardship grants of between £1,500 and £2,500 to enable individuals, including those on short-term PAYE contracts, to survive financially while they explore other ways of sustaining themselves during COVID-19. £1 million will be available to applicants living in England, and £500,000 to those living in NI

All funding decisions for the next six months (up to £300m of National Lottery funding) will be devoted to addressing the current crisis. In addition, they are accelerating the cash part of this funding as much as they can, so that they can get money to where it needs to be. This is not new money, but it will be faster money.

The new level of Heritage Emergency Fund grants are worth £50,000-£250,000. Available to all past and current National Lottery Heritage Fund grantees and can be used to cover essential costs for up to four months.  Intended to help organisations in the heritage sector address immediate risks, become more stable and work towards longer-term recovery after the crisis.  The new grants are in addition to the existing £3,000-£50,000 Heritage Emergency Fund grants which were launched in mid-April as the crisis began to unfold and will be open until 30th June. FAQ

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. The money raised is now available through the Community Foundation for NI's Coronavirus Community Fund - see above.   It released £2.5m to community foundations on 26th March.  (NB There is no separate fund.)​

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.

A new £5million grant and one to one support and guidance fund for young entrepreneurs aged 18-30 affected by coronavirus. Grants can be used to maintain core business operations during the crisis, as well as meet any existing financial commitments, such as paying for essential equipment or settling invoices from suppliers

The Support Grants and Loans Package aims to support the electrical waste reuse and recycling sector as a result of the impact of the coronavirus.  It will provide £5 million of interest free loans to electrical waste treatment facilities and £0.6 million of grants to charity sector reuse organisations.


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.

A fund specifically to help smaller charitable organisations affected by the impact  of Covid-19. Grants of up to £10,000 are available to whose providing much needed support to our communities across the UK. This is intended as a rapid response fund, and they aim to make payments to selected organisations within 14 days of application. 

The Clothworkers’ Emergency Capital Programme (CECP) provides small capital grants of up to £5,000 for essential capital items to adapt or increase services in response to the novel coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic. Priority will be given to organisations supporting vulnerable and ‘at risk’ groups within their programme areas during this period. NB Note: Had intended to re-open on Monday 4th May, but still paused. 

Crisis has established an emergency grants fund to support local groups who are financially affected by additional demands on their resources and who have expanded their provision to meet the current needs of those experiencing homelessness across the UK. There are two types of grant - Awards of up to £5k for short term responses to Coronavirus emergency, and Awards of up to £50K for long term needs such as potential expansion and change of services.  NB Update: Paused

Edge Fund funds work that challenges abuses of power and aims to bring an end to the systems that cause injustice.   They fund small groups that struggle to get funding elsewhere, particularly if other funders might consider them to be too radical.  This is a new funding round for small grants, distributed quickly, for previously funded groups working to respond to the COVID-19 crisis.  NB they hope to run future rounds which may also be open to groups not previously funded by them.

In the light of the unprecedented challenges that now face small charities providing vital services to the most vulnerable members of our community, their small grants programme invites applications from UK registered charities which are currently supporting the homeless or those at risk of becoming homeless, provision of food and essential supplies, victims of domestic violence or nursing care to vulnerable patients.  Grants of up to £3000.  UPDATE: The application form for Stage 1 of their emergency small grants funding round is now CLOSED to new applicants.  See an update on their COVID-19 funding to end June 2020 here.

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.

New applications to the Sports Hardship Fund are suspended pending confirmation of additional funding. The Department for Communities £500,000 fund, with an additional £250,000, managed by SportNI, aims to provide financial assistance through a £2000 grant to sports clubs and organisations to assist with essential overheads and the costs of maintaining their facilities during the Covid-19 lockdown period.   UPDATE  Now closed pending further funding becoming available.

The Arts Council of NI's new £500,000 Artists Emergency Programme (AEP), aims to support artists and performers during the COVID-19 crisis. Freelance artists, creative practitioners and performers can apply for grants of up to £5,000 each.

The Fore is a partner of the Big Lottery Fund and the only open-access funder in the UK offering development funding and strategic support to early-stage charities and social enterprises. The new Rapid Action by The Fore and Trusts (RAFT) Emergency Fund is providing emergency grants of up to £5,000 to help small charities and social enterprises respond to the COVID-19 crisis.  Grants are to help organisations address the changing needs of their beneficiaries and increase their organisational resilience. Currently this will only open to existing grantees but they are aiming to raise £1 million funding to extend to other organisations. NB Paused since 24th April pending further funding becoming available.


Arts & Business NI have designated a dedicated seed fund as part of their Investment Programme to allow arts organisations and individual practitioners to develop a range of relevant and timely resources to assist the families of business employees as they adjust to their new living and working arrangements. They will be awarding funds of between £500 - £1,000 to a range of separate arts organisations and individual practitioners. Deadline for applications 5pm 24th April 2020. All applicants must be able to roll out their product from early May 2020.

Urgent funding for emergency food parcels, hardship payments and small grants (average £500). They are also accepting donations for the appeal. To request support you send an email to them.  UPDATE  Closed to new applications in NI and unlikely to reopen until 2021.

The Henderson Group are responding to the current Coronavirus (COVID-19) crisis with a new ‘Community Cashback’ fund of £20,000 to support communities in need in Northern Ireland.  Using an online public voting system , for 4 weeks from 20th April, each week will see groups receiving £2000 (1st place), £1500 (2nd place), £1000 (3rd place) or £500 (4th place).

