Groundwork is launching a new grant fund in response to the impact COVID-19 has had on communities in England.  The new fund has been made available with funds raised by the British public through the Big Night In appeal and with match funding from Department for Culture Media and Sport.

Comic Relief, Groundwork and Department for Culture, Media and Sport logos

The aim of this fund is to support local grass roots organisations to respond to the needs of vulnerable individuals, families and communities during the COVID-19 crisis and recover from the impact of COVID-19 has had on their services.

Programme Description

The Comic Relief COVID-19 Community Fund will provide grants of £4,000 to English grass roots organisations in order for them to respond to the current crisis and recover through enhanced Capacity building grants of £1000. We understand that many small grassroots organisations have had to respond rapidly to the COVID-19 crisis, so these funds will be distributed quickly through a simplified application process and weekly grants panels.  A separate fund is also available specifically for organisations based in Norfolk or Suffolk.

Fund objectives

The fund has the following objectives:

  • To support grass roots organisations to respond to the needs of vulnerable individuals, families and communities during the COVID-19 crisis
  • To support local grass roots community led organisations with ‘lived in’ experience to recover and develop organisational resilience following the COVID-19 crisis
What types of organisations will this programme support?

This programme will only support grass roots, not for profit voluntary or community organisations (including registered charities/companies) with an annual turnover of under £250,000 and include members with lived experience. They will deliver projects that provide community benefit across one of Comic Reliefs strategic themes.

  • Children Survive & Thrive: projects that support children under the age of five to reach their potential and have the best start in life. Please note: as of Friday 2 October we will now be accepting applications for projects that benefit children up to the age of 11.
  • Fighting for Gender Justice: projects that improve equality for women, girls and initiatives that help people affected by domestic violence, abuse or exploitation due to their gender
  • A Safe Place to Be: projects that support people who are rebuilding their lives because of homelessness or forced migration
  • Mental Health Matters: projects that support good mental health in communities, improve access to support and tackle stigma and discrimination

Projects with a specific religious or political focus will not be eligible, nor will projects that charge beneficiaries to access the service.

Please note that we are particularly interested in receiving applications from charities who support BAME and LGBTQ communities, who have been disproportionally affected by the COVID-19 crisis.

What type of support and funding will be available?

Grant funding of up to £4,000

Grass roots organisations with ‘lived’ experience to respond to current local need as a response to the COVID-19 emergency.  Funding may also assist charities with short term organisational recovery needs.  It’s not a requirement of the fund that applicants have match funding.  Applicants should however be able to clearly show the need for the grant.  All funding will need to be spent by the end of February 2021.  Core organisational costs may be included but the fund will not fund applications which only contribute to an organisation’s general running costs.

Examples of the types of applications which this fund may support include:

  • Funding to support an increased number of homeless beneficiaries with food, shelter and general welfare
  • Funding to support organisations who are assisting vulnerable families, and/or specifically Women and Girls in difficult home situations
  • Funding to provide telephone help lines, food parcels, support with wellbeing and mental health

This list is not exhaustive and there will be many other types of applications that could be funded.

Read our guidance notes

Make an application

Capacity building funding of up to £1000

Capacity Building grants will support grass roots organisations with ‘lived’ experience to become more robust, better able to deliver projects and bring about lasting change.