COVID-19 – how we are supporting our grant holders at this difficult time
Hopefully you will have read our CEO’s recent statement about what we are doing to support our grant holders.
We recognise that you, the charities and voluntary sector organisations we fund, have a vital role to play in supporting communities. We are committed to working hard to ensure as much of this important work can continue as possible, and we will be open and responsive to our grantees as you try to adapt to difficult circumstances.
Our priority is to keep money flowing so that you can continue to support people and communities. We’ve talked about the flexibility we will offer. Below is Q&A to help you understand what we mean by this. Please note that we are actively reviewing our response and therefore this will likely be adapted in a few days.
Last updated: 12:30, Thursday 2 April 2020
Will the Fund continue to operate as normal and make payments?
Yes - we have systems in place to ensure that our staff can work from home effectively and that grant payments can continue as planned.
1. What are you doing to support me / grantholders?
Our grantholders have a vital role to play in supporting their communities at a very difficult time. We understand that their plans may need to change due to Government and health advice.
We urge all grantholders to follow the latest Government recommendations and we trust them to do what is necessary to support people and their communities.
We understand that this situation could have an impact on the delivery and completion of projects and events. Where possible, we will work with all our grantholders in a way that is flexible to changing circumstances:
We will support you to support your communities – we trust you to know what is best. This means that:
- We will be flexible with regards to your current grant: for example,
- accommodating changes to timelines
- accommodating changes to activity to respond to the current climate and critical local needs
- We will support you and your teams through this crisis: for example,
- continuing to pay staff salary so that you can support existing staff who need to be off sick, self-isolate or have caring responsibilities
- considering any requests for support if you experience particular financial pressures as a result of the situation
We don’t want you to worry about deadlines and reporting: for example
- we will be flexible with regards to reporting
- if you record any changes you are making to your project, we can reconcile it all later.
If you need to postpone an event or activity that we have funded – you do not need to let us know, but please record the change so we can reconcile it at a later date.
If you are adapting an event or activity so as to avoid any risk of exposing people to the virus - you do not need to let us know, but please record the change so that we can reconcile it later on.
If you are making significant changes to what you will be using your grant for – such as deciding to making wholesale changes to your plans and activity offer then please do get in touch with your funding officer to discuss your plans.
If you are unsure about the changes you are making and how they may affect your grant - please do get in touch with your funding officer. We will be very happy to discuss your plans and provide reassurance.
Your named funding officer should be your first point of contact for any queries/concerns – failing that you can get in touch with us via the contacts provided on our Contact Us page.
2. Will you still be able to make payments to grantees?
Yes - we expect to be able to make all payments to grant holders as scheduled.
3. Are you advising we should we cancel our events/activities?
We ask that you exercise your own judgement based on current Government and health advice. We are operating in a spirit of trust and recognise that grantholders will be in the best position to judge the appropriateness of activities.
4. If we cancel or rearrange we will be charged a cancellation fee – can this be paid through our grant?
5. Our key workers are ill so we can’t deliver services – will we be in breach of our grant terms?
No. We accept this is likely to happen and that some delivery will be affected and expect you to use your grant to continue to pay staff who may be sick, need to self-isolate or have caring responsibilities and to keep track of this spend in the normal way. This is something you can then update us on later as part of your reporting to us.
6. We want to purchase additional items not included in our budget so as to adapt to the situation – is that OK?
Yes – if the impact on your budget will be significant please get in touch with your funding officer to discuss your plans. If it’s minor then we trust your judgement in how you support your community. Please record the change though so we can reconcile it at a later date.
7. We’ve just been awarded funding and want to delay the start of our project in view of the current situation – is that OK?
Yes – given current circumstances we can extend for up to six months with a view to reviewing again at a later date should it be necessary.
8. We’re going to incur additional costs as a result of supporting our community through this health crisis – what can you do to help us?
We are here to support communities so if you want to talk to us about the situation you’re facing, we are keen to hear from you. We are also contacting some grantholders, partners and stakeholders across the sector to understand how they are responding to the crisis to understand how we can continue to support communities in the short to medium term.
9. I applied for and received a #CelebrateNationalLottery25 grant and was planning to host an event some time over the next few months. Are you advising I don’t go ahead with this any longer? And if not, what are the implications for my grant?
We are advising all those we work with to keep a close eye on any developments and to follow advice from the relevant health authorities, if considering whether to postpone activities. You may find this NHS advice helpful in guiding your decision.
If you do need to postpone you do not need to let us know. We trust our grantees to reschedule events in line with the latest Government advice. Please record the change so that we can reconcile it at a later date.
10. I have a meeting with someone at the Fund, is this still taking place?
All our staff (with minimal exceptions) are now working from home. The person you are meeting will be in touch to let you know what is happening and to make alternative arrangements such as changing the meeting to phone or internet-based.
11. Are you providing any different or additional funding to help communities manage the impact of COVID-19?
We’re looking at options and will keep people informed of any changes. Currently, where possible, we will work with grantholders in a way that is flexible to changing circumstances when it comes to managing their grant.
We work closely with people in the communities we serve and, so we will be working with them to respond to their needs and priorities in the coming months, whether in relation to COVID-19 or beyond.
Our funding remains open to applications. For details on what we’re funding, please read the statement from our CEO Dawn Austwick.
We know this situation presents a challenge for communities, and vulnerable people in particular. However, we also know connections are important and can help those who are feeling isolated so we are working with granteholders, partners and our staff to support people across the UK at this time as best we can.
12. Can I still apply for funding?
Yes, but you will need to bear in mind the impact of COVID-19 on any delivery plans. Our funding remains open to applications.
For details on what we’re funding, please read the statement from our CEO Dawn Austwick.
13. I recently applied for funding – will it still be considered? Will the decision be delayed?
We expect to complete assessment of grant applications as usual in line with our published decision times for different programmes. We may contact you to discuss your plans if they look like they might need to change because of the current situation, or if it looks like you may need to adapt your delivery methods.
14. I can’t get hold of my funding officer and I understand you’ve made changes to your AdviceLine?
In the event that you cannot get hold of your funding officer/named contact then please follow the contact advice provided on our Contact Us page.
The changes we have made are to ensure that customer queries can be handled while our staff work remotely – even if someone uses our old contact details they will still be pointed in the right direction.
Building Better Opportunities (BBO) grantees only
We are being similarly flexible with BBO grant holders. Please call your Funding Officer if you are unsure what it means for you.