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Contingency planning and financial implications

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What you need to do to prepare for the potential impacts of coronavirus on your charity's or voluntary organisation's operations and finances.

Developing a contingency plan and your insurance 

  • Given the uncertainty surrounding the future for many organisations, scenario planning is a useful tool to help you to imagine what might happen and how would you respond. Read our updated our guidance oscenario planning 
  • Tools for tomorrow provides you with a useful set of tools to help you think about strategic planning.  
  • For more information about strategic planning and decision making in tough times, watch our webinar.  
  • Thichecklist from Zurichan NCVO trusted supplier (PDF, 290KB) will help you think through some of the implications of coronavirus on your organisation 
  • The Charities Facility Management Group has more information on how to develop a business continuity plan   
  • If you are thinking about what insurance you need as a result of coronavirus, Zurich have developed a set of questions to help you decide.  
  • Every insurance policy will have varying terms and conditions so you should check directly with your insurance company or broker.   

Financial management and solvency

  • The government has developed a summary of key considerations and practical tips to help charities manage their finances. These are intended as a starting point,. to assist charities with identifying options which could help with current financial challenges.  
  • The SORP-making body has published guidance for trustees and preparers of charity accounts looking at the potential impact of the control measures to contain covid-19 on financial reporting by charities.    
  • Haysmacintyre are collating, analysing and providing insights on the various financial, tax and accounting measures and initiatives being announced.  
  • Good Finance have a hub full of tools and resources to help you manage your organisation’s funds and investments.   
  • Charities may be eligible to receive support with their tax affairs through HMRC’Time to Pay service. You can call the HMRC on 0800 024 1222 but it may take some time to get through as demand is high. 
  • The government has released an alert to charities and social enterprises about an increased risk of fraud and cybercrime. Read their guidance on how to protect your charity.    
  • If, despite efforts to restructure your finances and make contingencies the trustees foresee that your organisation will be unable to pay its debts as they become due, and the value of its assets are less than the charities liabilities, then trustees should consider guidance on solvency. 
  • In June 2020 the Corporate Insolvency and Governance Act 2020 made some temporary changes to insolvency and corporate governance law. To find out more about these changes see Bates Wells guidance
  • Secondary legislation means that many of these changes will now continue until either December or the New Year. Some key updates include:
    • Wrongful trading:
      • The temporary suspension of wrongful trading provisions to remove the threat of personal liability during the pandemic expired on the 30 September 2020.
      • On or after the 1 October 2020 liquidators and administrators are able to bring claims against company directors for wrongful trading for losses caused by trading.
    • Moratorium:
      • A company is allowed a short period to pursue a rescue plan without creditors being able to take legal action, under the supervision of a third-party monitor. Some of the temporary relaxation of conditions for obtaining a moratorium have been extended to 30 March 2021. 
      • Significantly, from now until the end of this period, the monitor will no longer be able to ignore the economic impact of coronavirus when considering whether the company is likely to be rescued as a going concern.  
    • Winding up petition:
      • The prevention of the presentation of winding-up petitions is extended until 31 December 2020. 
    • Supply contracts:
      • The temporary exemption for small suppliers has been extended to 30 March 2021.
      • Small suppliers are exempt from having clauses in supply contracts which provide for termination of the contract on insolvency.

Consider merger and collaboration

Coronavirus job retention scheme (furloughing)

