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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 helping 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 to identify suitable funders to apply to for grant funding.

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 Thursdays between 2pm and 3.30pm by emailing info@thcvs.org.uk.



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 by allowing organisations that it works with on crowdfunding to raise money purely for running costs, as well as tangible projects.


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 Business Support section of Coronavirus (Covid-19) guidance and support on government website.


  • HM Treasury
    Businesses in England that are required to shut because of local Covid-19 lockdowns or targeted restrictions will now be able to claim up to £1,500 per property every three weeks.

    Payments will be triggered by a national decision to close businesses in a high incidence area. The largest businesses will receive £1,500 every three weeks they are required to close.

    Smaller businesses that have an annual rent or mortgage bill below £51,000 and pay less business rates will receive £1,000.

    Each new three-week lockdown period will trigger an additional payment. The funding is available to provide a further safety net to protect jobs and will be administered by Local authorities.

National Lottery Community Fund

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 most vulnerable to the impact of COVID-19.

The partnerships will focus on supporting organisations that work with those communities that have been disproportionately impacted by COVID-19, including BAME and other communities experiencing health inequalities and people experiencing homelessness.

The partnerships are as follows:

Big Society Capital

Resilience and Recovery Loan Fund - a new fund for social enterprises and charities that are improving people’s lives across the UK who are experiencing disruption to their normal business model as a result of COVID-19.

It has been established to make an existing government scheme, Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme, more easily accessible to charities and social enterprises.

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. The closing date for applications is 31 October 2020.

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.

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 per 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. There is a rolling deadline for applications.

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. There is a rolling deadline for applications.

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.

UK Community Foundations

Infrastructure Fund – grants of between £5,000 to £20,000, over a maximum of three months, are available to support BAME-led infrastructure organisations to support BAME-led charities and groups apply for National Emergencies Trust funds through their local Community Foundations. Areas of work to be supported include awareness raising, mentoring/supporting groups through local Community Foundation application process and support with monitoring and reporting. There is a rolling deadline for applications.

Comic Relief

Capacity Building Grant – grants of up to £1,000 to support small community organisations to become stronger and more robust and improve their ability to deliver, both during and after the Covid-19 crisis. There is a rolling deadline for applications.

All Churches Trust

Hope Beyond Fund – grants of up to £50,000 to support churches and Christian charities to meet changing needs within their communities, helping them and the communities they support to adapt to the challenges and opportunities presented by the Coronavirus pandemic. In addition to funding capital projects, such as adaptation of buildings and the purchase of equipment, the programme will also fund project-related salaries and some other revenue costs (to the end of 2021), such as training of staff and/or volunteers.

UK Aid Direct

Small Charities Challenge Fund – grants of up to £50,000 available to small UK-registered charities and not-for-profit organisations working with the most vulnerable people in countries that are ranked in the bottom 50 of the UN Human Development Index (HDI) or if it is considered of high or moderate fragility by the UK’s Department for International Development (DFID). Up to two years funding is on offer for organisations with an annual income of £250,000 or less.

Due to the outbreak of COVID-19, DFID will be prioritising applications that can demonstrate that they are responding to longer term impacts of COVID-19. The fund remains open for applications addressing a wide range of Global Goals in a variety of contexts.

However, DFID will expect all applicants to be able to explain how their project will address anticipated longer-term impacts of the virus and outline how the risks of COVID-19 to project delivery could be mitigated as part of their application. The Small Charities Challenge Fund (SCCF) will remain open and all applications will be reviewed on a 6-monthly basis. The closing date for the next review of proposals is 5pm on the 25 March 2021.

National Emergencies Trust

LGBT+ Futures Grant Programme – a £350,000 fund to address the additional needs of LGBT+ people and communities most adversely impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic and to support and strengthen LGBT+ organisations that have been impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic.

The funding is available to any UK based non-profit groups, organisations or projects that work with Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Trans and (LGBT+) people. The funding is being made available through the LGBT+ Futures Grant Programme and is financially supported by the National Emergencies Trust. There are no deadlines for this fund.

Applications will be considered on a rolling basis until all the funding has been awarded. Grants are for short-term work only and all funds awarded through the programme must be fully spent by 31 May 2021. There is a rolling deadline for applications.

The Fore

RAFT Transition Fund - The Fore’s RAFT (Rapid Action by The Fore and Trusts) has launched its second phase to help organisations as lock-down restrictions are eased.

The RAFT Transition Fund will provide grants of up to £15,000 to small charities and social enterprises with an annual income below £500,000.

Funding can be used for any purpose, including core costs, to enable grantees to strengthen their organisations, plan ahead, become more sustainable and refocus on the new needs of their beneficiaries. Organisations, working with marginalised groups and led by people in the community that may have found it hard to access funding in the past are encouraged to apply. The Fund opens to applications on the 21 September 2020 and will be run on a first-come, first-served basis.

Garfield Weston Foundation

Weston Culture Fund – The Garfield Weston Foundation has established a new £25 million one-off fund to support mid to large scale cultural organisations that have been badly affected by the coronavirus pandemic.

