Coronavirus

Since the outbreak began in the UK, ACEVO has been working in partnership with other membership and infrastructure bodies to represent your interests. 

The central repository for updates on coronavirus and guidance for your organisation is on NCVO’s website. On this page we outline the broad focus of ACEVO’s work, and we will also update this page to reflect significant changes.

As sector bodies and umbrella groups, we are all working together to make sure that #EveryDayCounts for charities and non-profits of all sizes all around the country. The organisations listed in this document are leading on these various aspects and you can contact them for queries in these areas.

ACEVO’s work on coronavirus has centred around four broad themes:

We know from talking to many of our members that the financial impacts of coronavirus have already been felt. This has an impact on what we can deliver to those we all serve, and on the employees and volunteers that ACEVO members lead. We have been working with NCVO, the Institute of Fundraising, Charity Finance Group, Small Charities Coalition, NAVCA and many others to represent this concern to government in order to ensure there is financial support to help charities weather this crisis.

#EveryDayCounts

Every Day Counts was a collective campaign that highlighted the impact of coronavirus on charities and asked the government to provide support. The campaign asked for emergency funding for frontline charities and volunteers responding to the crisis, a stabilisation fund to help charities stay afloat and confirmation that certain measures that apply to businesses will be eligible for charities. On 8 April the chancellor announced a £750m financial package to support charities during coronavirus. The package is a fraction of the £4bn loss in income that we forecast the charity sector will experience in the first 12 weeks of the pandemic. We hope this money will be distributed quickly so that charities can continue, at least in the short term, to be there for the people they serve. ACEVO will continue to campaign for medium and long-term financial support that will enable as many charities as possible to remain open for the causes and communities they exist to support

#NeverMoreNeeded: a campaign asking everyone in the sector to share the stories of charities’ invaluable work and the difference they make to people’s lives

The government cannot afford to overlook or undervalue the not for profit sector at the moment. As we navigate the worst impacts of the outbreak, people across the country are relying on charities and the essential support they provide. And we all continue to rely on their expertise and experience in the recovery effort that lies ahead.

The charity sector has never more been in the public eye and we want to use the build-up to the BBC Big Night InThe 2.6 Challenge and #GivingTuesdayNow to raise the public profile of the invaluable work charities do and why, if they can, the public must continue to support it. Read more about it here. 

On Friday 20 March the Chancellor announced the coronavirus Job Retention Scheme to allow all employers to continue to pay staff that would otherwise have been laid off. We have created a page with all the information you need to know about this

On 20 May the Secretary of State for DCMS, Oliver Dowden, announced £150m from dormant accounts would be made available for charities and social enterprises. This is split into four pots:

  • £10m to help organisations supporting unemployed and disadvantaged young people, to be distributed by Youth Futures Foundation
  • £45m to be deployed by Big Society Capital to make loans to charities and social enterprises
  • Fair4All Finance will receive £65m to support affordable credit
  • £30m will be given to the Access Foundation to distribute to social enterprises that support vulnerable young people.

Mr Dowden also announced that the National Lottery Community Fund would open for applications for small and medium charities on Friday 22 May. £200m will be available and this is money from the £750m financial support announced by the chancellor on 8 April.

The Directory of Social Change has published a page with information and links to several coronavirus funding programmes. 

Changes to existing measures

We are campaigning for changes to existing schemes that have been announced by the chancellor that do not work for charities. This includes asking for the Small Business Grant Scheme to be open to charities in receipt of charitable rate relief and to reduce the rate of interest payable on deferred PAYE and other taxes.

In the last week of April changes were made to the Charity Business Interruption Loan Scheme to exempt charities from the eligibility requirement that 50% of the applicant’s income must be derived from its Trading Activity. More information can be found here.

Charity Health Check

Together with the Centre for Mental Health, we are conducting monthly surveys with charities across five key markers of financial health. The results of the first survey and more details about it can be found here

Even for those less affected financially, this will be a period of prolonged uncertainty that could negatively impact wellbeing and mental health. ACEVO is moving its events online, and we encourage you to still ‘attend’ so that you can check in with your fellow leaders and get peer support. Upcoming webinars are here and digital meetings here

Our helplines are open if you have questions about governance or your own personal resilience, and we are developing new services which can act as a valve to release some of your internalised pressure.

Members can also access discounted expert, practical support via ACEVO’s corporate partners, and we are still running a number of training events online. Please click here to read a summary of the services and support offered by our partners.

If you are struggling, need advice or a sounding board, or would just like to share what is going on for you, simply visit our ‘talk to us‘ page to find out how to contact our support team. Jenny and Tom – both experienced coaches and previous chief executives – understand the issues and will be in touch to arrange a one to one call. If they can’t support you directly, then they will link you with the information or contacts that can.

Hannah Massarella from Bird has written a blog offering three practical steps to fight fear. The Charity Finance Group has collated a list of resources and guidance focused on wellbeing. Check our Twitter feed and our weekly newsletter for more information.

The ACEVO team is working remotely but is fully set up to keep our membership services going. We are asking people to email us rather than phone so we can direct your query to the best member of staff to deal with it. 

If there is something you need which isn’t covered here, or you would like to get in touch for any reason, please email info@acevo.org.uk  

We have been working closely with the Charity Commission to answer questions members have raised about governance and regulatory obligations during the crisis, we produced a briefing for the Charity Commission which can be downloaded here. Issues that have been raised include remote decision making, flexibility in reporting deadlines and altering charitable objects to respond to the current need. The Commission has produced a Q&A in response here which it is updating on a regular basis. The Commission’s contact desk is also open daily from 9am-5pm on 0300 066 9197and call handlers are prioritising queries related to COVID-19.

If there is any issue not covered here that you would like ACEVO to raise with any of the sector’s regulatory bodies (e.g. Fundraising regulator), or Companies House, please get in touch with our head of policy, Kristiana Wrixon. Members can also access bespoke advice through ACEVO’s governance advice line, and advice can also be found on the Small Charities Coalition website.

The outbreak of COVID-19 has changed many charities plans and immediate priorities. Every charity wants to ensure that it is doing all it can over the coming months to provide support and services to the people it works with. In order to serve all people and all communities we need to be sure that the programmes and processes we create over the coming months are equitable and inclusive. The need to move with speed does not negate the need to be inclusive, and the fact that we will all be impacted by COVID-19 doesn’t mean we will all be impacted equally.

On Monday 23 March we hosted an online event to discuss what charities can do to ensure they have equity at the centre of their decision making and designing when responding to COVID-19. Watch the recording below or read the summary here

More insightful content:

  • #CharitySoWhite has published a paper that provides an overview of the risks and impact of COVID-19 on racial inequalities within the UK.
  • Ubele has a dedicated page collating the work it has been doing in response to Covid-19 and how it affects BAME communities, including research and case studies.
  • Leeds Migration Partnership has published a really interesting blog about video calling and the potential costs to marginalised communities. The blog also offers advice for addressing these inequalities. 

Not an ACEVO member?

If you have any queries please email info@acevo.org.uk
or call 020 7014 4600.