In August, we invited small charities and community groups to apply for up to £2,000 of grant funding to support grassroots responses to the pandemic. The scale of applications received shows that the immediate crisis is far from over, and that communities urgently need more financial support.
OCF’s COVID-19 small grants programme builds on the work of our Community Resilience Fund, set up in April to support the community sector to respond better to, and recover stronger from, COVID-19. So far, over £584,000 in grants have been made supporting charitable organisations at the front line of the community response, ranging from emergency food distribution to vital debt and benefits advice to the poorest families. A full list of grants made so far from the Community Resilience Fund, along with case studies showcasing the work funded, can be found here.
In the latest round of grant applications, we have four times the projects we are able to fund, and so we are appealing to our networks and the public for help.
Current applications that need funding include hygiene packs for homeless people, a literacy project for disadvantaged families, and a community garden to reduce isolation. In every case a grant would help brave and committed volunteers and charities to be there for those in our local community who are most affected by the pandemic.
We are looking at a shortfall of £30,000 to be able to fully fund those small organisations that are eligible to receive grants in this round (with an income of below £100,000 a year). The applications have also revealed that there is a significant ongoing need from larger organisations also carrying out vital work, to the tune of a further £50,000.
Our Interim CEO Adrian Sell comments: “The response to our COVID-19 small grants round shows that for front-line community organisations, the immediate crisis is far from over. We still need to support the effort to distribute supplies to the most vulnerable, move services online and provide advice to those who need it – and these needs will only increase as we look towards at least six months of ongoing restrictions along with a growth in infections and significant economic impacts.
“We urge everyone to continue to support their local community groups either through volunteering or donating, and also to give to us to support the wider response.”