Performing and visual arts organisations, arts centres, and accredited museums and galleries across the UK with a minimum income of £500,000 in a typical year, can apply for funding of up to £2 million each from the Weston Culture Fund to help them restart work, re-engage with audiences, adapt to changed circumstances, and generate revenue.

The Foundation is finalising details for the Fund which will open to applications on the 5 October 2020 and remain open until the 9 November 2020.

Mayor’s Resilience Fund

The Resilience Fund is the Mayor of London’s £1 million innovation programme to support London’s businesses and community groups to emerge stronger from the current coronavirus crisis, and to ensure the capital is better prepared for future emergencies. Supported by the London Economic Action Partnership (LEAP), the fund will support the designing and testing of innovations with grants of up to £30,000, that:

  • Build digital tools to help London emerge from the current crisis, and fare better during future stresses and shocks.
  • Help small businesses and community organisations to adapt and diversify
  • Create positive social change that addresses London’s major stresses – from inequality to food insecurity and poor health and wellbeing.

Businesses, social enterprises and community groups will be matched with tech innovators who will help them find new ways of delivering their products and services to keep up with the accelerated pace of change after the pandemic and to improve their own resilience to future shocks.

Almost any type of organisation can apply to become a resilience partner and submit a challenge, including: London boroughs, business improvement districts, community groups, social enterprises, small and medium-sized businesses and charities. The closing date for applications is December 2020.

African Health Policy Network

BAME-led charities, voluntary or community groups and organisations, and faith groups across the UK can apply for funding to help them continue to respond to the needs of their community during the Covid-19 pandemic.

The African Health Policy Network are making three levels of funding available of between £500 and £100,000 to help small and medium Black, Asian, and Minority Ethnic (BAME) groups and their communities build wellbeing, resilience and capacity following the pandemic.

The amount awarded will be dependent on annual income for each group/organisation. Funding can support a number of things including project staff salaries, project activities, engagement activities, running costs, and equipment.

The deadline for applications is 12am on 30 October 2020.

Rank Foundation

Time to Shine Covid-19 Resilience Programme – In response to the coronavirus pandemic, a new £10 million Grants Programme will be launched to provide support to 200 small-medium charities and social enterprises within the social sector.

The Rank Foundation’s Time to Shine Covid-19 Resilience Programme will offer immediate, short-term and urgent grant funding to organisations primarily within their network, RankNet, that are facing unprecedented demand for services, or those who have suffered a significant reduction in income due to the pandemic.

In addition, organisations will take part in the Time to Shine Leadership Programme to create new jobs within the social sector and to help build resilience. The Foundation has received £5 million in match-funding from the Government’s Community Match Challenge scheme.

Postcode Dream Trust

Postcode Recovery Fund – Charities can apply for a share of £3 million in funding to help communities across Great Britain recover from problems highlighted or exacerbated by the Covid-19 pandemic.

The Postcode Recovery Fund will offer grants of between £500,000 and £1 million for projects lasting between 12-24 months which tackle a systemic societal issue related to the pandemic. Priority will be given to projects which address educational inequalities, homelessness, domestic violence, health and wellbeing, social exclusion and isolation, and poverty.

General running costs including ongoing staff costs, utility bills, council tax, rent and insurance etc are eligible for funding. Funding will be provided by the Postcode Dream Trust.

The deadline for applications is 5.30pm on the 30 October 2020.

Garfield Weston Foundation

The Garfield Weston Foundation has announced that its new £25 million fund to support mid to large scale cultural organisations that have been badly affected by the coronavirus pandemic is now open for applications.

Performing and visual arts organisations, arts centres, and accredited museums and galleries across the UK with a minimum income of £500,000 in a typical year, can apply for funding of £100,000 to £2 million each from the Weston Culture Fund to help them restart work, re-engage with audiences, adapt to changed circumstances, and generate revenue.

The deadline for applications is the 9 November 2020.

Westfield Stratford City & Foundation for Future London

Westfield East Bank Creative Futures Fund – Funded by Westfield Stratford City in partnership with Foundation for Future London, the Westfield East Bank Creative Futures Fund aims to accelerate new project ideas, support start-up enterprises and increase education, training and skills development opportunities for the local community within the boroughs of Hackney, Newham, Tower Hamlets and Waltham Forest.

The Medium Grant Scheme offers grants of between £5,000 - £15,000 for projects and activities taking place for up to 12 months. The Large Grant Scheme offers grants of between £15,000 - £50,000 for projects and activities taking place for up to 18-months.

The closing date for applications is noon on Monday 30 November 2020.

Energy Saving Trust

Energy Redress Scheme – The Energy Saving Trust has announced that charities in England, Scotland and Wales can now apply for funding of up to £1 million through the Energy Redress Scheme.

The scheme which share payments from energy companies who may have breached rules, funds projects that support energy consumers in vulnerable situations.

The scheme offers charities the opportunity to apply for grants of differing amounts. This will help deliver a range of new and innovative energy related projects designed to help vulnerable energy consumers and households that may have been impacted by COVID-19.

The closing date for applications is 5pm on the 4 November 2020.