UK government has announced £150 million from dormant bank and building society accounts is to be unlocked to help charities, social enterprises and vulnerable individuals during the coronavirus outbreak. This includes accelerating the release of £71 million of new funds from dormant accounts alongside £79 million already unlocked that will be repurposed to help charities’ coronavirus response and recovery.
The funding will support urgent work to tackle youth unemployment, expand access to emergency loans for civil society organisations and help improve the availability of fair, affordable credit to people in vulnerable circumstances.
Culture Secretary, Oliver Dowden said, “Charities and social enterprises are playing a vital role in our national effort against coronavirus. This funding will support organisations that are at the heart of their communities, building on our unprecedented package of financial support for the voluntary sector. Through our proposals to further expand the dormant assets scheme, we want to unlock hundreds of millions more pounds for good causes, while keeping customer protection at the heart of the programme.”
Of the £150 million:
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- £10 million will be brought forward for the Youth Futures Foundation to help organisations who support unemployed, disadvantaged young people across the country into jobs. They will be launching an Emergency Levelling Up Youth Fund to support young people from hardest hit communities; and will expand their Development and Impact grants programme to rapidly increase youth employment provisions.
- £45 million will be deployed by Big Society Capital to allow better access to investment including emergency loans for charities, social enterprises and some small businesses facing cash-flow problems and disruption to their trading following the coronavirus outbreak.
- The demand for affordable credit is expected to rise substantially in light of the coronavirus outbreak. Fair4All Finance will use £65 million to support affordable credit providers to increase access to fair, appropriate products and services for those struggling financially, providing them with an alternative to high cost loans. This includes an expanded Affordable Credit Scale-up Programme and other initiatives for those in financially vulnerable circumstances.
- £30 million will go to Access – The Foundation for Social Investment who will support social enterprises helping people in vulnerable circumstances. They will make up to £10 million available for emergency support through social lenders while also developing a wider programme of recovery finance for the social sector. Both initiatives will work alongside Big Society Capital and other social lenders, and will enable a wider range of organisations to access affordable and flexible finance.
In addition to this funding, following the Chancellor’s announcement of an unprecedented £750 million package of support for frontline charities during the coronavirus outbreak, the “Coronavirus Community Support Fund” distributed by The National Lottery Community Fund will open for applications this Friday, 22nd May.
£200 million worth of grants will be available for organisations who are supporting people and communities experiencing disproportionate challenges and difficulty during the pandemic, and those that provide services and support for vulnerable people and have seen an increase in demand or have lost income. Further funding will be committed and informed by emerging priorities, as the impact of the pandemic on vulnerable groups and charities is understood.
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Funding from the Coronavirus Community Support Fund will start to reach frontline organisations within a few weeks. Applications to the Fund will be handled through The National Lottery Community Fund’s well-established funding infrastructure, which they use to deliver around £500 million of grants to local organisations each year. A joint panel set up by DCMS and NLCF will advise on distribution of funding.