Emergency funds unlikely to be distributed soon

Baroness Barran, the Minister for Civil Society was unable to say when the remainder of the government’s £200m in emergency support will have been distributed to the voluntary sector.

The government’s £750m emergency package for the voluntary sector, announced in early April 2020, was open for applications from 22 May with an initial £200m made available through the National Lottery Community Fund (NCLF).

Questioned during a panel discussion as part of the NPC Ignites 2020 conference, Baroness Barran said she could not commit to the rest of the funding being distributed by the end of the month.

“I can’t commit to that as we’re in the process of signing off grants which is not in my control,” she said. “The lottery is working as fast as they can to get it out of the door.”

Although charities were able to start applying for funds from the NLCF from 22 May, by July, only £2m of the first £200m assigned to the NLCF had been distributed.

Baroness Barran commented that better data and transparency will be crucial to help the sector understand where it has the greatest need, how money is best spent, and what really works to make a difference in people’s lives.

Barran said it was important for transparency that charities shared data with the government when applying for funding in response to a question about why charities should share more data if the government did not.

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