This page covers all the areas for which our customers can access support from the government and the wider sector in relation to the COVID-19 outbreak.

For more information on the measures detailed below, visit the dedicated government guidance on support for businesses here. 

We will be updating this page regularly to reflect any new developments or announcements. If you have any questions please contact Miranda Love or Will Thomson.

Government Advice on the UK Lockdown

The UK is currently in lockdown, with the public issued advice as of 23 March to stay at home and to:

  • Only go outside for food, health reasons or essential work
  • Stay 2 metres (6ft) away from other people
  • Wash your hands as soon as you get home

Read more of the Government’s advice on staying at home here. For many charities and social enterprises, this advice will mean a drastic shift in their service delivery. We’ve included resources on coping with this - including remote working - further on down the page.

Government Support for Businesses Affected by COVID-19 

Overview of Support Measures 

  • Statutory sick pay refund for SMEs 
  • Business rates relief (see eligibility criteria) 
  • Cash grants for small businesses (see eligibility criteria) 
  • Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme 
  • Mortgage payment holidays of up to three months 
  • Insurance 
  • UK government to pay up to 80% of employee wages (see eligibility criteria)
  • VAT deferral for all UK businesses


Statutory Sick Pay Refund 

  • Businesses will receive a refund for Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) covering two weeks per employee who has been off work because of COVID-19. 
  • SSP is currently paid at £94.25 / week and new legislation will mean that employees are eligible from day one of sickness. 
  • The eligible period for the scheme will commence the day after the regulations on the extension of SSP to self-isolators comes into force (i.e. after Coronavirus Bill is passed - see below).  
  • Employers can reclaim expenditure for any employee who has claimed SSP. 

Who is eligible for this support: 

  • Any business with under 250 employees 

How to access this support: 

  • Employers should maintain records of staff absences, but employees will not need to provide a GP fit note. 
  • Government will work with employers to set up the repayment mechanism as soon as possible. 


Business Rates Relief 

  • No business rates for retail, hospitality and leisure businesses in England for the tax year 2020-2021, irrespective of rateable value. 
  • Businesses that received retail discount in 2019-2020 tax year will be rebilled by local authority asap 

Eligibility criteria 

  • All businesses in the retail, hospitality and leisure sector - the government published guidance for local authorities on determining eligibility criteria for business rate relief here. 
  • Eligible pubs will also be entitled to a business rate discount of £5,000. 

How to access this support 

  • Enquiries on eligibility for reliefs should be directed to local authority. Guidance on business rates relief will be published by 20 March. 


Cash Grants for Small Businesses 

  • £25,000 cash grants available for the smallest businesses in the retail, hospitality or leisure sectors. 
  • £10,000 grant funding for small businesses that already pay little or no business rates (because they already receive Small Business Rate Relief or Rural Rate Relief). 

Eligibility criteria 

  • For £25,000 grants - retail, hospitality and leisure businesses operating from smaller premises with a rateable value between £15,000 - £51,000. 
  • For £10,000 grants - businesses currently eligible for Small Business Rate Relief or Rural Rate Relief. It is unclear if this also applies to organisations receiving Charitable Rate Relief. 

How to access this support: 

  • Retail, hospitality and leisure businesses should contact their local authority with any enquiries on eligibility or access to this relief. 
  • Businesses eligible for Small Business Rates Relief and Rural Rate Relief will be contacted by their local authority, there is no need to apply. If an organisation receives Charitable Rate Relief (or discretionary rate relief) they should contact their local authority to see if they can also access this grant. 
  • Update: the Government has published guidancee on the eligibility of the RHLGF and SBGF - N.B. it looks as if organisations receiving Charitable Rate Relief are not eligible for SBGF.


Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme 

  • To support long-term viable businesses who may need to respond to cash flow-pressures by seeking additional finance. 
  • This will be delivered by the British Business Bank and will support loans of up to £5m. 
    The Government will provide lenders with a guarantee of 80% on each loan to give lenders confidence. 
  • Businesses can access the first 6 months of finance interest free (the Government will cover the interest payments for six months). 
  • As well as loans there will be many other types of finance supported by the programme, depending on the partner provider - more information on accredited lenders and partners can be found here. 

Eligibility criteria: 

  • UK based, with turnover of no more than £41m per annum. 
  • Operate within an eligible industrial sector (a small number of sectors are not eligible for support - see eligibility restrictions here). 
  • Be able to confirm that they have not received State aid beyond €200,000 equivalent over the current and previous two fiscal years. 
  • Have a sound borrowing proposal, but insufficient security to meet the lender’s requirements. 
  • Full eligibility criteria will be published shortly. 

How to access this support: 

  • The scheme is set to launch w/c 23rd March - more information can be found on the British Business Bank website. 


Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme

  • All UK employers with a PAYE scheme will be able to access support to continue paying up to 80% of their employees’ salary under the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme to safeguard potential redundancies.
  • This applies to employees who have been asked to stop working, but are being kept on the pay roll, which is also known as ‘furloughed workers’: HMRC will reimburse 80% of their wages (up to £2,500 per month).
  • The scheme will cover the cost of wages backdated to 1 March and is primarily open for three months, but will be prolonged if necessary.
  • Guidance for employers on the scheme can be found here, guidance for employees can be found here. There is also an eligibility checker

Eligibility criteria:

  • All UK-wide employers with a PAYE scheme will be eligible – this includes the public sector, Local Authorities and charities.

How to access this support:

  • HMRC are working to set up a repayment system as a priority, but in the meantime, you will need to:
    • Identify affected employees as ‘furloughed workers,’ and let your employees that you will be making this change –  any change to the status of employees remains subject to existing employment law and, depending on the employment contract, may need to be subject to negotiation.
    • Once the new online portal is live, submit information to HMRC about the employees that have been furloughed and their earnings (HMRC will set out further details on the information required).

HMRC Time To Pay Service 

  • Businesses and self-employed in financial distress and with outstanding tax liabilities may be eligible to receive support through HMRC's Time to Pay Service. 
    This allows businesses and the self-employed to defer tax payments over an agreed period of time.
    HMRC have detailed guidance on Time to Pay arrangements here. 

Eligibility criteria: 

  • Arrangements are made on a case by case basis and are tailored to individual circumstances and liabilities. 

How to access this support: 

  • HMRC have a dedicated coronavirus helpline for advice and support on 0800 0159 559 - opening hours are Monday to Friday 8am to 8pm, and Saturday 8am to 4pm.

Insurance Arrangements 

  • Businesses with cover for pandemics and government-ordered closure will be covered after the Government and Association of British Insurers agreed that the advice from 17th March to avoid pubs, theatres etc is sufficient to make a claim. 

Eligibility criteria: 

  • Insurance policy with pandemic business interruption coverage. 
  • However, most businesses are unlikely to be covered as standard interruption insurance policies are dependent on damage to property and will exclude pandemics. 

How to access this support: 

  • The Association of British Insurers advises businesses to check their cover and discuss concerns with brokers. 


VAT Deferral

  • The Government will defer the next quarter of VAT payments for firms.
  • All businesses will be given until the end of financial year to repay any liabilities.

Eligibility Criteria

  • No business will pay VAT from 20 March 2020 until 30 June 2020.

How to access this support:

  • This support is available automatically, with no applications required.


Protection from Eviction for Commercial Tenants 

  • Commercial tenants who cannot pay rent because of COVID-1 will be protected from eviction. 
  • No business will automatically forfeth their leis or be forced out of premises if they miss a payment up to 30 June 2020 - this could be extended by Government if needed. 
  • This is not a rental holiday - tenants are still liable for rent. 

Eligibility criteria

  • All commercial tenants in England, Wales and Northern Ireland. 

How to access this support:

  • This will come into force with the Coronavirus Bill - no action is required. 


