Guide to government coronavirus funding

Following an initial £750m package of support for charities during the pandemic announced by the government in March, the Department for Education and other ministries have in recent months unveiled a number of new funding programmes to boost the finances of statutory and voluntary organisations so they can deliver vital services.

Families with children that have complex needs and disabilities can apply for grants of around £500 for vital equipment through the Family Fund
Families with children that have complex needs and disabilities can apply for grants of around £500 for vital equipment through the Family Fund

Here is a summary of the key grants on offer:


Schools can get help with the additional costs of providing education through an exceptional costs scheme established by the DfE. This will contribute towards the extra costs of implementing cleaning, social distancing and free school meals measures during the summer term.

As more pupils return to the classroom, the DfE is providing grants worth more than £750,000 for the Diana Award, the Anti-Bullying Alliance and the Anne Frank Trust to help schools and colleges build relationships between pupils, boost their resilience, and improve mental health support for pupils and teachers.

A new £95,000 pilot project in partnership with the Education Support Partnership will focus on teachers’ and leaders’ mental health, providing online peer-support and telephone supervision from experts to around 250 school leaders.

Up to 75,000 families with children with special educational needs and disabilities in England will benefit from £37.3m of direct support in 2020-21, with £10 million committed specifically to help parents educate and look after disabled or critically ill children who are staying at home more than usual during the pandemic. Families with children that have complex needs and disabilities can apply for grants of around £400-500 for vital equipment to make their lives easier through the Family Fund.

Meanwhile, Alternative Provision (AP) settings can apply for up to £750 for each Year 11 pupil on their school roll to support these young people to transition into sustained post-16 destinations and to avoid becoming Neet (not in education, employment or training). The one-off transition funding can be used by school and college leaders to identify the most effective and best value solution to support their year 11 cohort into post-16 settings.

The Prime Minister also recently announced an additional £63m for welfare assistance schemes to fund support for children from low-income families during the summer holidays. More details are expected this week.


In addition to mental health support for school staff, £9m has been provided to mental health charities to expand and reach children and families most in need as we come out of the pandemic. Charities including YoungMinds, Centre for Mental Health and Ambitious about Autism have also received a share of £5m from the Department for Health and Social Care to deliver community projects that support people with their mental health during the pandemic.

Meanwhile, £300m has been distributed to local authorities to help deliver the NHS Test and Trace service. The allocations will help enable councils to develop tailored outbreak control plans, working with the service, their local NHS and other stakeholders, with additional funding provided for communities with lower incomes and higher demand.


The Department for Education and Home Office have opened a joint £7.6 million fund for national vulnerable children’s charities working in England and Wales on issues including child sexual abuse and child criminal exploitation. The Vulnerable Children’s Charities Strategic Relief Fund is aimed at large, national voluntary sector organisations and fits alongside a range of government and other support for small and medium-sized VSOs. In addition to supporting charities that protect children from exploitation, the fund will help those working to tackle serious youth violence, substance misuse and online harms. Funds will be distributed by late July.

A similar amount is being used to fund the See, Hear, Respond service established by Barnardo’s. The programme has been created help to children and young people in England who are experiencing harm and increased adversity during lockdown by providing support to those who are not being seen by schools or other key agencies.

The Department for Housing, Communities and Local Government has allocated £76m to support the most vulnerable in society including survivors of domestic abuse, sexual violence and modern slavery as well as ensuring vulnerable children and young people continue to get the help they need. The funding supplements a change in the rules that mean  those fleeing domestic abuse and facing homelessness as a result will be automatically considered as priority by their council for housing.

Up to £8m will be available to pay for different types of therapeutic support for families whose adopted children may have already suffered trauma and be made more anxious owing to the uncertainty of the effects of the virus. The money will come out of the £45m budget the government previously announced for the Adoption Support Fund in 2020/21.

As well as the additional investment in welfare schemes, £9m is being made available for the Holiday Activities and Food programme, which provides meals and activities for the most disadvantaged families in 17 council areas.


The Department for Digital Culture Media and Sport has provided £150m to help charities and social enterprises in England. This includes accelerating the release of £71m of new funds from dormant bank accounts alongside £79m already unlocked that will be repurposed to help charities’ coronavirus response and recovery.

The funding will support urgent work to tackle youth unemployment, with £10m for the Youth Futures Foundation to help organisations who support unemployed, disadvantaged young people find jobs. They will be launching an Emergency Levelling Up Youth Fund to support young people from hardest hit communities; and will expand their Development and Impact grants programme to rapidly increase youth employment provisions.

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