As we work to make a bigger difference here's some advice during the Covid-19 crisis
Covid-19 has had a significant impact on the income churches normally receive from rentals of their church buildings. This can range from low-level rentals to church organisations and community interest groups to sustained use of the building by playgroups and nurseries and all stops in between. In many cases this income has stopped almost overnight and whilst all churches will feel this loss for some it is highly problematic.
Many churches have community facing ministries, not least foodbanks, and it is a struggle to sustain those ministries. There are the financial pressures of course but in addition some volunteers have had to withdraw to shield themselves and/or others.
We must await national developments around lockdown guidance and also advice around when and how it might be possible to open up our buildings, our churches and our community halls.
Faith and community groups have a unique role to play in looking after people, providing services and support and in building a sense of society. Government and trust funds are making funds available.
This page offers some guidance on possible sources of grant funding that might be available to churches.
There are no guarantees but there are possibilities to be explored. Funding can help with the project costs of, say, a foodbank but also recoup some of the core costs of the church that hosts the foodbank – for example rental of a kitchen preparing food or a room to store food. Without those core costs covered the ability to run the foodbank is impaired.
Help support and advice
There is a wealth of experience and advice available through your local Council for Voluntary Service and equivalent. Make use of their advice and their websites have a range of Coronavirus related advice including lists of grant making trusts, some local, some regional and national.
You can also talk to Ellen Loudon, Director of Social Justice and chair of Together Liverpool. Ellen can offer general advice as well as funding related advice and guidance in making funding applications.
Coronavirus Community Support Fund
This is a £200million Government fund, part of the £750million package to support charities and social enterprises. This is not Lottery money; the Government is using the National Lottery mechanism to distribute grants.
The aim is to fund
(i) activities supporting people and communities affected by Covid-19 and
(ii) organisations overcome acute financial difficulties due to the pandemic.
- The application form is not complicated, two sides of A4 but complete carfully
- Applications from single churches are less likely to succeed than a consortium of churches: look to team ministries, identifiable geographical regions, clusters of churches.
- talk to Ellen Loudon to get some application guidance.
- Learn more about and apply for the Coronavirus Community Support fund
National Lottery Awards for All
This funding arm of the National Lottery is focusing on Covid grant support for grants up to £10,000, below the level of the Coronavirus Community Support Fund.
They aim to help
Find out more and apply here
- organisations helping those affected by the virus (such as BAME communities, end of life care and community advice),
- services for vulnerable groups (such as debt support, homeless, domestic abuse) and
- finally organisations that support community building and infrastructure.
An initiative of Metro Mayor Steve Rotheram in partnership with the Community Foundation for Merseyside. Grants up to £5,000 are currently awarded with a focus on foodbanks, mental health and wellbeing and financial inclusion.
Find out more here
Community Foundation for Lancashire
Note that West Lancashire has its own version of this funding, via the Community Foundation for Lancashire
Heritage Emergency Fund
Applications for grants from £50,000 to £250,000 to cover essential costs for up to 4 months. www.heritagefund.org.uk.
The fund FAQs state:
Places of worship can apply to the fund for emergency costs associated with the protection of their heritage. They need to have explored whether their project can be supported through other emergency funds before submitting an application to us.
For Church of England applicants, parishes should be in touch with their diocese to explore any support that might be available in advance of applying to the Heritage Emergency Fund.
See also the Covid19 page at the excellent National Churches Trust website which covers off the grants that NCT can make towards the care of churches.
Grant making trusts
There are any number of lists of grant making trusts with a focus on Covid-19. Many lists will duplicate each other but some will contain regional funders for your area.
- Charity Excellence Framework: top of the tree here because although it is a Trust fund database company, on which see below, Charity Excellence are offering their Covid-19 funding database and additional resources for free. Well worth exploring.
- The Merseyside Funding Information Portal is free and very comprehensive, covering the Mersyside region including Halton & St Helens, Knowsley, Liverpool and Sefton. It contains both regional and national funders and has a dedicated Covid-19 funding page
- Liverpool CVS has a dedicated Covid support grants list here.
- Halton & St Helens CVS Covid funding list is half way down their home page; they flag up the Charity Excellence Framework, as above.
- Warrington Voluntary Action has a list of funders, helpfully with local funders at the top of the list.
- Wigan Borough Community Partnership have a Covid-19 funding and advice page here
Trust fund database searches
There are a number of organisations that for a fee provide search engines for filtering out grant makers most likely to support your project.
- The first port of call is your local CVS or community council who will have access to grant finding software
- GrantsOnline offers subscriptions from £15 for a month upwards
- Funderfinder is well known, a year subscription is around £230 for 500 searches
- Funds Online a service of the Directory of Social Change offers weekly (offline applications only) or annual subscriptions for around £430
- Charity Excellence Framework: a Covid-19 funder database and additional toolkit resources and all for free; registration required, no cost.