Government Support for the Self-Employed Affected by COVID-19 

On Thursday 26 March, Chancellor Rishi Sunak outlined a package of support measures targeted at the self-employed. 


Self-employment Income Support Scheme

  • Self-employed workers are allowed to claim a taxable grant worth 80% of their trading profits up to a maximum of £2,500 per month for the next three months - this can be extended if necessary. 

Eligibility Criteria

  • Must have submitted Income Tax Self-Assessment tax return for the year 2018-19
  • Must have traded in the tax year 2019-20
  • Are trading when applying to the scheme, or would be except for COVID-19
  • Intend to continue to trade in the tax year 2020-21
  • Have lost trading/partnership trading profits due to the coronavirus. 
  • Have trading profits less than £50,000 and more than have total income from self-employment 
  • If only trading between 2016-2019, HMRC will only use those years for which a Self-Assessment tax return has been filed. 
  • If a tax return for 2018-19 has not already been submitted, the deadline to do so is by 23 April 2020. 

How to access this support:

  • This scheme is not open yet - HMRC will get in contact with those who are eligible with an invitation to apply online. Individuals should not contact HMRC now.
  • More infrmation on the Self-Employed Income Support Scheme can be found here.
  • MoneySavingExpert has also published helpful guidance and FAQs on this support package. 


Government Guidance for Organisations 

The Government has published guidance for organisations working in specific sectors which might be relevant to SIB customers, these can be accessed below: 

Coronavirus Bill 

The Coronavirus Bill was introduced on 19 March 2020. This brings in new powers to boost NHS resources, ease legislative rules and support businesses and workers.  

Some relevant aspects for SIB customers include: 

  • Remove restrictions to allow recently those who have recently left care roles to ensure care of vulnerable people and children can continue. 
  • Local authorities could be asked to prioritise social services to ensure most urgent and serious care needs are met - meaning some people might not have social care needs met during peak outbreak. 

The full explanatory notes on the Coronavirus Bill can be viewed here. 

NCVO have written a useful blog analysing what the Coronavirus Bill means for charities. 

Updates from the Charity Commission

The Charity Commission have issued a statement detailing that charities can contact them to request an extension to their annual return deadline. They have also reassured charities that their approach to regulation during this period will be as flexible and supportive as possible.

To get in touch with the Charity Commission, you can call them Monday-Friday between 9am-5pm on 0300 066 9197.


Updates from the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport 

The Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) holds responsibility for civil society, the Secretary of State is Rt Hon Oliver Dowden MP, and the Minister for Civil Society is Baroness Barran. 

In a press release from 18 March 2020 they announced that the department is working closely with the civil society sector - including the National Emergencies Trust, NCVO and the British Red Cross - on how to galvanise volunteers and coordinate help to those who need it. 

More details are expected to be announced on this over the coming days. 


COVID-19 Support Funds 

Arts Council: Emergency Funding Package

  • The Arts Council are making £160m of emergency funding available for organisations and individuals in need during this crisis.
  • £90m will be available to National Portfolio Organisations, £50m for cultural organisations
    not currently in receipt of Arts Council funding, and £20m will be made available for individuals working in the cultural sector, including artists, creative practitioners and freelancers.
  • They have also changed the funding requirements for individuals and organisations who are currently receiving their funding.


CAF Coronavirus Emergency Fund

  • Fund to help smaller charitable organisations in the UK affected by COVID-19 – grants of up to £10,000 are available.
  • This is a rapid response fund, aiming to make payments to selected organisations within 14 days of application.
  • Eligible organisations should have a charitable purpose and charitable activities, with an income of £1m or less in the last financial year.
  • More information on eligibility, timescales and applications can be found here.

National Emergencies Trust 

  • The National Emergencies Trust (NET) has launched an appeal to raise funds for local charities and grassroots organisations that can provide support to people in the quickest way.  
  • Individuals and charities should not apply directly to the NET for funds. Grant aid and how to apply to a local community foundation will be available from 23 March 2020. 

