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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.


East End Community Foundation

East End Emergency Fund (EECF) - The fund is open for donations and the amount collected will be matched by the Canary Wharf Group. EECF is working with the council to identify needs 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.


London Funders

London Community Response - £16 million fund to support London’s voluntary sector, which has received contributions from over 40 funders, including £5 million from Mayor of London and £1 million from City Bridge Trust. Organisations can apply for funding to help with increasing demands for services, higher staff absences, fewer volunteers and lower donations. The second wave of the Local Community Response has two funding programmes:

  • Crisis response – grants of up to £10,000 to help organisations meet the needs of communities, from food and essentials to equipment and additional short-term staff costs.

More information about further funding from London Community Response will be published on their website shortly.


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 Portal.

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 Local Community Fund (NLCF). The funding will support organisations at the heart of local communities that are making a big difference during the outbreak. 

The first part of the £370 million for small and medium sized charities, the Coronavirus Community Support Fund, was launched on 22 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, reducing the burden on public services.

NLCF will priorities 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 between £300 and £10,000, and over £10,000 to cover spending for up to six months after the award. NLCF will consider larger awards or longer time frames on a case-by-case basis, particularly for organisations working across more than one area of England.

Tower Hamlets Council for Voluntary Service is holding weekly online Question and Answer Sessions in June for VCS organisations based in or working in Tower Hamlets. These are to provide support in applying for the Coronavirus Community Support Fund.

Central government – Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

Food Charities Grant Fund – Grants of up to £100,000 for frontline food aid charities that are unable to meet an increased demand for food from vulnerable individuals as a result of the COVID-19 crisis.

Grant funding will support the provision of food for people that cannot afford it, or who have moved into temporary accommodation as a result of COVID-19. For example, those who have left home due to domestic abuse, newly released prisoners, the newly homeless. 

National Lottery Community Fund (NLCF)

Mainstream funding from the NLCF is prioritising projects and organisations supporting communities through the COVID-19 pandemic. Funding will be prioritised for organisations that:

  • support people who are at high risk of COVID-19
  • support 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.

Big Society Capital

Emergency Funding – £100 million of investment to provide emergency funding to charities, social enterprises and small businesses. This will include the Resilience and Recovery Loan Fund, which will provide loans of £100,000 to £500,000 to charities and social enterprises that are experiencing disruption to their business as a result of COVID-19.

Loans will have low interest rates and be free of interest and fees for the first 12 months. The application process for the Resilience and Recovery Loan Fund is about to be finalised. For more information, please visit the Social Investment Business website.

Youth Endowment Fund 

COVID-19 Grant Round – This will fund and evaluate work which supports vulnerable young people at risk of youth violence during the COVID-19 pandemic. Social distancing and stay at home measures have seen access to schools restricted and the provision of youth services dramatically reduced.

The fund will focus on funding and evaluating digital/virtual delivery of youth programmes and face-to-face activity that can be delivered whilst adhering to government guidelines.

Comic relief

COVID-19 funding - Some of the money raised through Sport Relief 2020 will go to organisations on the frontline of the response to coronavirus, who are able to reach some of the most vulnerable people who are likely to be affected.


Neighbourly community fund Micro-grants of up to £400, available to existing member of Neighbourly in the UK and Ireland whose work will involve supporting members of the community suffering economically, socially or from ill health as a result of the coronavirus outbreak.

Childhood Trust

Champions for Children – A match-funding campaign to raise unrestricted funds for charities working with children whose lives have been impacted by COVID19. Funds raised during campaign week (23-30 June) are matched by pledge donors (from your network) and Childhood Trusts funds.

Waste and Resources Action Programme 

COVID-19 Emergency Surplus Food Grant – £3.25 million fund to support the operations of not-for-profit food redistributors to ensure that any surplus food can reach people in need or those considered most vulnerable. Grants can be used to fund both capital and revenue costs associated with redistribution activities.

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 activity to improve their health. The fund will support projects that help people to stay active during social distancing, such as online fitness classes delivered via video conferencing software or YouTube.

Association of Mental Health Providers

Coronavirus Mental Health Response Fund – The Department of Health and Social Care is providing grants of £20,000 to £50,000 to voluntary and community sector providers that are providing mental health services during COVID-19. Applications should only take 30 minutes to complete and there will be a fast-track assessment process.

National Survivor User Network (NSUN)

NSUN COVID-19 Fund – Part of the above Coronavirus Mental Health Response Fund, this fund provides grants of up to £1,000 to support user-led organisations and smaller community groups that might not otherwise be eligible for a grant.

Grants will support community action, peer support, mutual aid and other activities that are using community technologies to support people with mental health needs during the COVID-19 period. Applicants must be members of NSUN (membership is free – please see above web link).

Childs Charitable Trust

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

Ernest Hecht Charitable Foundation

The foundation is continuing to accept applications for funding from charities who are struggling to survive funding crises during the COVID-19 pandemic and charities who are seeking funding for future projects/activities.

Morrisons Foundation

COVID-19 Homeless Support Fund – Recognising that homeless people are particularly vulnerable to COVID-19 the Morrisons 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. 

Youth Music Network

Youth Music Emergency Fund – Offers additional support to music-making organisations affected by coronavirus. Grants of up to £10,000 are available to support organisations on a number of issues such as

  • cashflow
  • maintaining services
  • adapting services
  • children and young people projects.

Priority will be given to people and organisations in the most need.


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. 

BBC Children in Need

COVID-19 Large Grants Programme will be open to applications from 8 June to enable organisations to apply for £80,000 over an 18 month period. Further details will be made available soon.

Clinks UK

COVID-19 Response Grants – Voluntary sector organisations working in the criminal justice system with under £500,000 annual income can apply for this 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. This includes organisations 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 are expected to be in the range of £3,000 to £5,000.

Independent Age

Independent Age Grants Fund – £2 million of funding is available to help smaller organisations work with older people who have been hit hardest by coronavirus. Organisations can apply for grants of up to £15,000. There will be four application rounds, with the first round closing on 4 June 2020.

Resourcing Racial Justice

Restoring Racial Justice Fund provides financial support to individuals and organisations that are working to address the effects of COVID-19 and beyond on those who identify as People of Colour.

Organisations must be working to take forward racial justice and can be either incorporated, unincorporated and/or unconstituted. Grants for organisations include £5,000 to £30,000 Emergency and Recovery grants to respond to the immediate needs of the more at risk and vulnerable, and long term structural change grants of £30,000 to £50,000.  

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 coronavirus.

Organisations can apply for funding of up to £10,000, or up to 30 pre cent 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.