The much anticipated £15.5M Covid-19 government funding package has received Executive approval and will launch shortly.

Full details of the NI Charities Covid-19 fund and how to apply are expected to be issued shortly.  However we are disappointed to learn that unlike the support to businesses, not only have Charities had to wait months but will have to jump through additional hoops to get support. Instead of using a flat rate fund like the Department for Economy’s support for businesses, The Department appears set to focus on income loss and resultant threat to a charity’s future.

This means that when making an application, organisations must present evidence to support their case including their last available accounts, demonstrated fundraised income, estimated loss in the 1st Quarter of the year and estimates going forward, as well as the amount needed to sustain the organisation.

This will make the process even more difficult and time consuming, not to mention dangerous as organisations with manual accounts will require individuals to undertake the task of gathering the evidence. We also know that given the size of the sector in Northern Ireland £15.5 M will not go very far. We have been lobbying local politicians to press the Executive Office to release monies to the sector and to revise criteria to allow for virtual and other work to be undertaken.

While we welcome this funding we fear for some smaller organisations it may be too little too late.