Support for Voluntary and Community Sector
Find out what support is available for charities, social enterprises, voluntary and community organisations.
Find out what support is available for charities, social enterprises, voluntary and community organisations.
Current Government policy is that every organisation which generates over 50% of its income from trading will be eligible for the business support announced. There are no restrictions on legal form (i.e. CIC, registered charity, community benefit society etc.).
Any UK entity with a payroll is eligible for this scheme. If your business operations have been severely impacted by COVID-19, you can furlough your employees and claim 80% of their wages, up to a cap of £2,500 per month.
Any business with a UK payroll can apply, including charities, recruitment agencies and public sector organisations, as long as:
Claims can be made for any employee or apprentice on any kind of contract, as long as they were on the payroll on or before 28 February 2020. Any employee hired after this date cannot be furloughed.
If you made employees redundant, on or after 28 February 2020, you can re-employ them and put them on furlough and claim wages through the scheme.
If your employee is on unpaid leave, you can claim their wages through the scheme for any unpaid leave after 28 February 2020.
If an employee is sick or self-shielding, if they are sick they will be eligible for Statutory Sick pay (costs for two weeks can be claimed back by the employer) after their sick leave they can be furloughed and paid for through the scheme. If they are self shielding, they can be furloughed and claimed for through the scheme.
Employees can volunteer or undertake training while furloughed, as long as the training does not generate income for the business.
The Coronavirus Statutory Sick Pay Rebate Scheme will repay employers the current rate of SSP that they pay to current or former employees for periods of sickness starting on or after 13 March 2020.
If you’re an employer who pays more than the current rate of SSP you can only claim the current rate amount. Organisations with fewer than 250 employees can get support for paying sick pay to employees.
The business must have a PAYE scheme, which was created on or before 28 February 2020. Employers can receive a repayment of two weeks sick pay provided the employee could not work because they:
Employees do not need a doctors fit note.
You can use the scheme as an employer if:
You can claim back from both the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme and the Coronavirus Statutory Sick Pay Rebate Scheme for the same employee but not for the same period of time for that employee.
The scheme covers all types of employment contracts, including:
HMRC will let you know when the scheme will end.
Organisations are eligible for the loan scheme if:
They must also have a borrowing proposal which the lender:
a) would consider viable, were it not for the COVID-19 pandemic
b) believes will enable you to trade out of any short-term to medium-term difficulty
Businesses from any sector can apply, except the following:
The scheme is currently open. British Bank are responsible for running this scheme.
All businesses and self-employed people 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.
Call the tax helpline: 0800 024 1222 or alternatively chat online: Tax Support HMRC Webchat
Charities may be considering whether they can help the effort to tackle COVID-19 and its severe impact on people and communities. A charity should first consider the terms of your charity’s existing charitable purposes (sometimes known as objects). These are set out in your governing document.
Purposes that might already allow you to offer support include:
Trustees of charities with other purposes may also be able to adapt and respond to COVID-19 either directly or indirectly.
If your existing purposes do not allow you to help, you may be able to amend your governing document to change them. But consider carefully:
Communities Minister Deidre Hargey has announced a Covid-19 Charities fund worth £15 million to help support local charities that have been impacted by the current COVID-19 crisis.
More information is expected in the coming weeks.
At the present time, and until otherwise advised, no charity will be penalised for missing its annual reporting deadline. This means that no charity will be marked as in default on the register of charities if they fail to meet their annual reporting deadline.
Volunteer Now have launched a campaign, #HelpEachOther which gives people an opportunity to register their interest in volunteering to support those who need it most.
Organisations who need volunteers to support their efforts can register their volunteering opportunities on the Volunteer Now Website
Volunteers who wish to get involved with an organisation can register here where they will receive dedicated COVID-19 roles and receive regular contact from Volunteer Now.
Volunteer Now has paused recruitment of volunteers for the #HelpEachOtherCampaign
Suitably skilled and/or experienced workers will be able to take Emergency Volunteering Leave in blocks of two, three or four weeks during any sixteen-week volunteering period.
The Emergency Volunteering Leave is unpaid; however, a compensation scheme will be set up to compensate eligible emergency volunteers for some loss of income and expenses incurred.
