Community grant information

Covid Community Fund

The Voluntary and Community Sector (VCS) in Tower Hamlets has been vital in responding to the Covid-19 pandemic across the borough.

The sector played a key role in the community response by quickly meeting an increased demand for services and adapting their way of working so they could continue to operate safely.

Our local VCS organisations have been instrumental in protecting some of our most vulnerable residents during an extremely challenging time.

We want to continue achieving positive outcomes for our residents while also  enabling the borough to recover from the Covid-19 pandemic.

Now we are in the second wave of the pandemic, we know that VCS organisations will once again need to change how they run their services. In support of this, the council has launched its Covid Community Fund.

For a limited period of time, VCS organisations in Tower Hamlets will be able to apply for funding and organisational support as detailed as follows.

  • Covid Organisational Support Fund – Up to £5,000 available for VCS organisations that need to restructure, either to incorporate the current social distancing and other restrictions, or to respond to Covid-19 more generally. This includes organisations delivering frontline or direct contact services to residents who will need to restructure their organisation to reflect the current climate. 

  • Covid Re-Purposing Fund – Up to £5,000 available for VCS organisations, either to deliver services differently to residents and beneficiaries, such as adapting services to remote delivery, or where Covid-19 has meant that there is good reason for the organisation to deliver different kinds of services. Funding could be provided to cover the up-front costs of changing the way services are delivered,  for example new equipment or training, or continuing to deliver  these services in new ways, such as increasing the reach and capacity of re-purposed services.

  • Wider Support – Alongside the award of funding, council officers and Tower Hamlets Council for Voluntary Service (THCVS), will engage with organisations on the issues they face arising from or impacted by Covid-19 and work with them to develop a detailed organisational transition plan and agree support measures. The elements of support that could be provided include:
  1. Repurposing delivery models, including implementing social distancing measures and working in different ways
  2. Finances and funding, including bid writing
  3. Business planning and business continuity
  4. Governance, strategy and policy
  5. Training and skills
  6. Matters relating to staffing or volunteers
  7. Communications and engagement including social media
  8. Digital

VCS organisations can also apply for wider support on a stand alone basis, without applying for funding. In order to access wider support if not applying for funding, simply email us at the address below and we will follow up to discuss how we can support you.

Please note, we have a limited amount of money and are expecting demand to exceed the funding available. Please read the eligibility and criteria for the fund on the links below which will be used to assess all applications.

Covid Community Fund - eligibility and criteria

The Covid Community fund has two categories with three levels of funding available to cover different needs. Applicants can only apply under one of the following two categories:

  • Covid organisational support fund
  • Covid re-purposing fund

Organisations will also need to outline the level of funding they require in their application:

  • Minor changes up to £1,000
  • Medium changes up to £2,500
  • Major changes up to £5,000

In order to be considered for funding, organisations must:

Governance

  • Be a voluntary/community sector/ not-for-profit organisation
  • Have a formal legal structure together with an appropriate governing document.

Finance

  • Have a bank or building society account in the organisation’s name
  • Have already taken/or be in the process of implementing reasonable measures to address the impact of Covid-19
  • Reserves that are deemed to be ‘free’ must be exhausted before the Covid Community Fund can be considered
  • All organisations that apply for the Covid Community Fund must have a reserves policy which clearly details the level of reserves that the organisation should hold. This should include details of reserves that are ‘free’ and those that are required if the organisation is at risk of closure
  • Not be a debtor to the London Borough of Tower Hamlets.

Premises

  • If based in or using Tower Hamlets Council buildings, the organisation should have an appropriate property arrangement in place.

Activities

  • Currently have a base within Tower Hamlets where you provide activities that mainly benefit Tower Hamlets residents.
  • Be able to evidence that your project / organisation contributes to the council priorities set out in the Tower Hamlets Plan.

Criteria

We will take the following factors into account in assessing your application and deciding whether to award funding:

  • We will seek to fund organisations that are meeting a need not otherwise provided for through existing services
  • We will encourage bids from organisations that are not already major recipients of funding from the council or other external funders
  • Where there is an alternative fund that we think a bid would be better suited to, we will instead signpost the organisation to that fund instead
  • We will not fund organisations who have already received funding for a similar purpose from other sources such as the London Community Response Fund or East End Community Foundation’s Emergency Response fund
  • We will consider the contribution that organisations have already made to the community in responding to Covid-19
  • Due to the health inequalities associated with this pandemic and the disproportionate effect on particular parts of the community, such as people from a BAME background , projects that are delivering services targeted at these groups will be prioritised.

How to apply

If your organisation would like to apply for funding or would like wider support outside of funding, please get in touch by emailing third.sector@towerhamlets.gov.uk.

Receipt of your email will be acknowledged and we will send you an application form.

LBTH Small Grants Fund

The LBTH Small Grants Fund is designed to support voluntary and community sector activity across Tower Hamlets that will make a positive difference to the lives of local residents.

Small grants of between £200 and £5,000 are available for projects running for up to 12-months.

Larger grants of £20,000 are available through the community cohesion theme. 

