In April 2020, as part of its response to the COVID-19 pandemic, government announced a £750 million financial support package for organisations in the voluntary, community and social enterprise sector, targeted at those providing vital services to the vulnerable. Although government expected tens of thousands of charities to benefit, helping them meet increased demand for some services due to the pandemic, it did not intend to support or save every charity. The Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport (the Department) was responsible for allocating £513 million of the total available funding, including funds distributed through itself, at least nine other government departments, three other public-sector organisations and 186 other partners. HM Treasury provided up to £200 million directly to the Department for Health & Social Care to purchase bed capacity in charitable hospices and at least £60 million was expected to be provided to the devolved nations.
The Department allocated its £513 million across seven different schemes, which were rolled out between April and December 2020. Around £19 million of the £513 million was used to cover administration fees, leaving £494 million available to charities. By 7 April 2021, well over 90% of funds available had been paid out, with a further £14 million awarded to charities but not yet paid out to them. Across the seven schemes the Department had allocated and paid out the following amounts:
1.the Coronavirus Community Support Fund (CCSF) via The National Lottery Community Fund (TNLCF) (£188 million paid out of £199 million allocated);
2.21 sector-specific projects across nine government departments including the Home Office, Department for Education and the Ministry of Justice (£159 million paid out of £164 million);
3.the Community Match Challenge scheme (£82 million paid out of £85 million);
4.the National Emergencies Trust, BBC Children in Need, and Comic Relief to match donations raised through the BBC Big Night In fundraising event (£34 million paid out of £37 million);
5.the Youth COVID-19 Support Fund (£3 million paid out of £17 million);
6.the Loneliness Fund (£5 million paid out £8 million); and
7.the Voluntary and Community Sector Emergencies Partnership (£4 million paid out of £5 million).