  • The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme gives employers access to support from HMRC to continue paying wages and avoid laying off staff or making them redundant due to the covid-19 pandemic. 
  • The government has developed guidance explaining the scheme.  
  • The furlough scheme will close on 31 October 2020. 
  • From 1 November, the government is introducing a six-month Job Support Scheme aimed at protecting some jobs in businesses facing lower demand over the winter due to covid-19. See the government guidelines on the Job Support Scheme. 
  • As of the 10 June 2020, employers can no longer furlough employees for the first time.  
  • An employee can only be furloughed after 30 June if they have previously been furloughed prior to 10 June.  
  • Part-time furloughing will begin on 1 July.  Employers can decide on the split of hours. This will only apply to employees furloughed for the first time on or before 10 June 2020.  
  • Employers will no longer be able to reclaim employers' NI or pension contributions through the CJRS for employees on furlough after 1 August.   
  • From 1 September, the CJRS will only reimburse 70% of salary (to a cap of £2,190 per month). Employers will be required to top-up to 80% (or more if the employer has agreed to a higher percentage).  
  • From 1 October, the CJRS will only reimburse 60% of salary (to a cap of £1,875 per month). Employers will be required to top-up to 80% (or more if the employer has agreed to a higher percentage). 
  • For a detailed overview of what furloughing means for those who want to volunteer or take on volunteers, please read our blog on furloughing and volunteering. 
  • If only some employees are furloughed, consideration should be given to capacity and demand. You must be careful not to discriminate and to make furloughing decisions based on roles, not on personal characteristics. It may be appropriate to use a similar selection process as in a redundancy situation. 
  • Public sector organisations and organisations receiving public funding specifically for salary costs are expected to continue to use that funding for salary costs rather than furloughing staff.  
  • Get the last update on the CJRS from HR Services Partnership, one of our Trusted Suppliers.  


The job support scheme 

On 1 November 2020, the job support scheme will replace the coronavirus job retention scheme. The scheme will run for six months until April 2021. The Job Support Scheme is aimed at protecting viable jobs in businesses who are facing lower demand over the winter months due to covid-19. 

  • Under this scheme, employees must work at least 33% of their usual hours and employers will pay them their contracted wage for these hours worked. 
  • For every hour not worked by the employee, the government and employer will each pay a third of the usual hourly wage for that employee.  
  • This will make sure employees earn a minimum of 77% of their normal wages, where the government contribution has not been capped. The government contribution will be capped at £697.92 a month. 
  • Employers with a UK bank account and UK PAYE schemes can claim the grant. Neither the employer nor the employee needs to have previously used the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme. 
  • To be eligible for the scheme employees must be on an employer’s PAYE payroll on or before 23 September 2020. 
  • Small and medium-sized enterprises are eligible for the scheme. Large organisations will need to demonstrate that their business has been adversely affected by covid-19 in order to be eligible. 
  • The grant will not cover class 1 National Insurance contributions or pension contributions, although these contributions will remain payable by the employer. 
  • Employees will be able to come on and off the scheme and do not have to be working the same pattern each month, but the agreed working arrangement must be at least maintained over the course of seven days. 
  • Employees cannot be made redundant or put on notice of redundancy during the period within which their employer is claiming the grant for that employee. 
  • Employers using the job support scheme will also be able to claim the job retention bonus if they meet the eligibility criteria. 
  • The government has produced a factsheet with further information on the scheme and how you can claim. 
  • If you have further questions about the scheme and how it might work for your charity, you can contact Croner, an NCVO Trusted Supplier, on 0844 561 8133. 

Coronavirus business interruption loan scheme (CBILS)

  • The coronavirus business interruption loan scheme (CBILS) supports small and medium-sized businesses, with an annual turnover of up to £45m, to access loans, overdrafts, invoice finance and asset finance of up to £5m for up to six years.
  • Under the scheme, charities can access loans of up to £5m for up to six years. The government also covers the first 12 months of interest payments and any lender-levied fees. 
  • At the end of April, the British Business Bank confirmed that registered charities are exempt from the requirement that 50% of the applicant’s income must be derived from its trading activity.
  • In order to be eligible for the scheme, charities must now:
    • be based in the UK 
    • have a turnover below £45m 
    • have a viable borrowing proposal  
    • be able to show they have been adversely impacted by covid-19.  
  • When considering the scheme, charities must note that loans commit charities to long-term interest payments and trustees will need to check they have the power to agree loans and weigh up options before applying.
  • Some key issues to consider: 
    • Is taking on debt is in the best interests of the charity and its beneficiaries both now and in the future? 
    • What will the loan allow you to do and could this be achieved through other means e.g partnership working? 
    • Although the loans are now available to charities, some charities will have restrictions in their governing documents which prevent or restrict their borrowing. Trustees should check they have the power to borrow before agreeing a loan. 
    • As with any loan, trustees must examine financial forecasts. This involves assessing your expected unrestricted income and outgoings over the coming years. Are you able to repay the loan and what are the implications on servicing dept on the ability to deliver your purpose? 
    • Although loans up to £250,000 carry no personal guarantee, higher loans may. This means there could be implications for individual liability and trustees should understand this risk by discussing it with their lender.  
    • A charity’s legal form also has implications for signing off loans and the personal risks involved. Although we understand larger unincorporated organisations will be eligible, trustees of these organisations need to be aware that there are increased risks for their personal liability. 

