COVID-19 Response Funding

We are updating this guidance to support organisations during the COVID-19 pandemic – this document is a work in progress and will be reviewed as necessary. 

Many funders will have already been in touch directly with their grantees about the support they may be able to offer. If you are currently in receipt of grant funding contact your funder directly to discuss your support needs.  

Response Funding

During the Covid-19 crisis we understand that many charities and local community groups are responding by offering a range of services to provide help and support to those in need across County Durham. To help this relief effort, several funders have announced available funding, which is both welcomed and much needed in these times of uncertainty. It is our aim to support organisations with funding advice throughout this crisis and will be working hard to ensure we promote all funding opportunities as they arise through our website, news bulletins and through the continued operation of our dedicated Information, Advice and Guidance service offer.

Download our COVID-19 Emergency Funding Guide here (last updated 03/06/2020)

You can download a COVID-19 Emergency Funding Update from Durham County Council - download the latest list here (updated 01/06/2020)

Sources of Funding 


County Durham COVID-19 Response Fund

Issue 1 - as at 30th March 2020

The COVID-19 Fund has been set up to support community groups and organisations through this period of uncertainty. The focus is to offer emergency funding to deal with emerging issues in the community as a result of the continuing threat of coronavirus. This will be to directly support work in the community, and to help organisations survive over this period of closures and isolation. 

Up to £5,000 is available to support the following themes:

Theme 1: Proactive

Your project may be new or something you currently deliver but it must respond to the COVID-19 crisis. Your activity must also complement the support measures that are being put in place in your communities by the statutory authorities e.g. local authority led community hubs.

Theme 2: Recovery and Resilience

We anticipate that this fund will be heavily subscribed.  In this first phase of emergency funding, priority will be given to applications that meet Theme 1. Applications for Theme 2 will be accepted but they will be given lower priority.

For full details on the fund and who can apply please visit the CDCF website here

CDCF-DCA COVID-19 Response Volunteering Micro-Grant Programme

We are delighted to announce that the County Durham Community Foundation has awarded a small grant fund to DCA which we will administer as a Micro-Grants programme. The fund is to add further support to self-organised mutual aid groups and newly emerging volunteer groups which are responding to the impact of COVID-19 in their communities. 

Durham County Council Area Action Partnerships (AAP's) COVID-19 Assistance Fund

Community and voluntary groups can now access an additional £1.4 million of funding to help provide much-needed support during the Coronavirus pandemic. Each of the 14 Area Action Partnerships (AAP's) have been given an extra £100,000 to allocate to groups who are working hard to provide support at a grass roots level across the county. In addition, local councillors are being provided with flexibility to use their neighbourhood budgets to support community groups and the voluntary sector by releasing revenue funding previously allocated for capital projects. 

Durham County Council Retail, Leisure and Hospitality Grant 

Community buildings may be eligible for a £10,000 grant from Durham County Council which is available to buildings with a rateable value of less than £51,000, and the amount that you are able to claim varies depending on your rateable value. 

Believe Housing Coronavirus Crisis Fund 

This crisis fund has been set up to support projects within the areas Believe Housing operates in County Durham, that are tackling isolation and financial hardship during the Coronavirus outbreak. Grants of up to £500 will be available for community groups, schools or community organisations to help support the people in our communities at this time. 

Durham Police, Crime and Victims' Commissioner Emergency Fund

Funding is available for organisations providing domestic abuse or sexual violence support services across County Durham and Darlington during the COVID-19 crisis. The funding is to provide assistance for those organisations who have seen a reduction in funds and those who have seen an increase in the demand for their services. The deadline for applications is Friday 5th June. 


Hadrian Trust

Over the coming months, the Hadrian Trust will be giving priority to applications from organisations supporting people and communities affected by coronavirus in Tyne and Wear, Northumberland and Durham, including Hartlepool. Grants of between £500 and £2,000 to continue supporting the lives of people in these communities. The next closing deadline for online applications is midday on 14th June. 

