National Lottery Funding Officer talks to TSL Kirklees Members
Mitchell Etheridge, who is one of two National Lottery Regional Funding Officers dealing with Kirklees and Calderdale, attended our TSL Kirklees Members’ Meeting in June to tell us more about the National Lottery’s Coronavirus Community Support Fund and answer our questions.
Here’s a summary of the details:
- £300 million was earmarked by the National Lottery Community Fund to support organisations as part of the response
- The Department of Culture, Media & Sport also put together a funding package to be added to the Lottery’s one
- The combined fund was launched on 22nd May as the Coronavirus Community Support Fund
- All other non-Covid19 related funding was paused
How to Apply
Like the usual Lottery funding, there are 2 strands, administered by different teams:
- Up to £10k
- All funding needs to be spent within 6 months of the project start date
- Funding is for emergency response activity only (they are not looking at funding for recovery activities or for activity after the pandemic yet, but may do in the future)
- They don’t normally fund liquidity & core costs but can for this funding
- They can help if organisations have a funding gap or are struggling financially
- They are aiming to make sure that organisations have 3 months of reserves & will make sure that you have enough funding/are applying for enough & are likely to survive the current crisis with a bit of help
- If you have reserves they will be assessing if you can use those or if you can cut expenditure
- They will also fund new activity & you can apply for a combination of both
- They won’t be able to fund everyone as funds are limited, but they do want to try & reach as many people as possible
- They are particularly looking to fund disadvantaged communities, for example BAME communities and those with special needs etc. and those at high risk of getting Covid19 such as people with other health conditions and those over 60.
- Despite this general criteria we will assess each application individually and take into consideration the different needs/communities/issues & how Covid19 is affecting that.
- You have to apply online & there is more information on the website.
- There is 1 application & you can’t apply again
- They cannot fund:
- Schools or statutory bodies (unless they have a charitable status)
- Core costs for hospices and end of life care (though can consider applications for activities that have a wider community benefit)
- Animal related projects
- Can I apply if I already have an Awards for All grant? – yes
- If my current activity/organisation is closed & I can’t operate due to lockdown restrictions, can I apply? – yes – we will assess you against our usual framework i.e. that your activity is people-led and is embedded in the community, and we will look at whether we can fund core costs to help you make it through the crisis.
- See page 1 & page 2 of the standard Reaching Communities guidance for organisations that are currently closed – https://tslkirklees.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2020/06/Reaching-Communities.pdf
- Can funding be used for equipment/capital costs? – yes – particularly if it’s for technology that’s help people get online (laptops & tablets etc). If it’s for larger capital costs then you need to bear in mind that the funding has to be spent in 6 months.
- What about for Perspex screens in a community building or something like that? – yes – we would look at that
- Can you give us an idea of the money that’s available in Kirklees & the timescales for applying & getting funding? – currently we have an indicative budget of £1.1 million. However, the Government has kept back £200million of the promised funding to see what happens with the 1st wave, so there could be up to £1.4million overall. If there is more need in Kirklees & an underspend in Calderdale there could be more money available, but at the moment it’s evenly split between the 2 authorities. The timescales will depend on the workload of myself & the other funding officer. Applications have come in peaks & troughs so far. You should hear back within a week & it could take up to a month to assess your application.
- How much has been spent already? – £50-100k. It’s 1st come 1st served, and the last awards will probably be made in Sept/Oct as we want the money to be spent by March 21 at latest (6 months). We expect July & Aug to be the key months.
- What sort of evaluation & feedback do you have to provide? A funding officer will get in touch during the project to see how going. We have no specific guidance other than that as yet. What we need will to know will probably be in line with our usual requirements – a budget update, work against priorities & if everything is going OK. We want organisations to be OK when they come out of the crisis, but there are a lot of variables & it depends on what happens with Covid19 & other funding etc.
- What about the other National Lottery funds? We are trying to pull together information on need & recovery across UK, and out other funds are under review. There may be a separate recovery package for funds like Reaching Communities later in the year, perhaps Nov. There is a need for support for the new organisations that have been emerging as part of this, like Mutual Aid Groups & food banks etc.
- Can I apply for core costs retrospectively? My organisation has been shut from March – No – you can only for costs from when the award is made, but you might be able to use it to alleviate expenditure going forward.
- My youth group is closed. We’re keeping in touch with the young people via Zoom but are struggling with ideas for activities & they’re staring to losing interest. Can I apply for funding if we don’t know when we’ll be able to re-open? – yes – you don’t need to have reopen date as we realise that that’s out of your hands.
- Can we do activities in the open air like picnics etc? We need to base things around meals as many of our young people don’t necessarily get fed – yes – as long as fits the Government/NHS guidelines & safeguarding.