Bounce back loan

  • On 4 May, the government launched the bounce back loan scheme which aims to help small and medium-sized businesses to borrow between £2,000 and £50,000.
  • The government will guarantee 100% of the loan and there will be no fees or interest to pay for the first 12 months.
  • Loan terms will be up to six years. No repayments will be due during the first 12 months. The government has also agreed with lenders that an affordable flat rate of 2.5% interest will be charged on these loans.
  • As with the coronavirus business interruption loan scheme (CBILS), the requirement that 50% of your income must come from trading has been waived for charities.
  • In order to be eligible for the scheme, charities must satisfy the following criteria:
    • Be based in the UK 
    • Be able to show your charity has been adversely impacted by covid-19  
  • Charities cannot apply if they are already claiming under CBILS.
  • However, if your charity has received a loan of up to £50,000 under CBILS and would like to transfer it into the bounce back loan scheme, you arrange this with your lender until 4 November 2020.
  • More information on how to apply can be found on the British Business Bank website.

Charity funding from government

Other funding opportunities for charities

This is not an exhaustive list of funding. For other funding pots, including local and regional opportunities, check out Funding Central, the Directory for Social Change, Locality and Charity Excellence.

The Association of Charitable Organisations has published guidance for organisations looking to set up new funds to provide financial grants to individuals adversely impacted by the covid-19 outbreak. The guide identifies the key considerations and minimum requirements for establishing grant making operations to support individuals during the present pandemic. 

National Emergencies Trust (NET) Coronavirus Appeal

NET is helping grassroots charities and groups supporting some of society’s most vulnerable people throughout the outbreak. Organisations looking for funding should contact their local community foundation. More details, including a list of the 45 community foundations in England.

Big Society Capital loans and investment

A £100m programme of loans and investment for social enterprises, charities and small businesses in disadvantaged areas affected by coronavirus. It includes small, emergency loans with no fee and no interest for 12 months. More information on this programme.

National Lottery Community Fund (NLCF)

All funding decisions for the next six months (up to £300m of National Lottery funding) will be devoted to addressing needs related to covid-19. NLCF will prioritise activities for supporting communities through the crisis and  help organisations overcome financial issues, by delivering faster payments for existing grant holders and applicants. More information on this fund.

National Lottery heritage fund

A £50m emergency fund of grants of between £3,000 and £50,000 available for organisations supporting:

  • historic sites
  • industrial and maritime heritage
  • museums
  • libraries and archives
  • parks and gardens
  • landscapes
  • nature.

Priority will be given where there is limited or no access to other sources of support and an organisation is at risk of severe financial crisis due to covid-19. More information on this fund.

National Lottery Awards for All England

Grants of £300 to £10,000 with priority given to organisations:

  • supporting people who are at high risk from covid-19
  • supporting communities most likely to face increased demand and challenges as a direct result of measures to prevent the result of covid-19
  • with high potential to support communities with the direct and indirect impact of covid-19

More information on this fund.

Sport England coronavirus support fund

  • £195m programme of grants between £300 and £10,000 for clubs and community organisations
  • £5m pot for existing partners to bid into if they are facing specific financial difficulty
  •  £55m fund to support the sector during the ongoing period of restrictions
  • £115m rollover of current funding into 2021/22 for over 100 established partners.

Find out more and apply.

Arts Council England

£160m of emergency funding is available to ensure organisations and individuals working in the cultural sector are protected during the crisis. The council has also changed the funding requirements for individuals and organisations currently receiving its funding. More information on this fund.

Barclays Foundation charity partners programme

A £50m fund to help disadvantaged people suffering from social and economic deprivation, the elderly and vulnerable communities most at risk from covid-19, and to support NHS staff and other keyworker communities. Funding will be deployed via partnerships with trusted charities. More information on this fund.

