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Funding for voluntary and community organisations

The council recognises the incredible contribution made by local Voluntary and Community Sector organisations (VCS) in responding to help people during the coronavirus pandemic.  We know that demand on local VCS organisations is high, leading to immense pressure on both finances and staff resource.

The council is helping VCS organisations with free access to volunteers through our volunteering hub with Volunteer Centre Tower Hamlets. We will also continue to fund VCS partners, including organisations whose grants are due to come to an end, and will contact organisations that might qualify for a three-month rent holiday.

Financial support is also available through local, regional and national grant schemes, which can help organisations in Tower Hamlets with unexpected costs, loss of income or new projects.

This page outlines some of the funding and grant opportunities available for VCS organisations in Tower Hamlets. Please contact Tower Hamlets Council for Voluntary Service (THCVS) for any advice and support.

THCVS is offering its member organisations free half hour funding searches to help them identify suitable funding that they can apply for.

Groups providing services and support to Tower Hamlets residents can book a half hour slot with a THCVS staff member on Tuesday's between 10.30am and 12pm, or on Thursday between 2pm and 3.30pm by emailing info@thcvs.org.uk


East End Community Foundation

East End Emergency Fund (EECF) are supporting local community groups and projects working to help the most needy and vulnerable during the Covid-19 pandemic across Tower Hamlets, Hackney and Newham. This includes support for isolated people, meal delivery and foodbank services, advice and help with access to medical support and shopping deliveries. The fund is open for donations and the amount collected will be matched by the Canary Warf Group. EECF is working with the council on identifying need and community groups.


Coronavirus: Let’s pull together Campaign - Spacehive is engaging with national funders to support community projects around the coronavirus outbreak. All projects under this campaign will have the Spacehive fee waived. Spacehive has also relaxed its criteria so organisations can raise money purely for running costs, as well as tangible projects.

Spacehive is also holding online workshops on 14th July 2020  to help Tower Hamlets organisations develop their crowdfunding proposals.


London Funders

London Community Response - £20 million fund to support London’s voluntary sector, which has received contributions from over 60 funders, including £5 million from Mayor of London and £6 million from City Bridge Trust.

Wave 3 of London Community Response has recently been announced. It has three strands:

  • Crisis grants, offering funding for organisations to provide food, essentials and support
  • Enable grants, funding work that helps to prevent difficulties escalating and that enables people to  emerge from crisis
  • Adapt grants, funding work that helps groups to restart, adapt or collaborate for the future.

Priority will be given to proposed projects that:

  • promote equity and inclusion, including applications from organisations led by and for marginalisedcommunities and those most affected by the Covid-19 crisis – black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) groups, deaf and disabled people, LGBT+ groups, women’s led groups
  • have strong connections with groups who reach and connect with people at high risk of negative impacts from Covid-19 (in terms of health outcomes, as well as social and economic issues)
  • are from smaller organisations.

Organisations can apply for small grants up to £10,000, or large grants up to £50,000. London Community

Response expects to be taking applications under Wave 3 up until the end of July.


Central government

The government is supporting businesses and their employees through a package of measures during this period of unprecedented disruption. Find out more on the business support section on the government’s website.

Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme - this page helps businesses find out how to access the support that has been made available, who is eligible and how to apply.

Emergency Support Package for Charities – Government has announced £750 million for frontline charities across the UK. This will include £370 million for small and medium sized charities, including a grant through the National Lottery Community Fund (NLCF), to supportorganisations at the heart of local communities, who are making a big difference during the outbreak.

The first element of the £370 million for small and medium sized charities - the Coronavirus Community Support Fund - was launched on 22nd May 2020. It involves funds of £200 million, and has two key objectives:

  • to increase community support to vulnerable people affected by the Covid-19 crisis, through the work of civil society organisations.
  • to reduce temporary closures of essential charities and social enterprises, ensuring services for vulnerable people impacted by Covid-19 have the financial resources to operate, and so reduce the burden on public services.

NLCF will prioritise applications from:

  • organisations supporting people and communities who experience disproportionate challenge and difficulty as a result of the Covid-19 crisis.
  • organisations providing services and support for vulnerable people, for which there will be increased demand as a result of the Covid-19 crisis
  • organisations which connect communities and support communities to work together to respond to Covid-19.

NLCF particularly welcomes applications from organisations led by disabled people and BAME communities, as these groups have been particularly affected by the Covid-19 pandemic. Awards from the Coronavirus Community Support Fund will be from £300 to £10,000 and over £10,000 to cover spending for up to six months after the award. NLCF will consider larger awards or longer timeframes, particularly for organisations working across more than one area of England, on a case-by-case basis.

National Lottery Community Fund (NLCF)

Mainstream National Lottery Community Fund's priorities for funding are projects and organisations supporting communities through the COVID-19 pandemic. Funding will be prioritised for organisations who are:

  • supporting people who are at high risk of Covid-19
  • supporting communities most likely to face increased demand and challenges as a direct result of Covid-19
  • support communities with the direct and indirect impact of Covid-19.

As part of NLCF’s Covid-19 emergency response, it is working alongside five expert partnerships to ensure almost £45million of National Lottery funding reaches communities that are most vulnerable to the impact of Covid-19. The partnerships will focus on supporting organisations that work with communities that have been disproportionately impacted by Covid-19. This includes BAME communities, other communities experiencing health inequalities and people experiencing homelessness.

