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.

Civil society membership bodies and umbrella groups have been working together to make sure that members are represented across the range of challenges they are experiencing. You can see more about our coordinated work on the #NeverMoreNeeded campaign website.

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 been significant and will be long-lasting. 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 forecasted for the first 12 weeks of the pandemic. will experience in the first 12 weeks of the pandemic.

This money has not been distributed as quickly or as transparently as we wanted it to be. We are continuing to advocate for this funding to be distributed equitably, quickly, and efficiently. NPC have produced a summary on the various pots of money that make up the 750m that was announced, this can be found here.  

#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. Check the Never More Needed campaign website

Other financial support

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.

The first £200m being distributed by the National Lottery Community Fund is now open here for applications from small and medium charities. A further £110m pot is being held back from this initial round of funding in order to ‘address emerging priorities’.

Kickstart Scheme

What is it?

The Kickstart Scheme was announced by the chancellor in July’s mini budget. It is part of a package of measures announced by government to try to address the impact of Covid-19 on the unemployment. Kickstart is aimed at young people aged 16 – 24 who are on Universal Credit and at risk of long-term employment. 

Kickstart is a £2 billion fund and the government have said they want to create “hundreds of thousands of high quality 6-month work placements.”

What employer costs will the scheme fund?

Organisations, including charities, employing someone on the Kickstart Scheme will be given 100% of the relevant National Minimum Wage for 25 hours per week for six months. The fund will also cover associated employer National Insurance contributions and minimum automatic pension enrolment contributions. There will also be funding available to cover some overheads (more details to follow soon).

The employer may wish to employ the person for more hours, or on a higher wage, but that would be at their own cost.

What kind of roles will the Kickstart Scheme cover?

The government has said that any organisation, including those in the VCSE sector, offering good jobs can access the programme. However, funding is only available for new posts, it cannot be used to cover existing posts. In his announcement the chancellor said ‘funding would be conditional on the firm proving these jobs are additional.’ There will not be a cap on the number of placements an employer can offer.   

What is the aim of the scheme?

The aim of the scheme is to give young people the chance to “build their confidence and skills in the workplace, and to gain experience that will improve their chances of going on to find long-term, sustainable work.”

What happens after six months?

It does not appear that there will be any obligation on the employer to continue employment after the six-month period. However, we assume that an offer of permanent employment could be made by the employer if appropriate.

The government has said that the Kickstart Scheme will sit alongside other measures offered by the Department for Work and Pensions. It has also announced new funding for a National Careers Service and more funding for traineeships.

How can you apply for the scheme?

To access the scheme an application must be made to the Department for Work and Pensions. The application process opened on Wednesday 2 September. A single organisation (of any type including charities and social enterprises) can apply directly to DWP if they are recruiting at least 30 Kickstart placements.

However, if an organisation wants to recruit fewer than 30 people they will need to partner with other organisations to reach the minimum number. A representative of that group will then make the application to DWP. £300 per placement is available for administrative costs for the representative body. If you need help with the Kickstart scheme and/or want to ask about representative organisations registered in your area then email addresses for regional contacts have been published by the DWP here.

We recognise that this added level of complexity will disadvantage many charities that want to access the Kickstart Scheme but are not in a position to recruit 30 or more new positions. ACEVO is making representations to parliamentarians and civil servants to ensure that small and medium-sized organisations are not unfairly impacted. For more information about applying please click here.

The Department for Work and Pensions has now published a list of all organisations that have expressed an interest in being an intermediary to help smaller organisations access the Kickstart Scheme. The list includes a number of national and local charities. The full list can be found here.

More resources:

  • The Directory of Social Change has published a page with information and links to several coronavirus funding programmes. 
  • The Resilience and Recovery Loan fund has been expanded and improved to make more loans to charities and social enterprises affected by the pandemic. 

Charity Health Check

Together with the Centre for Mental Health, we have conducted a six-month survey with charities across five key markers of financial health. The results of the 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. The Institute of Leadership & Management is hosting webinars on mental health. ACAS has also created a page with several mental health resources during Covid-19. 

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. At the start of the lockdown 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. We have also worked with the Charity Commission on the publication of supplementary guidance on serious incident reporting which can be found here.

The Fundraising Regulator has published guidance to support charitable organisations return to fundraising activities in line with social distancing requirements, as lockdown restrictions are eased across the UK:

If there is any issue not covered here that you would like ACEVO to raise with any of the sector’s regulatory bodies 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. 
  • Inclusion London is hosting a webinar about the impact of Covid-19 on Disabled people: Abandoned, forgotten and ignored.

ACEVO has also started to think about to rebuild a fairer, more equitable society. Please read this blog by ACEVO CEO Vicky Browning and read the #BuildBackBetter statement here

#LifeBeyondCovid: House of Lords COVID-19 Committe inquiry

In August 2020, ACEVO submitted a video featuring 10 members to the House of Lords COVID-19 Committee. They talk about the impact of the pandemic on the people they work with and their work as a charity. 

Not an ACEVO member?

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