Neighbourly Community Fund

  • Neighbourly have launched the Neigbourly Community Fund, which is offering micro grants of up to £400 to support good causes helping communities affected by the Coronavirus outbreak.
  • To apply, please note you already need to be registered as a Neighbourly member.

Coronavirus Charity Help Fund 

  • MoneySavingExpert’s Martin Lewis has released £1m from his personal charity fund to provide grants of £5,000 to £20,000 to small registered charities, or local arms of bigger charities, across the UK to help with specific UK coronavirus-related poverty relief projects. 
  • On 24 March it was announced that the fund had been expanded to £3m.
  • Applications close at 11.59pm on Wednesday 25 March 2020 - the application form can be accessed here. 
  • Update: this fund is now closed. 


John Lewis Partnership Community Support Fund 

  • The John Lewis Partnership has launched a £1m Community Support Fund to be distributed by Waitrose shops to local communities. 
  • Teams in each shop will work together with their communities to choose the best way to use the fund - help could include setting up additional local delivery services to support those self-isolating, the vulnerable, the elderly and carers, or delivering boxes of staples to local care homes and community groups. 
  • For more information email Hannah Chance, Communications Manager,  

Coronavirus Financial Hardship Fund (for musicians)

  • A new £5m fund specifically created to alleviate some of the immediate financial pressures that professional musicians may be facing.
  • Eligible musicians are able to apply for a one-off payment of £500 – more information can be found here.

Support in Scotland

Third Sector Resilience Fund

  • A £20m emergency fund for charities, community groups, social enterprises and voluntary organisations working in Scotland. 

  • It will support organisations that already deliver services and products but find themselves in financial difficulties directly as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. 

  • The fund will be delivered by Firstport, Social Investment Scotland and the Corra Foundation, providing grants between £5,000 - £10,000. In addition, there will be a further £5m available in 0% interest loans starting at £50,000. There is more information and an eligibility checker on the SCVO website here


Support in Northern Ireland


Coronavirus Community Fund

  • Fund supporting community groups, particular in smaller geographical communities.
  • Encouraging a partnership approach, and one application from one lead organisation, rather than a number of separate applications.
  • Grants of between £1,000 to £10,000 available. Priority will be given to organisations with income levels below £500,000.
  • More information here.

Support in Wales


Community Foundation Wales (Wales)

  • Appeal for funds to support charities, community groups and non-profits working in Wales.
  • Launched with an initial £200,000 from the Community Foundation Wales
  • More information here.

Regional Funding


Bedfordshire Coronavirus Emergency Fund (Bedfordshire & Luton)

  • The Bedfordshire and Luton Community Foundation has set up an emergency £180K fund from corporate donors to support local charities, social enterprises and community organisations.


Bristol, Bath & North East Somerset, North Somerset & South Gloucestershire – Quartet Community Foundation - Coronavirus Response Fund

  • Grants up to £5,000 for single organisations and up to £20,000 for partnerships – work must support one or more of the following groups: the elderly, people with disabilities or underlying health conditions, the homeless, low income families, refugees and asylum seekers, people experiencing food poverty.
  • More information here.


Cheshire & Warrington – Cheshire Community Foundation – Covid-19 Response Programme

  • Fund to support charitable projects providing activities that help people self-isolating, provide funding to coordinate response and support volunteers, and increase capacity for organisations providing emergency support, such as foodbanks or benefits advice.
  • More information here.

Cornwall – Cornwall Community Foundation – Emergency Fund

  • Grants ranging from £500 - £3,000 – primarily for organisations that are working with vulnerable people affected by the COVID-19 outbreak.
    These are to cover the costs for additional work and in response to the needs of members or beneficiaries.
    No panel dates or a set deadline for this fund – applications are aiming to be turned around within a few days.
  • More information here.