Comic Relief

Some money raised through Sport Relief 2020 will go to frontline organisations. Support for grantees will occur through adapting activities, reviewing time-frames, or re-budgeting remaining funds. They will update their website and the FAQ's with more information over the next few days.

Barclays' 100x100 UK covid-19 community relief programme 

Barclays are making 100 donations of £100,000 each to UK charities working to support vulnerable communities impacted by covid-19, and the associated social and economic hardship caused by the crisisThe programme will focus on supporting charity partners who are meeting the immediate needs of people in our communities, including low income families, those facing financial hardship, isolated elderly people and key workers. UK registered charities are invited to apply for a donation to support their relief work by the closing date of Friday 22 May 2020. More information on this fund. 

London Community Response Fund

The current funding programme has been divided into three strands – crisis, enable and adapt. Grants are available to organisations offering the following support: providing food, essentials, and support through the crisis; helping to prevent difficulties escalating; and working to adapt to current challenges and continue to support civil society. Grants of up to £10,000 or up to £50,000 are available. More information on this fund. 

Southwark community response fund

United St Saviours, Guy’s and St Thomas’ Charity, Peter Minet Trust and Southwark Charities have pooled resources and have assigned a combined total of £455,000 in emergency funding for Southwark communities. Apply through the London Community Response Fund.

The Sir Jules Thorn Charitable Trust

Grants of up to £1,500 for eligible small charities. Requests are considered for contributions to core funding or for specific projects. There are no reporting requirements. More information on this fund.

The Bring Joy Foundation

Funding for local community groups to supply craft materials, activities, communication tools and assistive technology to seniors to support them in their isolation. Visit the foundation’s website for more details.

The Teaching Staff Trust

Support for teachers, teaching assistants, nursery workers, caretakers and lunch supervisors who have worked within the education sector for at least five years. Grant can be used to help with bills, household costs, travel or other essentials. More information on this fund.

The Dulverton Trust

Support for charities working to produce significant impact in youth opportunities, general welfare, conservation, preservation in Africa or peace and humanitarian support. When considering applications, the charity is keen to know whether applicants have already explored all options for financial support, including the government schemes and emergency funds before seeking funding from the Trust. Further details are available on the website.

Support Adoption for Pets 

The largest grant giving charity in the UK for animal welfare charities is providing an additional £400,000 to local animal sanctuaries suffering as a result of the covid-19 outbreak. Grants range from £1,000 – £180,000. More information on this fund..

Buttle UK - Chances for Children

Grants targeted at improving the social and emotional wellbeing of children and young people and their capacity to engage in education and learning. There is a particular focus on:

  • maintaining educational activity and stimulus within the home environment
  • establishing and/or maintaining internet access and communications
  • household essentials. 

More information on this fund.

The Schroder Charity Trust 

Grants up to £5000 for supporting:

  • education and young people
  • health
  • communities
  • environment and conservation
  • heritage
  • arts and culture
  • international development
  • the armed forces.

More information on this fund.

Clothworkers’ emergency capital programme (CECP)

Grants of up to £5,000 for essential capital items to adapt or increase services in response to covid-19. Priority will be given to organisations with income of less than £2m per annum supporting vulnerable and ‘at risk’ groups and whose beneficiaries are based outside of London. More information on this fund.

Steve Morgan Foundation – covid-19 emergency fund

The fund will provide up to £1m of funding per week for an initial 12-week period. It is open to charities in the foundation’s catchment area (North Wales, Merseyside, Cheshire and North Shropshire) and will help with the costs of emergency services to help people affected with the virus. It will also help charities experiencing a loss of fundraising revenue to stay in business. More information on this fund.

Neighbourly community fund

Micro-grants of up to £400 to support good causes that are helping communities affected by the coronavirus outbreak. Grants are awarded to good causes whose work involves supporting members of the community suffering economically, socially or from ill health as a result of the outbreak. More information on this fund.

Forever Manchester community support fund

Forever Manchester is offering awards of up to £5,000. The community support fund will accept applications from community groups based in any of the 10 boroughs of Greater Manchester. Priority will be given to groups with an annual income of less than £200,000. More information on this fund.

