COVID-19 has created extra challenges for the social sector. Many of your staff may now be working from home. You may have had to cancel events and change how you support your service users.
There is support out there to help, from new technologies to guidance and funding, but it isn’t always easy to find. We’re trying to bring all the relevant resources together on this page and will be updating it regularly.
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- Resilience and Recovery Loan Fund (RRLF)
- COVID-19 Emergency Funding for Charities and Social Sector Organisations
- Charity Bank’s response to COVID-19.
This page was last updated on 07 January 2021.
What measures has the Government announced that will help charities and social enterprises affected by COVID-19?
Government support measures of interest include:
Support finder tool
On 20 April 2020 the government announced a new 'support finder' tool to help charities, businesses and self-employed people across the UK to determine what financial support is available to them during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Funding for frontline charities
On 8 April 2020 the government announced a £750 million package of funding to support the work of charities during the coronavirus outbreak, this includes:
£370 million for small and medium-sized charities, including through a grant to the National Lottery Community Fund for those in England, to support local organisations including those delivering food, essential medicines and providing financial advice.
£360 million to be directly allocated by government departments to charities providing key services and supporting vulnerable people during the crisis. Charities set to benefit include:
- hospices to help increase capacity
- St Johns Ambulance to support the NHS
- victims charities, to help with potential increase in demand
- 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 the crisis
Details of additional sources of COVID-19 funding for charities and social enterprises are detailed here.
Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme
The scheme will cover up to 80 per cent of wages for those who would otherwise have been laid off due to COVID-19. The scheme has been extended until 30 April 2021. All UK businesses, including charities and social enterprises, are eligible.
To access the support employers will need to designate affected employees as ‘furloughed workers’ and notify employees of this change; then submit information on ‘furloughed workers’ to HMRC via a new online portal.
- National Insurance and pension: The Government will pay employer National Insurance contributions and minimum automatic enrolment employer pension contributions of furloughed workers in addition to 80% of salary.
- Volunteering while furloughed: A furloughed employee can take part in training and volunteer, if it does not provide services to or generate revenue for your organisation.
- Student Loans and Apprenticeship Levy: Grants from the Job Retention Scheme do not cover these, and they should continue to be paid as normal.
Additional guidance on the individuals who are eligible for the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, which includes some individuals that are not employees, has been added.
Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS)
Small and medium-sized UK businesses may be able to access bank lending and overdrafts. To be considered you must have a turnover of under £45 million and meet the other British Business Bank eligibility criteria.
Resilience and Recovery Loan Fund (RRLF)
The Resilience and Recovery Loan Fund (RRLF) has been established to make the Government’s existing Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS) more easily accessible to charities and social enterprises. Charity Bank is supporting RRLF by helping to deliver the Fund for eligible organisations. Applications for the Resilience and Recovery Loan Fund are now open.
Bounce Back Loan Scheme (BBLS)
On 4 May 2020 the Government launched the Bounce Back Loan Scheme (BBLS) to enable businesses and charities to obtain a six-year term loan at a Government set interest rate of 2.5% a year. The Government will cover interest payable in the first year.
- Up to £50,000 loan: Loans will be from £2,000 up to 25% of a business’ turnover or £50,000, whichever is lower.
- 100% guarantee: The scheme provides the lender with a government-backed, full guarantee (100%) against the outstanding facility balance, both capital and interest. The borrower always remains 100% liable for the debt.
- Interest rate: The government has set the interest rate for this facility at 2.5% per annum, meaning businesses will all benefit from the same, low rate of interest.
- Interest paid by government for 12 months: The government will make a Business Interruption Payment to the lenders to cover the first 12 months of interest payable, so businesses will benefit from no upfront costs.
- No principal repayments for first 12 months: Borrowers will not have to begin principal repayments for the first 12 months, thereafter capital will be repaid on a straight line basis.
- No guarantee fee for businesses or lenders to access the scheme.
- Finance terms: The length of the loan is for six years but early repayment is allowed, without early repayment fees.
- No personal guarantees: No personal guarantees are allowed, and no recovery action can be taken over a principal private residence or principal private vehicle.
Following the Government announcement on 17 December 2020, BBLS has been extended until 31 March 2021.