The Ballinger Charitable Trust

The Trust have paused their usual grant application systems for the time being. They have also closed their emergency COVID-19 applications to any new applicants. Instead they will accept requests for repeat funding from organisations who have already received their COVID-19 grant funding. Repeat grants will continue to range from a few hundred pounds to no more than £1,000 and for use consistent with the original grant given. 


Sport England Community Emergency Fund

This new fund aims to deliver immediate funding to those most in need. It is specifically targeted at organisations including those not currently supported by Sport England, who have a role in supporting the nation to be active but who are experiencing short term financial hardship or the ceasing of operations due to the ongoing crisis. 


CAF Coronavirus Emergency Fund

In this time of national crisis, CAF (Charities Aid Foundation) has launched this rapid response Fund to help smaller charitable organisations affected by the impact of Covid-19. Grants of up to £10,000 will help them to continue to deliver much needed support to our communities across the UK.   

This is intended as a rapid response fund, and they aim to make payments to selected organisations within 14 days of application.

PLEASE NOTE THIS FUND HAS BEEN PAUSED DUE TO HIGH DEMAND - CAF hope to expand the fund and will reopen as and when they have additional money which they can grant to organisations. Check their social media channels for the latest information.

The National Lottery Community Fund - Coronavirus Community Support Fund

This new funding stream makes available £200 million in Government funding that will be aimed primarily at small to medium organisations in England. The fund has two key objectives: to increase community support to vulnerable people and to reduce temporary closures of essential charities and social enterprises. Grants will allow organisations to meet service costs, where they are experiencing an increased demand and/or short term income disruption. Grants will also allow organisations to refocus services to address more immediate beneficiary needs in light of COVID-19.

The National Lottery Community Fund - Awards for All England

Awards for All are currently prioritising applications that relate to coronavirus. Grants of between £300 and £10,000 are available. You can download the guidance notes here

The National Lottery Community Fund -  Reaching Communities England

Grants of between £10,000 - £100,000 are available for projects and organisations who are helping communities through the COVID-19 pandemic. The funders will also consider applications from organisations who are struggling financially due to the impact of the crisis. Applications can be made online - if organisations find this difficult they can contact TNLCF directly.

The National Lottery Heritage Fund – Heritage Emergency Fund

The NLHF are providing a package of support for the heritage sector as a response to the COVID-19 crisis. This includes increased advice and support, longer-term skills and capacity building initiatives, and a £50 million Heritage Emergency Fund to provide emergency funding for those most in need. They are accepting applications for two grant levels to cover emergency costs during this difficult time:

Coalfields COVID-19 Recovery and Resilience Fund 

This is an interim replacement for the Coalfields Community Investment Programme (CCIP) and opened for enquiries on 1st May. Their trustees have recognised the importance of supporting the response to the COVID-19 crisis in former coalfield communities and they have revised some of their criteria to support the delivery and sustainability of key services. There will now be an additional committee meeting in mid June 2020 and the planned committee meeting in July will consider all applications that can continue to address local needs. 

Priority will be given to organisations that are delivering support services or have significantly adapted their services in order to respond to the current crisis and support vulnerable people. Awards of up to £10,000 are available. 

Neighbourly Community Fund

With the support of partner businesses M&S, Lidl, Aldi, Danone and Coca-Cola European Partners, Neighbourly are launching a series of micro-grants of up to £400 to support good causes that are helping communities affected by the new Coronavirus outbreak. Grants will be awarded to existing members of Neighbourly in UK and Ireland whose work will involve supporting members of the community suffering economically, socially or from ill health as a result of the outbreak. 

MIND Coronavirus Mental Health Respond Fund 

Voluntary and community sector (VCS) organisations have a vital role working alongside NHS colleagues to support anyone who has a mental health problem. Due to the coronavirus pandemic, demand for mental health services is increasing.

To help VCS organisations based in England continue to provide mental health services - or provide additional support - organisations can apply for a Coronavirus Mental Health Response Fund (CMHRF) grant. Thanks to £5million support from government (the Department of Health and Social Care), grants of £20,000 or £50,000 are available for projects lasting up to 12 months. 

