Advice sector funding
The National Emergencies Trust is announcing new partnerships with Age UK, Heads Together and Shelter, who will each receive a share of £12million in Coronavirus Appeal funds ring-fenced to target specific at-risk groups across the UK.
Each partner will receive funding to help groups disproportionately impacted by the pandemic, with a focus on remote services, including helplines and digital services. These have seen significant increases in demand since March, in particular from those seeking support from the charity sector for the first time.
From the Scottish Legal Aid Board:
Funding of up to £3.25 million is to be made available for a three-year programme to support access to debt advice in Scotland ...
The Covid-19 pandemic presents new challenges for the advice sector. Agencies have been rapidly refocusing working practices to enable continuity of advice and the impact of the pandemic may lead to a long-term increase in the need for formal debt advice solutions to be provided remotely.
The Debt Advice Journey Programme will fund projects designed to improve access to free debt advice by assisting with the development of changes to working practices that help manage demand on services and improve people’s experience of seeking advice.
The funding forms part of the Financial Services Levy for debt advice allocated by the Scottish Government. The programme will be managed by the Scottish Legal Aid Board (SLAB) to make funding available to test ideas that assist clients and allow existing debt advice staff to achieve a more effective resolution of debt problems within free advice services.
The Debt Advice Journey Programme objectives are to manage demand for debt advice and improve ways of working at key stages of the delivery of debt advice in free advice services. This work builds on the direction set out by Scottish Government through the Debt Advice Routemap which includes a vision for future allocation of the Scottish debt advice levy funds.
Applications for funding will be invited by SLAB shortly, with up to £650,000 available this year and up to £1.3million available in the two subsequent years. Successful projects will run to March 2023.
SLAB will welcome applications from agencies that provide free debt advice and access to statutory debt remedies, including Citizens Advice Bureau, independent advice agencies, law centres and local authorities.’
Charities with more data “find it easier to unlock government money”, the minister for civil society said yesterday.
Baroness Barran also defended the government from criticism over the amount of data demanded from charities applying for grants.
Speaking at the NPC Ignites conference, Baroness Diana Barran said that government and charities both have a “moral responsibility” to collect and share data as part of spending public funds.
... The minister also said that £200m in emergency funding that was promised to small and medium-sized charities in April and distributed through the National Lottery Community Fund, “is nearly all out now”.
However, she could not confirm that every grant will have reached charities by the end of this month, by which time more than seven months will have passed since the support was first announced.
Justice Select Commitee has published the govt’s response to the Committee’s August 2020 report on the impact of COVID-19 on the legal professions in England and Wales.
One of the Committee’s recommendations had been:
We recommend that the Ministry of Justice considers further grants for law centres and other not-for-profit legal services providers that are at risk of collapse. The Ministry of Justice should report back to us with its decision and provide its reasons if it decides not to provide such grants, and state what provision it will make for users of the centres that cease operations.
We agree with the Committee that Law Centres and other not-for profit providers play a vital role in helping people in communities across England and Wales access justice and resolve their legal problems. Over the past few months, the importance of these services has been brought into sharp focus and many providers have gone above and beyond to ensure vulnerable people across society can continue to get the help they need.
That is why, as a priority, the Government secured £5.4m in emergency grant funding to not-for-profit providers to ensure the people in the communities they serve can continue to access the help they need.
We are also continuing to work with our delivery partners - the Access to Justice Foundation and the Law Centres Network - and practitioners from across the not-for-profit advice sector to ensure people across England and Wales are effectively supported to access justice, as part of our wider work on legal support.
More broadly, we also continue to move forward with our £3.1m Legal Support for Litigants in Person (LSLIP) programme, a two-year grant funding pot also being delivered in partnership with the Access to Justice Foundation. The new programme is designed to provide services at local, regional and national levels with the aim of understanding more about how they can combine to help vulnerable litigants in person. To date, more than £500,000 of grants have been awarded to a number of charities to provide the new national-level services:
- Support Through Court (STC) and RCJ Advice – who are piloting a new remote support initiative, as well as adding new referral routes to STC’s existing telephone helpline.