To be eligible for this leave, employees must be certified by an appropriate authority to act as an emergency volunteer in health or social care. In Northern Ireland, the appropriate authorities are:
To avail of the Emergency Volunteering Leave, employees must give their employers at least three working days' notice and the certificate provided by the appropriate authority.
Ards and North Down has a strong community and voluntary sector, we also have lots of constituted community organisations. However, we are also aware that lots of localised groups have been informally set up to support their own neighbours. Ards and North Down Borough Council need information on all of these, and we need to be able to share this information with others.
If you are a local company and have arrangements in place to help people access food or medicines please email firstname.lastname@example.org and someone will contact you to get the details so we can share your information.
Ards and North Down Borough Council is also involved with the Department for Communities in delivering food boxes to the most vulnerable in society. If you know of someone who needs a food parcel, please register them by:
Telephoning: 0808 802 0020 (9am-5pm 7 days a week) or
There are grants available to organisations in the sector to continue their good work in communities.
The Thomas Wall Trust charities grant programme aims to support people with an emphasis on building confidence, knowledge and skills, and therefore increasing prospects of employment. They offer grants up to £5,000 towards specific projects or core activities that support literacy, numeracy, digital and additional skills for learning that are likely to assist employment prospects. The Trust recognises that the future of the labour market will become increasingly competitive, with employers placing greater emphasis on transferable skills.
The Coronavirus Community Fund is available to constituted organisations in Northern Ireland.
The current focus is to support groups and organisations working with the following communities and issues and that are affected by coronavirus
Grants of £1,000 - £10,000 are available.
The Resilience & Recovery Loan Fund (RRLF) is a new fund for social enterprises and charities who are experiencing disruption to their normal business model as a result of COVID-19. It has been established to make an existing government scheme (the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS - see below) more easily accessible to charities and social enterprises.
RRLF is intended for those organisations who face a problem because expected income and activity has been delayed or disrupted. A loan may help with this, providing working capital until normal business can commence again.
Purposes that are included:
Regarding Purpose Number 4 above: trading or retail models that rely heavily on footfall / shared office space that are likely to continue to be affected by social distancing are unlikely to be suitable/be able to prove viability.
Purposes that are excluded:
The RRLF can make loans alongside other lenders or grant providers. However, consideration will be given on how the overall investment will affect an organisations financial position and its ability to repay.
Eligible applicants will:
This scheme is open.
Tesco Bags of Help is responding to the current Coronavirus (COVID-19) crisis by setting up a new short-term fund to support local communities.
Typically, the fund will prioritise organisations;
Businesses and ‘for profit’ organisations are not eligible.
The National Lottery Heritage Fund has put together a £50million fund to support the heritage sector as an immediate response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.
The £50m fund will be available for grants of between £3,000 and £50,000.
It is available to organisations across the full breadth of heritage, including historic sites, industrial and maritime heritage, museums, libraries and archives, parks and gardens, landscapes and nature.
The National Lottery Awards for All Fund will be prioritising applications for projects that are COVID-19 related for the next six months.
They will prioritise applications from:
If your charity is closed at this time during Covid-19, there may be support that you can avail of to help you cover your costs. We suggest that you contact your utility providers/landlord to seek support.
In order for organisations to be eligible to apply for our small, medium and large grant programmes, they must have an income of less than £1 million in the previous 12 months. For registered charities with a Headquarters based outside Northern Ireland, the income of their Northern Ireland operation will be the figure used to assess eligibility.
Up to £5,000 available.
Grants Online is a grant support resource which details both national and regional support programmes that are available to businesses.
Social Enterprise NI is the voice for social enterprises in Northern Ireland.
028 9046 1810
The Department for Communities works closely with Councils and organisations.
028 9082 9000
The Communities team at Ards and North Down Borough Council are continuing to work closely with organisations throughout the Borough during COVID-19. If you are a local company and have arrangements in place to help people access food or medicines please email email@example.com and someone will contact you to get the details so we can share your information.
The AND business team is here to support you.
For further information or if you need help and advice, please get in touch via email or telephone 028 9147 3788.