The partnerships are as follows:

Big Society Capital

Emergency funding will involve £100 million of investment to provide emergency funding to charities, social enterprises and small businesses. This will include Resilience and Recovery Loan Fund. The fund is managed by Social Investment Business and will provide loans of £100,000 to £1.5 million, over one to three years. This funding is for charities and social enterprises that are experiencing disruption to their normal business model as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Waste and Resources Action Programme 

Covid-19 Emergency Surplus Food Grant Phase 2 -  supports small not-for-profit organisations who can redistribute surplus food from retailers, wholesalers, and food manufacturers, to people in need or those considered vulnerable. Grants of between £5,000 and £15,000 are available to help deal with any increased demand and capacity issues, additional resource, or costs for transporting surplus food from the food business to a charity or recipient.

Localgiving and People’s Postcode Lottery

Magic Little Grants – Grants of £500 to charities running community projects to support and inspire people to take part in sports and physical exercise to improve their physical health. Projects will be supported that help people to stay active during social distancing, such as online fitness classes delivered via video conferencing software or Youtube.

Childs Charitable Trust

Emergency Funding – programme supports charities that are experiencing financial difficulties as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Morrisons Foundation

Covid-19 Homeless Support Fund – recognising that homeless people are particularly vulnerable to Covid-19 the Foundation, has pledged £500,000 towards its Homeless Support Fund to support charities working with homeless people. Areas of funding include outreach and support for rough sleepers, delivery of services in hostels and shelters and information and advice.


In response to the Covid-19 outbreak the Aviva Community Fund has broadened its criteria to include applications for projects that enable causes to adapt or continue their vital services by covering core running costs, so they can help their beneficiaries and communities during this time of need. Projects must relate to Aviva’s priority areas for funding - building more connected, more resilient communities and giving people the tools to become more financially independent.

Clinks UK

Covid-19 Response Grants  - Voluntary sector organisations working in the criminal justice system with under £500,000 annual income can apply now for the above grant to support their work during Covid-19. Funding is available to organisations with an existing relationship with Her Majesty’s Prison and Probation Service, who are delivering, or have a track record of delivering, services to support people in prison, through-the-gate and in the community in the context of Covid-19. Grants expected to be in the range of £3,000 to £5,000.

Support Adoption for Pets

Support Adoption for Pets Grant Programme - pet rescue organisations can apply for funding to help support pet rescues throughout the short and medium-term impact of the coronavirus. Organisations can apply for funding of up to £10,000, or up to 30% of total annual expenditure, whichever is the lower amount. Funding must have a direct impact on animal welfare. Priority will be given to organisations whose medium-term survival is at risk.

The Foyle Foundation

Small Grants Scheme – support for smaller, grass roots and local charities, with a turnover of less than £150,000 per annum, during the Covid-19 pandemic. Organisations which are currently delivering services to the young, vulnerable, elderly, disadvantaged or the general community, either directly or through online support, can apply for grants of between £1,000 and £10,000 for core costs or essential equipment, to enable ongoing service provision, homeworking, or delivery of online digital services.

The Asda Foundation

Covid-19 Grants – two new grant stream are being offered in response to Covid-19. Hygiene Grant is focused on personal hygiene dignity, supporting residents/patients in facilities who are unable to afford their own toiletries. Applications are expected from care homes, hospices, hospitals and homeless shelters. The Health Holiday Grant supports groups that typically would be holding summer holiday activities to ensure children are provided with a hot meal. Grants of up to £500 per group. 

Sport England

Active Together Programme – commitment of £1 million to combat the impact of Covid-19 on sports clubs and community activity groups, in the form of match funding through Crowdfunder. Sports England is matching crowd funds of up to £10,000 raised by clubs and organisations hit by the coronavirus crisis. Programme is open to sports clubs and also to charity, community, voluntary or social enterprise organisations that deliver sports or physical activity in the community, but are not solely or primarily sports organisations.

Football Foundation

Club Preparation Fund – grants of £500 are available to help grassroots football clubs and organisations make the required changes and modifications to enable their buildings to reopen safely in line with Covid-19 hygiene and social distancing guidelines. Successful applicants will need to spend funding on three key areas: keeping their clubhouse and equipment clean, maintaining social distance and avoiding congestion, and promoting good hygiene.

The Baring Foundation

Strengthening Civil Society Programme – includes a funding stream for charities to support legal action that seeks to protect vulnerable individuals and communities from the impact of Covid-19. Grants of up to £40,000 for one year are available for organisations with relevant and demonstrable legal expertise in the areas that they work in. Deadline for applications for this funding round is midday 11August 2020.


Tesco Bags of Help Covid-19 Communities Fund - Tesco Bags of Help has responded to the current Covid-19 crisis by setting up a new fund to support local communities. The programme will provide a single payment award of £500 to organisations who are supporting vulnerable groups, as part of their emergency response in supporting local communities. The programme will focus on supporting organisations that have experienced increases in demand or disrupted services, or are offering new services.

UK Community Foundations

Infrastructure Fund – grants between £5,000 and £20,000, over a maximum of three months, are available to support BAME-led infrastructure organisations. The grants are to support BAME-led charities and groups to apply for National Emergencies Trust funds through their local community foundations. The funding will support work to increase awareness, mentor or support groups though the local community foundation application process, and support with monitoring and reporting.

Julia and Hans Rausing Trust

Charity Survival Fund – £10 million of core funding to help small and medium sized charities to offset lost income in the current financial year. Applicants must work in one of the trust’s three priority areas: Health and Wellbeing, Welfare and Education or Arts and Culture. They must have lost, or are forecasted to lose, income due to Covid-19 and have not already received funding from the Trust previously.