The Irish Rugby Football Union created a €500,000 Club Continuity Fund, to provide grants to those clubs who are most at risk due to the pandemic. Such clubs may apply for a grant of up to €5,000.

Legal and General are offering grants of £5,000-£10,000 through their £500,000 emergency community fund for charities and voluntary organisations supporting older and vulnerable people through the COVID 19 crisis.  The application process is open until 20 April. Charitable organisations who generate under £1.5m  of income doing amazing community work for the elderly or vulnerable people, can apply.  UPDATE- now closed.

Grants are available from £500 to £5,000 for volunteer and community groups, all school and third level education organisations, youth groups and sports clubs for civic pride projects. This scheme will also fund community groups to support the needs of local people impacted through reduced contact with society.  The help that could be supported includes: Emerging issues in the community as a result of the continuing threat of COVID-19, and Grow Your Own projects and materials to encourage new skills development, extend virtual environmental education opportunities to the wider community and to provide positive interventions to tackle loneliness and isolation in response to COVID-19.

£1,000,000 was available from MoneySavingExpert's Martin Lewis for grants of £5,000 to £20,000 to small registered charities, or local arms of bigger charities, across the UK – to help with specific UK coronavirus-related poverty relief projects.   Update 30th April - Instead of the original £1 million, £2.15 million has been awarded to about 247 small charities and community action groups. With donations from other high net worth individuals, the final total awarded may be £3.25 million.  HOWEVER, this will be for those who have already applied.  No new applications will be considered.

OFCOM’s Community Radio Fund helps to fund the core costs of running Ofcom-licensed community radio stations. For 2020-21, grants will be provided as emergency cash funding to support stations facing severe financial difficulty due to the coronavirus (“Covid-19”) outbreak.

Emergency Awards of up to £1500 for constituted, community organisations to deal with emerging issues, affecting Housing Executive communities, as a result of Covid-19.  Includes Housing Community Network Groups, Organisations and Social Enterprises within Housing Executive Communities providing support within Housing Executive areas.

Accelerating its annual Hospice Fund programme, in recognition of the additional pressures many hospices are experiencing due to COVID-19 and the associated restrictions on normal activities. For 2020, the Trust has simplified the application process and amended its normal eligibility criteria. The available funding will be used to provide one-off grants of up to £5,000 to support hospices’ core costs. Applications will only be accepted from hospices that are charities registered in the UK, and are members of either Hospice UK or Together for Short Lives. Applications will not be accepted from faith-based charities, charities operating outside the UK or for multi-year funding. The closing date for applications is midnight on the 10th May 2020.

Funding is available for work directly related to the pandemic, addressing specific challenges and helping to contribute to social change which tackles financial problems and improves living standards for those on low-to-middle incomes in the UK. Projects funded may last only a few weeks or months but some may be longer. Grants will range from £5,000 to £50,000 or larger amounts in extenuating circumstances.

Grants of between £250 and £1,000 to small swimming and aquatic organisations experiencing short-term financial hardship from the effects of COVID-19, especially where access to financial support is not otherwise available. These range from National Governing Body Affiliated Swim Clubs, Aquatic Clubs and Swim Schools to Independent Swimming Organisations.

Tesco Bags of Help is responding to the current Coronavirus (COVID-19) crisis by setting up a new short-term fund to support local communities. Due to the need to respond quickly to the emergency we have created a streamlined application process and payment process to make it easier to get funds distributed quickly. If your application is successful the fund will provide a single payment award of £500 to organisations who are supporting vulnerable groups. click here for more information.   UPDATE  Now closed in NI and other areas across the UK.

A £10 million programme, offering 100 donations of £100,000 to UK registered charities working to support vulnerable communities impacted by COVID-19, and the associated social and economic hardship caused by the crisis.  Will focus on supporting charity partners meeting the immediate needs of people in their communities, including low income families, those facing financial hardship, isolated elderly people and key workers.  Applicants must have an income in excess of £1 million per year and be active in communities where Barclays‘ has a presence.

Funds of $10,000-$50,000 for 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.  Only open to those awarded an Elton John AIDS Foundation grant since January 2017, for solutions lasting up to six months.

As the world faces an unprecedented challenge, The North Face are committing €1 million through their COVID-19 Explore Fund to support the outdoor communities that make exploration possible during COVID-19.  Grant requests range from €1000 to €50,000.

Offering £100k of emergency funding for farming & rural community groups providing assistance during the COVID 19 crisis. Groups can apply for up to £2,500 of funding. Applications close Wednesday 15th April.   

Thomas Pocklington Trust (TPT) has suspended its normal grant funding activities and set up an emergency fund for sight loss organisations. £500,000 of essential support will be available to sight loss sector organisations which are providing critical services for the physical and emotional well-being of blind and partially sighted people in these uncertain times. Grants will be available of up to £10,000 pounds or the equivalent of two months’ running costs (whichever is less) for use over the next six months. UPDATE  They have now closed this programme to new applications.

Grants of between £10,000 and £25,000 to support vocational learning providers to rapidly transition to remote teaching and training and deliver accessible learning at a time of significant change. The aim of the fund is to enable those in work or training to continue to engage with their vocational learning programmes during this period of travel disruption.'s picture
by Lynn Kennedy

Fundraising Advice Officer

[email protected]

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