As part of this funding programme, the National Survivor User Network (NSUN) will be administering a fund to support uder-led organisations and smaller, unconstituted community organisations who might not otherwise be eligible for a grant. Details can be found here


The Morrisons Foundation COVID-19 Homeless Support Fund

The Morrisons Foundation trustees have pledged £500,000 towards the Homeless Support Fund. The fund is designed to support charities caring for the homeless during the coronavirus outbreak and ensure help gets to those who need it most. Registered charities that care for the homeless can apply for support to cover three broad areas: outreach and support for rough sleepers including provision of essentials, delivery of services in hostels and shelters and information and advice. 

Youth Endowment Fund

The Youth Endowment Fund's COVID-19 grant round will fund and evaluate work which supports vulnerable young people at risk of youth violence, and can be delivered whilst adhering to UK government social distancing and stay at home guidelines. They expect the average grant to be around £50,000 and the minimum grant that organisations can apply for is £25,000.

UK Tampon Tax Fund

Charities and organisations with charitable purposes from across the UK can now apply for funding of £1 million or more from the latest round of the UK government’s Tampon Tax Fund. The Fund allocates monies generated from the VAT on sanitary projects to improve the lives of vulnerable and disadvantaged women and girls.

Applications should focus on one of the following categories: violence against women and girls, young women’s mental health or the general programme. Applications for this round of funding which include activities that seek to address the consequences of Covid-19 for disadvantaged women and girls are also welcome.

The deadline for applications is midnight on 7th June.

BBC Children in Need COVID-19 Response Grant Programmes

The funder has two programmes available in response to the COVID-19 Emergency. Their COVID-19 2020 Booster Grants programme is open to current BBC Children in Need grant-holders to apply for up to £5,000. 

The COVID-19 Large Grants programme will be open from 8 June 2020 and will allow organisations to apply for up to £80,000. More details of this programme to be announced.

Independent Age Grant Fund

Grants of between £5,000 and £15,000 are available for registered charities with COVID-19 emergency response projects aimed at older people living in complex and challenging situations and those who are in danger of being out of sight and out of mind. Organisations must have at least one paid member of staff. Application forms can be downloaded from the Independent Age website and round one closes on 4th June at 9.00am. 


The Armed Forces Covenant Fund Trust - Forces Communities Together Programme

This programme will award small grants of up to £10,000 towards creative and engaging projects that can be delivered under social restrictions for people from Armed Forces communities who are isolated as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. This is a single round programme funded through the Armed Forces Covenant Fund and the deadline for applications is 30th June.

COVID-19 Food Charity Grant Scheme

Front-line food aid charities can apply for grants of up to £100,00 to help to continue to provide services for vulnerable people including those who are unable to afford food or who have moved into temporary accommodation as a result of COVID-19. Food bought using this grant must be distributed by 9th August 2020. Applications must be made online and the closing date 6th July.

Funding Searches

You can also access funding searches to look for available grants:


Durham County Council manage a funding portal called Durham4Community for community groups which you can sign up to for free. It allows you to search for funding schemes available to your group, apply for funding and get advice on producing your funding application. 

VONNE Funding Directory 

To support the voluntary and community sector under these exceptional circumstances, VONNE have temporarily made their online Funding Directory accessible to all. Usually a benefit for their Silver and Gold Membership+ supporters, the resource contains the details of more than 100 charitable trusts and foundations that are actively funding charities and community groups in the North East region. The directory is regularly reviewed and updated, and is searchable by area of work, geography, type of funding and grant amount.

Contingency Planning and Financial Implications

NCVO have made freely available information on what you need to do to manage the potential impacts of coronavirus on your charity's or voluntary organisation's operations and finances, including information on what to expect from funders.

Visit the NCVO website here 

Please check our social media pages for the most up to date information on funding opportunities or sign up to receive our e-bulletins here