Crisis - In This Together grants programme

Local groups who are financially affected by additional demands on their resources and have expanded their provision for those experiencing homelessness can apply for £5,000 short-term response or £50,000 longer-term response grants. Due to high demand, the programme is currently paused, but you can ask to be updated on the programme.

Tesco Bags of Help covid-19 community fund

Tesco is offering support through Bags of Help covid-19 community fund grants of £500 (and food donations), for local group including:

  • women’s refuges
  • food banks
  • hospices
  • homeless charities
  • social isolation groups
  • schools
  • charities supporting the elderly.

More information on this fund.

Leathersellers’ Company – small grants programme

One-off grants up to £3,000, with a fast track application process. Available to UK registered charities supporting:

  • the homeless or those at risk of becoming homeless
  • provision of food and essential supplies
  • victims of domestic violence
  • nursing care to vulnerable patients.

More information about this fund.

Yapp Charitable Trust

Grants of up to £3,000 are available to registered charities in England and Wales, with a total annual expenditure of less than £40,000.This would be used to cover core costs and staffing in one of their priority areas. More information about this fund.

John Lewis and Waitrose £1m fund

Teams in each store will work with their communities to choose the best way to use the fund. Help could include:

  • setting up additional local delivery services to support self-isolating vulnerable people and those looking after them
  • delivering boxes of staples to local care homes and community groups
  • donating products to create care packages for customers to share with vulnerable neighbours.

More information about this fund.

Youth Futures Foundation

Development grants between £30,000–£100,000, and impact grants of between £100,000–£800,000 for organisations working with young people aged 14–24 to help overcome barriers to finding meaningful work. More information about this fund.

Localgiving and People’s Postcode lottery – magic little grants

Grants of £500 for local charities that support and inspire people to participate in sports or exercise. Localgiving have announced  they will support projects that help people to stay active during social distancing, such as online fitness classes delivered via video conferencing software or Youtube. More information about this fund.

Alpkit - go nice places, do good things grant

Grants of £500 for projects that demonstrate an immediate impact on those affected by the covid-19 virus crisis for:

  • helping elderly or vulnerable people
  • minimising the impact of self-isolation
  • supporting foodbanks
  • helping the homeless or those in temporary accommodation.

More information about this fund.

Antonio Carluccio Foundation

Grants of up to £10,000 for organisations working to feed those in need and promote a better understanding of food origins and nutrition. More information about this fund.

Wrap emergency surplus food grant: phase 2

Grants of between £5,000 and £10,000 to fund capital and revenue costs for organisations who can redistribute surplus food from retailers, wholesalers, and food manufacturers, to people in need or those considered vulnerable. More information about this fund.

Legal and General coronavirus emergency fund

Grants of £5,000–£10,000 for organisations supporting elderly and vulnerable people through the covid-19 crisis. Closes 20 April. More information about this fund.

William Morris Big Local

Grants up to £1000 available to local people, groups and organisations supporting neighbourly volunteering, especially where it’s helping those finding it difficult to access other support. Or positive activities that help keep people, healthy, happy and connected despite the challenges of social distancing. More information about this fund.

Social Investment Business – Resilience and Recovery Loan Fund 

The Resilience & Recovery Loan Fund (RRLF) is a new fund for social enterprises and charities who are experiencing disruption to their normal business model as a result of covid-19. Loans of £100,000 - £500,000 are available for those organisations who face a problem because expected income and activity has been delayed or disrupted. More information about this loan

 The Association of Dogs and Cats Homes 

One-off grants of up to £10,000 available to animal rescues, to help them continue their vital work during the coronavirus outbreak. Grants will be prioritised for organisations with an annual turnover of £500,000 or less and will help support the cost of food, bedding, cleaning equipment and transportation of animals, as well as additional costs as a result of staff and volunteers not being able to attend the rescue or shelter. More information about this fund. 

Webinars on contingency planning and finance

Financial management during covid-19

View the slide deck

Financial management and accessing government funding

View the slide deck

Page last edited Oct 16, 2020

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