Statement from Dawn Austwick, CEO, The National Lottery Community Fund: Our funding approach in response to COVID-19
At this extraordinarily difficult time, we are all being challenged and moved in ways that seemed unimaginable just weeks ago.
Here at The National Lottery Community Fund, our first priority is to support people and communities through our funding in the best way we can, recognising that we cannot help everyone.
As many of you know, we have been talking to grant holders and partners to understand the nature of their response to COVID-19 and to see what we can do to support them.
So far, we have of course honoured our existing commitments to grant holders and offered them flexibility so that they can focus on supporting their communities.
We have now made two additional decisions. Firstly, 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.
In deciding how to implement this approach we have to make some tough choices about how we get that money out quickly to those communities and organisations that need it most. We will do our best to be fair and true to our principles and to you.
To reach those groups best placed to support their communities at this vital time, we will prioritise the following faster payments for existing grant holders and applicants using the following criteria:
- Activities specifically geared to supporting communities through this crisis
- Helping organisations overcome any liquidity issues caused by COVID-19.
We are doing this because we know it is critical right now to work harder as a funder to get cash out of the door and hope that by acting quickly we can help organisations at the fore-front of the current crisis, when support is needed most.
Should we get through this initial tranche of support with some funding left or circumstances change, we will move to set new priorities. We know that this means some groups will not be able to access our funding over the coming months and we will endeavour to return to our broader support as soon as we can.
Things are moving at pace and we will keep our approach under constant review. We are also going to continue our exploration of how this crisis is changing how we live as communities and how civil society itself is changed.
Keep talking to us, keep sharing your stories, and keep telling us what we can do differently to help. If we can, we will.
CEO, The National Lottery Community Fund
- Date published