Coventry & Warwickshire – Heart of England Community Foundation - Coronavirus Resilience Fund

Community Foundation For Calderdale (West Yorkshire)

  • The Community Foundation for Calderdale are offering grants of £1000 to local charities to help the most vulnerable.


Greenham Trust (West Berkshire & North Hampshire)

  • The Greenham Trust has announced a COVID-19 Emergency Fund for local charities and voluntary organisations who are supporting the elderly and vulnerable people.

London Funders Emergency Support Fund

  • London Funders have launched an Emergency Support Fund of £2m to support London’s voluntary sector. London Funders will also be working with wider funders to bring more money together for the fund.

Coronavirus Response and Recovery Fund (Tyne & Wear and Northumberland)

  • The Community Foundation has set up this fund to support older people and other vulnerable groups during the COVID-19 outbreak.
  • It will support local charities across Tyne & Wear and Northumberland in two stages: response (getting money to organisations that support older people and the vulnerable), then recovery (fund wider local charities and community organisations who are affected by the outbreak).
  • More information on the fund can be found here.

Steve Morgan Foundation (Merseyside, Cheshire and North Wales)

  • Philanthropist and Businessman Steve Morgan has pledged £1m a week to charities working with the most vulnerable during the Coronavirus outbreak.

Coronavirus Emergency Fund (Kent)

  • The Kent Community Foundation has created a fund for applications for grants up to £10,000.
  • Priority will be given to constituted community groups, e.g. charities and CICs with an average income of less than £200,000 who are supporting isolated older people and the most vulnerable. 


Cumbria COVID-19 Response Fund (Cumbria)

  • Grants for groups providing charitable activities in response to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic in Cumbria - offering smaller grants (circa £250) to community-based groups, mutual aid and self-help groups, and larger grants (over £1,000) to organisations offerin distinct or county level support. More information on eligibility criteria and applications can be seen here.


Additional Resources and Advice 

Community Business COVID-19 Mutual Aid Group

  • A mutual aid group run by and for community businesses - running a weekly Zoom call every Tuesday at 11am to discuss issues and share best practice with peers.
  • More information on the group and additional resources can be found here



Volunteering Matters

  • Volunteering Matters has put out a call to businesses across the UK to identify / volunteer staff with limited or reduced capacity to help support the needs of the charity sector over the coming months. 
  • There is a survey for businesses to complete - Volunteering Matters will hold a database and help to assign support to areas of need. 


Advice on working remotely

  • Civil Society have written a ‘how-to’ article with helpful advice on remote working during the Coronavirus.

Charity Excellence Framework

  • The Charity Excellence Framework (CEF) platform has been updated to include free Coronavirus assessments, toolkits and resources. You can fully assess your charity's effectiveness and resilience in less than one day, with results linked to the largest resource base in the charity sector.


Charity Tax Group




The Social Change Agency

  • The Social Change Agency are providing a fiscal hosting platform to support community groups and collectives set up in response to COVID-19 with financial administration.  

Cooperatives UK 

  • Cooperatives UK have published specific COVID-19 advice for co-ops. 
  • They hosted a free webinar on Tuesday 24 March for cooperatives worried about the impact of funding on their businesses and employees, which is available to watch now.
  • They have also published a HR package with advice for employers during COVID-19. 


  • Locality members can access support, advice and webinars hereThey have also published a briefing note for their members. 
  • They held a webinar on 24 March on COVID-19 updates, evidence and support for members. 

London Funders 

  • London Funders have set up a dedicated website on behalf of their wider network of COVID-19 funders with sector news and updates. 


School for Social Entrepreneurs 


  • UMI have released advice and support on their website focusing on how to finance businesses through COVID-19.

Institute of Fundraising 

North East Growth Hub

  • The North East Growth Hub have produced a COVID-19 Toolkit with the latest guidance for businesses and employers, as well as a survey to help them provide the appropriate support during this period. 

Relevant Statements on COVID-19 


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