- LawWorks – who will scale up their Free Legal Answers (FLA) website, which enables people on low incomes and not eligible for legal aid to access free, initial legal advice provided by registered pro bono solicitors.
- Law for Life – who will add new resources to their Advicenow website to assist people to deal with a range of legal problems, as well as creating new guidance to help individuals appear in virtual courts effectively.
A further £2 million of funding from the programme will be awarded to smaller not-for-profit organisations at regional and local levels this autumn. Distribution of this funding was moved back in order to give those organisations more time to manage the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic and put together their proposals.
From Homeless Link:
A final 60 homelessness charities whose finances have been affected by the pandemic have been awarded grants from the second round of Homeless Link’s COVID-19 Homelessness Response Fund.
Update from the London Community Response:
With the capital in another lockdown and facing more difficult times ahead, London’s funders have once again come together to provide new funding for civil society organisations.
Applications for grants of up to £10,000 have opened to help groups to support Londoners affected by covid-19 over the winter months. Applications will be assessed on a first-come-first-served basis, with a final deadline on Thursday 3 December 2020.
The Coronavirus Community Support Fund has now been fully allocated:
More than 8,000 small charities in England have been awarded funds from the government’s emergency coronavirus scheme.
The government said that it has now allocated the full £200m from the Coronavirus Community Support Fund which has been managed by the National Lottery Community Fund.
However, NLCF was unable to say whether all the charities allocated grants have yet received that funding.
The National Audit Office is looking at how well the government spent the £750m it allocated to support the charity sector during the pandemic ..... and anticipates publishing its report ..... next spring .....
Update on the Community Justice Fund:
The Community Justice Fund, an initiative set up to support not-for-profit legal advice organisations as they cope with the impacts of COVID-19, has awarded £11,536,308 in its first round of funding to 178 specialist legal advice organisations across the UK that offer essential support to people and communities affected by the crisis.
Also reported in the Law Society Gazette: Free legal advice centres receive £11.5m in emergency funding
The Covid Charity Grant Fund has opened in Northern Ireland ...
- the £11.7m Fund will provide financial support to charities who have lost income due to the impact of COVID-19 and wll be unable to cover unavoidable costs until 31/03/2021
- funding requests of up to £75,000 can be made, to be spent within 6 months. (The amount awarded will depend on the assessment of need and the demand for the available budget).
- the Fund is open for applications from organisations in the Charity Sector in Northern Ireland from 9am on Wednesday 6 January to Friday 22 January at 4pm.
Carers Trust awarded £1 million to support thousands of exhausted, unpaid carers:
The £1 million funding from the DCMS and Pears Foundation will support thousands of unpaid carers. In the first phase of the project, two thousand carers will be supported in the period up to the end of March 2021. Carers Trust will initially work with 37 of its Network Partners, distributing grants so carers can access local respite provision as well as replacement care. The funding will also develop infrastructure to provide longer-term benefits for unpaid carers. This will include training of volunteers to offer virtual online support and telephone befriending services, as well as counselling services and food box deliveries.
NI has announced a further £2.75m for its Covid-19 Community Support Fund:
Communities Minister Deirdre Hargey today announced a further £2.75 million for Councils under the Covid-19 Community Support Fund to allow them to support the voluntary and community sector response to the continuing hardship created by the pandemic.
The funding boost will support local grassroots community and voluntary organisations across council areas working with individuals and communities during the pandemic to target need and alleviate poverty by:
- providing assistance to those on low income and at risk due to financial stress
- supporting access to food for those most in need
- helping to connect those living alone or in a rural and border area that are likely to experience challenges in accessing services
For London orgs ... Wave 5 of the London Community Response is now open:
Wave five of the London Community Response is mainly focused on renewal, supporting three “missions” for the future beyond covid-19 – building strong communities, a new deal for young people, and ensuring a robust safety net.
Renewal grants are for up to £50,000 to enable you to deliver work linked to these missions, over the year starting from April 2021. Renewal grants can either be for a specific project, for a partnership, or for the core costs of running and growing your organisation.
We are also able to offer a small number of crisis response grants to deal with urgent needs of London’s communities through the third lockdown and months ahead. These grants will be for up to £10,000 for up to six months, starting as soon as the grant is awarded.