The Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) and the National Lottery Communities Fund (TNLCF) have recently published a series of reports detailing the evaluation of the Coronavirus Community Support Fund. The reports will be placed in the Libraries of both Houses. The reports can also be found online.
The £200 million Coronavirus Community Support Fund (‘the Fund’) was part of the unprecedented £750 million of Government funding to support voluntary, community and social enterprise (VCSE) organisations to continue their vital work during the covid-19 pandemic. The funding was provided by DCMS. TNLCF managed, distributed and oversaw the funding. Additional management support was provided by PriceWaterhouseCoopers (PwC).
The purpose of the fund was to increase community support to people disproportionately affected by the covid-19 crisis, through the work of VCSE organisations; and reduce temporary closures of essential VCSE organisations, and so reduce the burden on public services.
The funding went to 8,200 organisations who in turn supported an estimated 6.5 million people. This included children and young people—supported by 39% of grant holders—people with mental health conditions (40%) and older people (32%).
Without the £200 million fund almost one fifth of recipients would have been forced to close their doors, while over half revealed that they would have delivered significantly fewer services if it had not been for assistance from the fund. Over 6,200 employees of these organisations were brought back or prevented from being furloughed, and over 4,200 new staff members were recruited. This is in addition to grant holders mobilising 136,000 existing volunteers and over 47,000 new volunteers that they had not worked with previously.
The CCSF has also played a major role in the Government’s commitment to tackling loneliness across all grants, with 63% reporting they had promoted ways of building social connections during the pandemic, 79% reporting that beneficiaries felt less lonely, and 70% reporting beneficiaries had more access to social contact.
The findings also underline the positive impacts felt by volunteers who were mobilised during the pandemic. 84% of people who volunteered through the fund felt like they were making a difference, and 66% people felt it gave them a sense of purpose.