Coronavirus: National Lottery to give £300m in ‘fast money’ to charities responding to crisis

The National Lottery Community Fund has committed to give £300m of lottery funding to charities working in response to the coronavirus pandemic.

In a statement published today, the organisation’s chief executive, Dawn Austwick, said the fund’s "first priority" is to support people and communities responding to the pandemic in the ‘best way’ it can.

Austwick said this would involve releasing up to £300m in National Lottery funding and devoting it entirely to addressing the current crisis.

Additionally, she said the cash element of the funding will be "accelerated" so it can reach local communities quicker.

“This is not new money, but it will be faster money and we know that we must act quickly and with confidence,” she said.

She claimed the fund has had to make some "tough choices" about how it gets the money “out quickly to those communities and organisations that need it most”.

This will involve prioritising faster payments for existing grant holders and applicants that are working on activities specifically geared to supporting communities through the crisis, as well as for organisations struggling with liquidity issues caused by the virus.

Austwick said that if any funds are leftover following the "initial tranche of support", or circumstances change, the fund will move to a "new set of priorities".

“We know that this means some groups will not be able to access our funding over the coming months and we will endeavour to return to our broader support as soon as we can,” she added.

“Things are moving at pace and we will keep our approach under constant review. We are also going to continue our exploration of how this crisis is changing how we live as communities and how civil society itself is changed.”

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