Statements from key trusts & foundations on their COVID-19 responses

27 Mar 2020 Sandra Bailie    Last updated: 11 May 2020

Many funders have demonstrated flexibility during this time. Some with extra funding, others with allowing grant variations.  Below are links to statements by individual funders on how they are tackling COVID-19.

Key UK-Wide Funders

 A statement was released by the London Funders, a group of funders, including many UK-wide funders such as Paul Hamlyn Foundation, BB Children in Need, Tudor Trust, Esmée Fairbairn Foundation, and Joseph Rowntree, showing that they are taking action and putting plans in place.

They state that “We wish to be as helpful as possible during the coming weeks and months so that civil society groups can focus on the vital work of supporting some of the most vulnerable people in our communities. We understand that there will be times when staff and volunteers will not be available, when beneficiaries may need services to be provided in different ways, or when systems need to be flexible to ensure that needs are met.”

Below are links to some of the London Funders' individual websites to show what they are doing to help and support our sector.   

Key Northern Ireland Based Funders

The NI Trust Group is a membership group for many of NI's key funders.  To find out how they are responding to the COVID-19 pandemic see the individual statements below -

“Thanks to your support we are currently funding over 3,000 charities and projects working in the heart of communities right across the UK delivering much needed support to children and young people. Equally, our Emergency Essentials programme supports children and families in crisis. Our work (during Covid 19) is needed now more than ever and whilst we are taking steps to keep our staff safe we remain resolutely focused on this important charitable purpose.

“We are currently in unprecedented times, which often leads to unprecedented responses. In the last few days, several funders have come together in a unique partnership to release at least £50,000 of funds to local post primary schools in North Belfast in response to the Covid-19 outbreak.  Led by Belfast Charitable Society, funding will also be provided from the Halifax Foundation, UCIT, the Ulster University (Santander Universities Fund) and The National Lottery Community Fund. This funding will quickly and directly support the immediate needs of over 225 students across five secondary schools.”

“During the current health crisis Buttle UK is still fully operational, and committed to maintaining the distribution of our Chances for Children grants as closely to normal as possible.”

“COVID19 is an exceptional event that is having a major and rapidly accelerating impact on families and communities across the UK. We understand that it also has significant implications for Carnegie UK Trust’s many partners. We recognise that work programmes, outputs and payment dates may all need to change. Our approach during this time will be to be as kind, flexible and helpful as we can be to all those who we work with.”

“Thanks to the money raised by wonderful people like you, we fund hundreds of organisations which support the most vulnerable people in society. These are the people who will be hit hardest by coronavirus.  We're working to help the organisations we fund do whatever they can to respond to the coronavirus crisis.”

“In light of the ongoing Coronavirus issue the trustees have taken the decision to defer all non-critical funding applications.  Enkalon Foundation remains open and will focus our modest funding pot on charities and community groups who are working to support people in isolation and vulnerable members of society through this difficult time.”

“Fermanagh House, the social enterprise owned by local grant making charity the Fermanagh Trust is currently closed and staff are working from home. Therefore the Trust is redeploying it’s staff and resources to manage this helpline ‘Connect Fermanagh’ providing a local response to local need and reaching out to individuals in need of a listening ear.”​

Halifax Foundation NI are ensuring that grantholders are supported.  Brenda McMullan, Executive Director, made a statement that,

  • We will be reasonable if you need to request budget changes to ensure your projects can continue.
  • We will consider any project extension requests sympathetically.
  • If you think you will struggle to meet your end of project evaluation deadline please get in touch to request an extension.

NB - 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 small grants at an increased amount of up to £5000 for COVID-19 related projects.

Joseph Rowntree Foundation

“We welcome the Government's bold and compassionate measures that will offer security to families in this time of turmoil. Our briefing - updated on 3 April 2020 - sets out recommendations for more measures to help people who don't yet have the lifeline they need.”

​No specific statement regarding funding or COVID-19 response as of 10/04/20.