There are seven themes and organisations must apply under one of the following

  • Theme 1: Innovation
  • Theme 2: Preventions
  • Theme 3: Neighbourhood Action
  • Theme 4: Community Cohesion
  • Theme 5: Partnership
  • Theme 6: Access and Participation
  • Theme 7: Loneliness
  • Theme 8: Covid-19 Test and Trace Outreach and Engagement

This programme is being administered by the East End Community Foundation.

Emergency Grant Funding

The council has grant funding support available to local Voluntary and Community Sector Organisations, based in Tower Hamlets, who are facing a significant loss of council funding. This fund evolved from the emergency element of the former Contingency Fund.

Organisations can apply for a one-off grant of up to £10,000.

In order to be considered for funding, organisations must:

  • Be a voluntary/community sector/not-for-profit organisation
  • Have a formal legal structure together with an appropriate governing document
  • Have been in receipt of Council funding in the past year (including match funded projects but excluding in-kind support).
  • Have a bank or building society account in the organisation’s name
  • Be able to demonstrate financial viability
  • Be in danger of closing or unable to continue to provide core funded services at a ‘reasonable level or standard’
  • Have already taken/or be in the process of implementing reasonable measures to address the emergency
  • Have a formal reserves policy
  • Not be a debtor to the London Borough of Tower Hamlets
  • If based in or using Tower Hamlets Council buildings have an appropriate property arrangement in place.
  • Have a base within Tower Hamlets or a demonstrable track record of successful service delivery within the borough
  • Provide project activities that mainly benefit Tower Hamlets residents
  • Provide evidence that their project/organisation is consistent with Council priorities as detailed in the Strategic/Community Plan

Applicants must clearly demonstrate the need for the funding and the fact that they are facing an unforeseen emergency. As a guide, the following information gives an indication of circumstances the council considers to be an emergency. For clarification, this does not mean that applications will automatically be supported or rejected based purely on the purpose for which the funding will be used.

The following are likely to be considered favourably for funding:

  • Building repairs (for essential emergency work)
  • Health and safety equipment/improvement (which directly affects service delivery)
  • DDA Improvements
  • Redundancy costs arising because of council action or inaction
  • Staff salaries/wages (to cover unforeseen medium/long term absences)
  • Winding-up costs

Apply

Requests for Emergency Funding support will be assessed to establish the extent to which applications meet the scheme’s criteria.

To apply for Emergency funding please complete and return the application form. There is no submission deadline. Applications will be considered on a rolling-programme basis.

Completed applications should be returned to third.sector@towerhamlets.gov.uk  Receipt of your application will be acknowledged and we will keep you updated on its progress. You will be contacted if any further information is required.

Tower Hamlets Innovation Fund (match funding through crowdfunding)

The council is keen to encourage and support innovation in the sector and acknowledged that this would require some funding to enable the sector to pilot new initiatives and approaches to service delivery and support.

The creation of an Innovation Fund is expected to support the sector "test and learn" new ways of working, new initiatives and new delivery models that if successful could be scaled up and commissioned more formally.

As a result organisations that are crowdfunding through the Our Tower Hamlets page of the Spacehive portal will have an opportunity to pitch for up to £10,000 (or a maximum of 50 per cent of an organisations crowdfunding target) in match funding for their projects.

Further details can be found on the Space Hive Tower Hamlets and the Innovation Fund pages with more information available in the fact sheet.

Council funded voluntary and community organisations

Visit the Tower Hamlets Grants website for a list of organisations funded by the council.

Grants Determination (Cabinet) Sub-committee / Grants Scrutiny Sub-Committee

Decisions on grants are made by the council’s Grants determination (Cabinet) Sub-committee which is chaired by the Executive Mayor of Tower Hamlets.

The council also has a Grants Scrutiny Sub-Committee which acts as a critical friend to the Grants Determination (Cabinet) Sub-committee.

Agendas and minutes for both committees

Standard terms and conditions of grant

The council formally approves project grants to Voluntary and Community Sector organisations by way of a grant offer letter.

They set out various essential provisions and requirements relating to projects including details of the outputs and outcomes being targeted and the scheduled draw-down of the awarded grant.

Project grants are awarded subject to satisfactory performance and as such, significant under performance could result in the awarded grant being reduced or withdrawn.

Organisations are advised that in addition to the clauses set out within their grant offer letter, grants are also subject to the council’s standard terms and conditions of grant which are available to be downloaded via the following link: standard terms and conditions of grant.

It is essential that funded organisations are fully aware of and understand the council’s standard terms and conditions of grant.

Further information

Information and support to voluntary and community sector organisations can also be obtained from the Tower Hamlets Council for Voluntary Service. Further information can be found at the TH CVS website. 

Tower Hamlets Council for Voluntary Services (THCVS)

THCVS is an independent membership organisation for voluntary, community faith and social enterprise organisations in Tower Hamlets. They provide:

Membership of THCVS is free and is open to organisations working in Tower Hamlets.  If you need help or information you can reach them directly on 020 8980 8427, email info@thcvs.org.uk or follow them on Twitter @THCVS.