COVID-19 has challenged us all in so many ways but this crisis is disproportionately hurting communities who already experience social and economic inequalities.
Social enterprises supporting vulnerable people have been hit doubly by this crisis; they are struggling to make enough income to help people as their trading activities have taken such a knock, but their support is actually needed more than ever.
As a response to the COVID crisis, The National Lottery Community Fund (the largest funder of community activity in the UK) is providing essential financial support to help social enterprises in England during COVID-19 through its Social Enterprise Support Fund, providing £18.7m in grants.
Five social enterprise support agencies have come together to deliver the fund. Big Issue Invest, The Key Fund, Resonance, the School for Social Entrepreneurs (SSE) and UnLtd are jointly delivering £18.7 million in grants, with support from CAF Venturesome, the Young Foundation and Ashoka.
The fund is aimed at social entrepreneurs who support vulnerable communities - people who are at high risk from COVID-19 and/or who are most likely to face increased challenges as a result of the COVID-19 - including leaders with lived experience, to ensure they can put their solutions into practice to help people most impacted by the crisis and ‘build back better’.
It is offering eligible social enterprises in England three opportunities to apply for a grant. Round 1 has now closed but Rounds 2 (opens 1pm Thursday 13 August) and 3 provide further opportunities to apply.
In Round 1 Resonance received 75 applications. One of the Social Enterprises awarded a £45,000 grant from their Round 1 application, is Hollywell Housing Trust, based in Devon.
Hollywell Housing Trust is an award-winning charity and social enterprise supporting those with disability and mental health issues secure safe housing, manage their tenancies, and receive life skills and housing support so they can thrive in their communities to live independently, remain healthy and happy and able to fulfil their goals.
Katie Sherjan, Hollywell’s Chief Executive explains what this grant means to her organization and the people they support:
“Being able to access this grant means that we are able to finally start looking to the future after the last three months, having had to press pause on our provision of new homes for some of the most vulnerable in society due to the lack of available housing on the private rental market. COVID-19 has also caused many of our tenants to experience heightened levels of anxiety and other mental health issues, and this grant will enable us to provide the resources to work with them in a more in-depth way to get them through these difficult times – it will also enable us to deal with the backlog of new referrals that have come through over the last four months, meaning that we are able to quickly provide a new home for people who are most in need.”
Katie also explains how COVID-19 has affected Hollywell’s tenants:
“As key workers, we have continued to work frontline with our tenants, however COVID-19 has brought up the fact that many people have suffered greatly from the mental impact of lockdown and isolation, particularly those whose lives are reliant on day services and seeing friends and family. We have had to spend considerably more time with people to ensure that they are safe and happy, taking up more resources and time, dealing with a significant spike in calls to our Out of Hours Support Line and trying to manage an ever-increasing volume of referrals that we have been unable to deal with due to landlords and letting agents being shut down. On the plus side, it has further proved to me that I have an incredible team who have gone above and beyond for our tenants during this difficult time.”
We want to ensure grants from the Social Enterprise Support Fund are awarded to more social enterprises like Hollywell, supporting those communities most in need during the COVID crisis.
The fund is open to social enterprises in England, with an annual income between £25,000 and £1.5 million before COVID-19 and is aimed at social enterprises supporting people who are at high risk from COVID-19, and those supporting people most likely to face increased demand and challenges as a result of the COVID-19 crisis.
If you are a social enterprise and think you qualify then we strongly encourage you to apply to Round 2 grant funding if your social enterprise:
Applications for Round 2 open 1pm Thursday 13 August and close 1pm Thursday 20 August.
For more information about the Social Enterprise Support Fund and to apply visit: socialenterprisesupportfund.org.uk/
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Resonance Limited is a company registered in England and Wales no. 04418625
Resonance Impact Investment Limited, a subsidiary of Resonance Limited, is authorized and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA). Firm number 588462.
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