MORI report on the distribution of the Coronavirus Community Support Fund, intended for small to medium sized charities, reveals that 25% of all funding was given to large charities with an annual income of over £1 million

Ipsos MORI, in partnership with New Philanthropy Capital (NPC) and The Tavistock Institute of Human Relations (TIHR), was commissioned to undertake an evaluation of the Coronavirus Community Support Fund (CCSF).

The CCSF was targeted at small and medium sized community organisations delivering activities and support to people affected by the COVID-19 crisis. A total of £199 million was allocated to CCSF and £187m was distributed after £12 million administration and evaluation costs had been deducted. It was funded through the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) and The National Lottery Community Fund was appointed to manage and distribute the funding.

The final report, which is free to download HERE, indicates that large charities received more than 25%  of emergency COVID-19 government funding aimed at smaller community organisations. Hundreds of grants from the Coronavirus Community Support Fund (CCSF) were awarded to charities with incomes over £1m, even though the fund was established to help small and medium-sized charities cope with the impact of the pandemic. 

MORI’s evaluation reveals that  1 in 10 grants were won by large charities, including some charities worth more than £100m a year. 

The Chancellor, Rishi Sunak, announced the creation of the £200m CCSF in April 2020, as part of a financial package which he said was targeted at “small and medium-sized charities” working “at the heart of local communities”. (Nearly half of all registered charities have income of £10,000 or less, and they represent less than 1% of total income recorded. Charities with income over £500,000 (approximately, 6.5% of those on the Register) receive nearly 90% of the sector’s income.)

The evaluation shows that millions of pounds was awarded to local charities, but DCMS confirmed that some of the money also went to several very large national bodies such as Age UK and Barnardo’s.

The evaluation report says that “the CCSF was targeted at small and medium-sized community organisations delivering activities and support to people affected by the COVID-19 crisis” and found that “the majority” of grant awards and funding went to small charities.

Around 23% of the total funding was given to charities with an income of between £10,000 and £100,000, and 47% went to charities with an income of between £100,000 and £1m.

However, the evaluation also noted that “a quarter of CCSF funding was distributed to large, major or super-major charities”, which won around 1 in 10 of all the grants available. It added that officials at DCMS and NLCF felt that “the right balance was struck in terms of the size of organisations who received the funding”.  

Rita Chadha, the chief executive of the Small Charities Coalition, said:

While we would never begrudge any charity or organisation doing good getting financial support from the government, it is always the case that larger charities seem better able to lobby and make their case to central government.  “We need the government to understand that if levelling up is really to work, then there is a need to also level the playing field between large and small charities

“This could be easily done by encouraging larger charities to fairly include small charities in their delivery plans, and treat them as equitable partners. The days of funding always being driven by those that can mobilise on a mass scale has to be balanced against a real need to drive inclusion, equity and change from the ground up.

“Time and time again it is small charities that are best placed to deliver and sustain their communities. The lack of continuing investment and overly bureaucratic barriers to accessing government funding do nothing to help the cause of small charities.” 

For the full article on the Process Evaluation of the Coronavirus Community Support Fund (CCSF), go to the Civil Society News website, while the report itself is available at this LINK.

Source: Civil Society News