Deferring VAT payments
VAT payments can be deferred for three months from 20 March 2020 until 30 June 2020. All UK businesses are eligible. No applications required.
Statutory Sick Pay relief
Relief to reclaim Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) paid to employees for sickness absence due to COVID-19 available to any UK business with under 250 employees. Employers should maintain records of staff absences and payments of SSP. The Coronavirus Statutory Sick Pay Rebate Scheme provide employers with details to claim back employees’ coronavirus-related Statutory Sick Pay.
Rates holiday for retail, hospitality, leisure and nursery businesses
A 12-month business rates holiday for all retail, hospitality, leisure and nursery businesses in England for the 2020 to 2021 tax year. No action is required. The government has published guidance for local authorities on determining eligibility criteria for business rate relief. Nursery discount guidance has been published here.
Grants for retail, hospitality and leisure businesses
The Retail and Hospitality Grant Scheme provides retail, hospitality and leisure businesses in England with a cash grant of up to £25,000 per property. Those of a rateable value of under £15,000, will receive £10,000. Those with a rateable value between £15,001 and £51,000, will receive £25,000. No action is required. Your local authority will write to you if you are eligible for this grant. For more information visit the GOV.UK website.
Update 2 January 2021: The Chancellor has announced a one-off top up grants for retail, hospitality and leisure businesses
worth up to £9,000 per property to help businesses through to the Spring.
HMRC Time To Pay Scheme
UK businesses in financial distress, and with outstanding tax liabilities, may be eligible to receive support with their tax affairs through HMRC’s Time To Pay service. These arrangements will be considered on a case-by-case basis. If you have missed a tax payment or you might miss your next payment due to COVID-19, call HMRC’s Coronavirus helpline on 0800 024 1222.
Gift Aid on payments for cancelled events
Theatres and cultural venues recognised as charities will be able to retain Gift Aid on the value of tickets for cancelled events, if the customers agree not to be refunded and for the payment to be treated as a donation.
The COVID-19 Wales Business Loan Scheme
The Welsh Government has announced a £100m 'COVID-19 Wales Business Loan Scheme' to support Welsh businesses, social enterprises and charities affected by the COVID-19 outbreak.
The Scheme will be available from the Development Bank of Wales for a limited period. It is intended to provide support to businesses who are experiencing cash flow difficulties as a result of the pandemic.
Find out more on the COVID-19 Wales Business Loan Scheme.
Update: January 2021 – The COVID-19 Wales Business Loan Scheme is now fully subscribed.
Further information from the government:
- GOV.UK: COVID-19 Coronavirus (COVID-19) in the UK
- Public Health England: Coronavirus guidance
- NHS coronavirus advice
- Worldometer: Global statistics on the coronavirus
- World Health Organisation (WHO): Information and guidance on COVID-19
- European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC)
- Financial Times: Coronavirus tracked - the latest figures as the pandemic spreads
Free business support for charities:
Cranfield Trust provide free tailored business support to charities and the social sector. During this challenging time, all services can be accessed remotely, so you can still get the expert business support you need, wherever you are.
Here are some of the ways Cranfield Trust can help you – all these services are free for charities to access:
- 1:1 telephone support - from experts on topics including finance, communication, and business contingency planning.
- HRNet - tailored HR and employment advice for charities in England and Wales.
- Management Consultancy – longer term support, to help your charity thrive.
- Mentoring - personal support for leaders in difficult times.
Free legal assistance for charities and social enterprises:
LawWorks provides free legal assistance to smaller charities and social enterprises supporting those who are vulnerable or disadvantaged. The LawWorks Not-for-Profits Programme connects volunteer solicitors with smaller social sector organisations in need of legal advice.
To find out more and to see if your organisation is eligible for support, visit the LawWorks website.
