Chancellor Rishi Sunak has announced a £750m package for charities experiencing an increased demand for services during the coronavirus crisis.
Of the £750m announced yesterday by Mr Sunak at the government’s daily press conference, £360m will be directly allocated by government departments to charities providing key services and supporting vulnerable people during the crisis.
This will include funding for hospices, St John Ambulance, domestic abuse charities, charities for vulnerable children, and Citizens Advice.
An additional £370m will be made available to small and medium-sized charities. This will include a grant to the National Lottery Community Fund to organisations supporting communities in England, for example through delivering food or providing financial advice.
Mr Sunak also announced that the government will match public donations to the BBC’s Big Night In charity appeal on 23 April, starting with a contribution of at least £20m to the National Emergencies Trust appeal.
Many charities are experiencing a loss in income as a result of the coronavirus crisis due to the closure of charity shops and the cancellation or postponement of fundraising events, including the London marathon.
At the same time, charities are seeing an increased demand for services, including those who support homeless and other vulnerable people.
In response to Mr Sunak’s announcement, Polly Neate, chief executive at Shelter, said: “The chancellor’s rescue package for frontline charities providing key services is absolutely vital, but it’s not the whole answer.
“It has to be the start and not the end of the government’s efforts to protect the sector from collapse.
“As well as supporting some of those worst affected by the crisis right now, charities of all shapes and sizes play a crucial role in supporting millions of people with diverse needs, and will be critical in supporting the country’s recovery from coronavirus too.
“People won’t stop needing help, and we need a charity sector that can survive this crisis and thrive.
“The financial help offered to businesses has been broad, and it’s important the government quickly replicates this approach for charities now too.”
Mr Sunak said: “Our charities are playing a crucial role in the national fight against coronavirus, supporting those who are most in need.
“It’s right we do everything we can to help the sector during this difficult time, which is why we have announced this unprecedented £750m package of extra funding.
“This will ensure our key charities can continue to deliver the services that millions of people up and down the country rely on.”