Coronavirus: COVID-19 Charities Fund

News article

Support for local charities facing severe financial difficulty

NOTE: The COVID-19 Charities Fund closed to applications on Friday 21 August.

The fund will support charities which:

  • have lost income due to the impact of COVID-19 and
  • are unable to cover unavoidable costs until 30 September 2020

It will provide up to £75,000 of grant awards for eligible organisations. The amount of funding will vary for each organisation depending on their situation.

The National Lottery Community Fund will distribute the COVID-19 Charities Fund on behalf of the Department for Communities (DfC).

Who can apply?
Local charities facing severe financial difficulty are eligible to apply. To be eligible, your organisation must:

  • have been formed before 31 March 2020
  • be a lawfully operating charity as defined by the Charities Act (NI) 2008
  • have at least two unrelated people on its board or committee
  • have a UK bank or building society account in the legal name of the charity with at least two unrelated people who can manage the account
  • have been financially stable prior to the impact of COVID-19 and where The National Lottery Community Fund have no concerns regarding fraud or financial mismanagement
  • be able to demonstrate that your fundraising or trading income has reduced due to the impact of COVID-19 and you have unavoidable costs to cover up to 30 September 2020
  • have unavoidable costs that cannot be covered by existing grants or public funding
  • have not received other COVID-19 financial support from NI Executive departments including:
    • Department for the Economy Small Business Support
    • Retail, Hospitality, Tourism and Leisure Grant
    • Microbusiness Hardship Fund
    • Department of Finance Support Fund for Hospices and charities

Your organisation will be required to show that you have taken all reasonable steps to ensure your survival, including:

  • exhausting all other funding/income sources before deciding to apply
  • reducing activities to essential services over the immediate term

This fund will not support campaigning activities, loan repayments, new programme activity and costs associated with on-going activity that could be suspended.

If demand is high, priority will be given to those charities that communities rely on the most to deliver essential services and to ensuring equitable distribution.

If you have already applied to the initial tranche of the COVID-19 Charities Fund (which closed for applications on 10 July), you will not be able to reapply.

How to apply
Access the online application form on The National Lottery website. Use the eligibility checking tool at the start of the application to find out if you qualify to apply. If you are eligible, you can continue completing the application form.

For more information, see DfC's guidance on COVID-19 Charities Fund or download the fund FAQs from the National Lottery (PDF, 221K).

You can send any enquiries or requests for further information to

Help in completing the online application
To help charities with their applications, several organisations will host online advice sessions:

  • Northern Area Community Network, Thursday 6 August at 18:00
  • North Down Community Network, Friday 7 August at 11:00
  • North West Community Network, Monday 10 August at 10:00
  • Fermanagh Trust, Tuesday 11th August at 19:30

To register for an event, contact

First published 10 June 2020