​No specific statement regarding funding or COVID-19 response as of 10/04/20.

Currently running a number of key NI funds specifically related to supporting organisations respond to COVID-19.

Due to the evolving Coronavirus situation, the Society’s office at Cutts House (Coleraine) is closed to callers with immediate effect until further notice.  Our staff are working remotely, so please continue to contact us by email or telephone as normal.  The Society will carry on its normal charitable support funding during these difficult times and will continue to work with other voluntary sector partners to offer help where it can.  In emergencies, contact us on 07876 477472.

Covid-19 funding support update - Using the unspent funds in the 2019-20 budget, Irish Society trustees and our local NI committee of cross-party elected councillors have this week authorised the spending of almost £11,000 in Covid-19 support:

The Society’s trustees will be meeting again shortly to review their plans for grant making in the new financial year starting on 1st May, in light of the continuing urgent need caused by Covid-19, and will make further announcements in due course.

The latest statement from NLCF is as follows -

All the funding decisions we make for the next six months (up to £300m of National Lottery funding) will be devoted to addressing the current crisis. In addition, we will accelerate the cash part of this funding as much as we can, so that we can get money to where it needs to be. This is not new money, but it will be faster money and we know that we must act quickly and with confidence.

For continually updated news on how National Lottery Community fund is helping grantholders see here

Current FAQS answered (10/04) include - 

The latest statement from National Lottery Heritage Fund is as follows - 

In order to meet the immediate needs of the organisations we support, we’ve made some changes so we can focus our efforts on support for the heritage sector:

  • We have halted all new Committee-level grants (£250,000-£5m) and single-stage delegated grants (£3,000-£250,000) until at least October 2020.
  • Organisations that have been selected to apply for Heritage Horizon Awards (grants over £5m) will be given more time and deferred  until the 2021/22 financial year. We will not be opening a further round of funding for Heritage Horizon Awards.  

In addition to an emergency grant scheme, they are also supporting the heritage sector by:

  • Enabling organisations that have received grant funding and are currently delivering projects to delay or change the way the projects are delivered. This can include changes to approved purposes, flexibility on costs within a project, early drawdown of grant payment, a relaxation of some conditions of the grant, and flexible use of contingency funding.
  • Providing bespoke advice and support via their local teams and in some cases, via thei specialist network of mentors.
  • Accelerating the provision of thei £1.2m Digital Skills for Heritage initiative to help the sector through the crisis and beyond. This will include support for organisations to run activities and events, reach audiences, engage volunteers, share content and fundraise online. 
  • For the longer term, to help with recovery from the current crisis, they have invested £4m in two Enterprise Development programmes for heritage leaders across the UK, and Business Support Programmes in all four countries. More information will be available in due course.

For continually updated news on how National Lottery Heritage Fund is helping see here

NB They have now also published their guidance around applying for money through the Heritage Emergency Fund

The Prince’s Trust and NatWest launch £5million grant fund for young entrepreneurs affected by coronavirus.  The initiative offers self-employed young people affected by the coronavirus outbreak flexible access to grants and business support

In view of the current global situation regarding COVID-19 (Coronavirus) we wish to offer guidance to support you, your business, staff, and those around you who may be vulnerable. UnLtd wants to provide as much support as possible whilst doing everything we can to protect everyone’s health. Therefore, in the immediate future, our offices will close, and we will continue to support you through one to one telephone calls, emails and online communications. We will also remain accessible to you via our website and social media channels (FacebookTwitterLinkedIn).

The Community Foundation are delighted to receive this first major contribution from Ulster Garden Villages were one of the first funders ot contribute to the Community Foundation for NI's Coronavirus Community Fund.  The local trust initially matched the original contribution of £70,000 from the Community Foundation to bring the fund total to £140,000. 

​​No specific statement regarding funding or COVID-19 response as of 10/04/20.'s picture
by Sandra Bailie

Head of Organisational Development

[email protected]

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