Further guidance for charities and social enterprises:
- Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations (SCVO): Coronavirus Third Sector Information Hub
- Wales Council for Voluntary Action (WCVA): COVID-19 guidance
- Northern Ireland Council for Voluntary Action (NICVA): COVID-19 guidance
- Social Enterprise UK: Coronavirus Support and Resources
- Social Enterprise Mark: Support and Resources for Social Enterprises during the COVID-19 crisis
NCVO: Working with staff
- Employees and sick leave
- Supporting staff to work from home
- Meeting your equality duties as an employer
NCVO: Contingency planning and financial implications
- GOV.UK: Guidance for social or community care and residential settings on COVID-19
- GOV.UK: Coronavirus (COVID-19) Education and childcare
- NHS England: Coronavirus information for health professionals
- GOV.UK: Filing charity annual returns during the Coronavirus pandemic
- GOV.UK: Guidance on charities and risk management
- Zurich: Organisational resilience guidance on pandemic planning
- Charities Facilities Management Group: Business continuity for charities
- Association of Chairs: Coronavirus- what can Chairs do?
- Charities and Coronavirus: An update from OSCR the Scottish charity regulator
- Bates Wells: Navigating COVID-19 legal issues
- WEIL: COVID-19
- Mills & Reeve: Coronavirus
- Linklaters: Covid-19 - Practical guidance on significant commercial and legal issues
- Charity Commission on safe giving to charities as communities respond to Coronavirus
- Action Fraud: Coronavirus-related fraud reports increase by 400% in March
- Action Fraud: Charities
- Action Fraud: Loan Scams
- INTERPOL: INTERPOL warns of financial fraud linked to COVID-19
- Fraud Advisory Panel
- Financial Conduct Authority (FCA): Avoid coronavirus scams
- GOV.UK: Coronavirus (COVID-19): advice on how to protect yourself and your business from fraud and cyber crime
- ACAS: Coronavirus (COVID-19): guidance for employers and employees
- Croner: Coronavirus Q&A for UK Employers
- VWV: Coronavirus Employment Implications - FAQs for Charities
- CIPD: Coronavirus (COVID-19) advice for UK employers
- Covid-19 Mutual Aid UK: volunteers supporting local community groups
- NCVO: Volunteering and Coronavirus – How Can You Help?
- Charity Finance Group guidance
- Good Finance: COVID-19 Resource Hub for Charities & Social Enterprises
- National Emergencies Trust: UK disaster relief fund for frontline charities
- Scottish Government: £350m fund for councils, charities, businesses and community groups
- Charity Excellence Framework: COVID-19 Funder Database and Toolkits
Charity Bank has developed a list of emergency funds for charities and social enterprises that are experiencing difficulties. Read more
Fundraising & Philanthropy:
- Chartered Institute of Fundraising: Information for fundraisers about coronavirus
- NPC: Why government and philanthropists must come together for charities now
- GOV.UK: COVID-19 travel advice
- GOV.UK: COVID-19 stay at home guidance
- NI Direct: Coronavirus (COVID-19) international travel advice
- Social Investors: respond to COVID-19 (co-signed by Charity Bank)
- Grant Funders: respond to COVID-19
- National Lottery Community Fund: response to COVID-19
Mental health resource:
- Mind: Coronavirus and your wellbeing
- NHS: Mental wellbeing while staying at home
- Mental Health Foundation: How to look after your mental health during the Coronavirus outbreak
Working from home resources:
- BBC: Coronavirus: Five ways to work well from home
- SCVO: John Fitzgerald - My top ten remote working tips
- SHP: Home working advice and wellbeing considerations for self-isolation
- FT: Tips for working from home — in style
- Ofcom: Stay Connected during the coronavirus
- Vested: Tips & Tricks for Remote Work
- ACAS: Working from home during the Coronavirus pandemic
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We are entering an unprecedented and fast-moving, constantly changing situation. Whilst we will do our best to keep this page updated, it should not be considered a source for the latest government advice which should be obtained directly from https://www.gov.uk/coronavirus. Links to external providers should not be considered a recommendation or endorsement of those providers’ products and/or services.
About Charity Bank
Charity Bank is the loans and savings bank owned by and committed to supporting the social sector. Since 2002, we have used our savers’ money to make more than 1,000 loans totalling over £300m to housing, education, social care, community and other social purpose organisations.
Nothing in this article constitutes an invitation to engage in investment activity nor is it advice or a recommendation and professional advice should be taken before any course of action is pursued.