Further Assistance for Charities Announced by the Government

Further Assistance for Charities Announced by the Government

The Charity Commission and the Government have both been issuing a lot of guidance for the charity sector about how it can respond to the challenges presented by the current situation and the support available to charities, many of which will be seriously impacted at this time. It is summarised here.

It covers advice on how charities can ensure they continue to act within their objects when offering support to those affected by the virus and practical advice on holding meetings and AGMs It also includes guidance on the use of reserves and restricted funds, as well as links to information about the Government’s support package for charities, which Chancellor Rishi Sunak announced on Wednesday 8 April.

Under this package, charities across the UK will receive a £750 million package of support to ensure they can continue their vital work during the coronavirus outbreak. The Government believes that tens of thousands of charities providing vital services will benefit from direct cash grants to ensure they can meet increased demand as a result of the virus as well as continuing their day-to-day activities supporting those in need. As part of a UK-wide package of support,£360 million will be directly allocated by government departments to charities providing key services and supporting vulnerable people during the crisis. As well as this, £370 million will be made available for small and medium-sized charities, including through a grant to the National Lottery Community Fund for those in England, which will support those organisations at the heart of local communities which are making a big difference during the outbreak, including those delivering food, essential medicines and providing financial advice.

The Chancellor also announced the Government will match fund whatever the public donates to the BBC’s Big Night In charity appeal on 23 April, starting with a contribution of at least £20 million to the National Emergencies Trust appeal.

Charities providing vital services and helping vulnerable people through the current crisis will benefit from the £360 million allocated by government departments which will identify priority recipients, with the aim for charities to receive money in the coming weeks.

These will include:

  • Hospices to help increase capacity and give stability to the sector
  • St Johns Ambulance to support the NHS
  • Victims charities, including domestic abuse, to help with potential increase in demand for charities providing these services
  • Vulnerable children charities, so they can continue delivering services on behalf of local authorities
  • Citizens Advice to increase the number of staff providing advice during this difficult time

For those smaller Charities, to which £370million of grant aid will be available, more details are awaited, but the National Lottery Community Fund grant pot is expected to be operational within the next few weeks.

We will continue to update our charity clients of any further Government assistance.

The Government package builds on previous announcements by the Chancellor to support charities and businesses, including deferring their VAT bills, paying no business rates for their shops next year, and furloughing staff where possible with the Government paying 80% of their wages.