COVID-19 guidance update - Charities

Rebecca Frost

In the current climate, the charity sector faces a particular challenge.

Charities are seeing their voluntary income reduce significantly, and are unable to generate income from trading, events and other activities. While charities are eligible for some of the areas of support already announced by the Government, frontline charities are unable to take advantage of the job retention scheme as their beneficiaries need them more now than ever.

On April 8 the Chancellor announced details of a £750 million support package for frontline UK charities providing vital services. Of this, £360 million will be allocated directly from government departments, with £370 million available to small and medium sized charities including through a grant to the National Lottery Community Fund.

Early indications suggest that the direct funding will be applied to charities providing key services and supporting vulnerable people during the crisis, including:

• Hospices
• St John’s Ambulance
• Charities supporting domestic abuse victims
• Charities supporting vulnerable children
• Citizens Advice charities

The remainder of the funding will support organisations at the heart of local communities carrying out activities such as delivering food, medicines and providing financial advice. Government departments will now “work at pace” to identify priority recipients and set up the application system for the National Lottery Community Fund, and further updates will follow as information becomes available.

Details of the full announcement can be found here.

Charity Commission

The Charity Commission have produced a comprehensive document giving useful COVID-19 guidance.

This includes information on:

• Adapting your charity’s activities to help with coronavirus efforts
• Appropriate use of reserves and restricted funds
• Postponing or cancelling AGMs and other meetings and the use of online/telephone meetings
• Updated SORP guidance which details the likely impact on charity accounts

A link to the guidance is here.

Fundraising Regulator

The Fundraising Regulator has also issued some guidance on continuing to fund raise in this environment, see further information here.

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