Cumbria COVID-19 Response Fund FAQs

1. Who can apply to the Fund?
Grants will go to local charities and community organisations that meet our standard criteria for funding. Please read the Cumbria COVID-19 Response Fund guidelines to applicants for more information.

If you need assistance applying for funding, Cumbria CVS is able to support you. Contact them via email: If your project is based in Allerdale or Copeland, Copeland Community Fund is also offering assistance when completing forms. Contact them via email:

2. What types of projects and activities will you support?
This is a rapidly developing situation, and as a result, the focus of the Fund will continue to evolve in line with need and help required. Types of activity the Fund will prioritise:

• providing groceries, household essentials and delivery of medicines to vulnerable people who are self-isolating
• coordination of volunteers and charitable effort to support vulnerable people self-isolating
• direct and immediate practical support for vulnerable groups
• support to enable prompt and safe discharge from hospital
• enabling and encouraging vulnerable people to use and access technology to keep them connected to the outside world
• reaching out to isolated older and vulnerable people by telephone and social media to support positive mental health.
• initiatives to reduce isolation and vulnerability
• advice and guidance and emotional, mental health and bereavement support
• enabling charitable groups to work remotely and adapting services

Funding will also be awarded to organisations providing direct services and support to people with low or insecure incomes e.g. those on universal credit, and to those working with school-age children in disadvantaged communities. We want to support community groups working together, particularly in smaller geographical communities. We therefore encourage a partnership approach.

3. Which people need help in particular?
The idea is to support people who are self-isolating, especially people without nearby family, elderly people, and people with a disability or long-term health condition such as cancer, diabetes and chronic lung disease. We also want to support vulnerable people who are returning home from a stay in hospital and who may need additional support.

4. Can newly established, local aid groups apply?
We’re aware many people have joined community efforts to look after the most vulnerable in society by volunteering to pick up shopping, deliver medicine etc.  This is something we warmly welcome.   The Covid-19 Mutual Aid website provides advice on how to set up a local mutual aid group, including important guidance on safety and security.  The Cumbria CVS website also provides up to date guidance for Covid-19 volunteering.

Recently formed groups of local volunteers providing mutual aid in your community can also apply. You will need to:

• demonstrate that your work is endorsed by the Local Covid-19 Hub, another charitable or statutory organisation e.g. parish council.
• demonstrate that appropriate safeguarding has been considered, and appropriate policies are in place e.g. volunteer code of conduct.
• seek authorisation from another charitable organisation or statutory organisation, e.g. parish council, to hold funds on your behalf if you do not have a bank account. For further advice and guidance, please visit the Covid Mutual Aid website and the Cumbria CVS website

We are encouraging representatives of new and small groups to contact their local Community Resilience Groups that are working to ensure that voluntary effort is coordinated and joined up where possible:

And to register on the website.

5. I’m organising a group of volunteers. I understand that there isn’t a legal requirement for me to have my volunteers DBS checked, but should I do so anyway?
Many of the roles that volunteers will carry out in their local communities do not raise safeguarding issues and do not need a DBS check. You can have a look at the DBS eligibility guidance to confirm whether the activities your group propose to do are captured.

If your group’s activities are captured, under normal circumstances we would advise that having volunteers DBS checked is a prudent safeguarding step. There is, however, no legal requirement for you to have a DBS check. Regardless of whether you choose to have volunteers DBS checked, you should ensure your group follow simple, practical precautions such as working safely in pairs, keeping records of money spent and providing shopping receipts to safeguard all involved. Please read the Cumbria CVS COVID-19 Volunteer Handbook as this provides further advice and guidance.

6. Can groups apply for loss of income?
We recognise that many small, local charities and community groups will be worried about the impact of COVID-19 on their income and fundraising. Our immediate priority is supporting groups who are providing activities to those who are most vulnerable. We cannot currently meet the need arising from loss of income. However should the Fund receive sufficient donations, we will consider applications for loss of income in a secondary phase of the Fund.

In the meantime, we advise you to read the Charity Commission’s guidance about coronavirus (COVID-19) related financial difficulties in charities and how to work through them, available here.

7. Can groups apply retrospectively?
Yes. We appreciate that you may have already incurred costs by responding immediately to this crisis.

8. Can groups apply more than once?
If organisations are providing ongoing support or have incurred costs they hadn’t expected, we may consider subsequent grant requests, but we encourage them to contact us before applying. We would expect you to leave a minimum of 6 weeks between applications.

Please note: we are unable to consider two or more applications at the same time. If you have an existing application to the COVID-19 Response Fund and would like to amend it then please contact us immediately.

9. Can individuals and households apply?
We understand COVID-19 pandemic is having, and will continue to have, a big impact on individuals and families in our area. Our Fund has been set up to support charitable organisations that can help people most affected. We are not providing grants directly to individuals or families. If you are worried about money or other issues, you can contact a CAB or other local advice centre

Cumbria County Council and partners have launched a new emergency support service for people at high risk of becoming seriously ill, as a result of COVID-19, and who do not have support available from friends, family or neighbours. The Emergency telephone support line is 0800 783 1966. Or you can email your request for help to

10. Can businesses apply?
We understand COVID-19 pandemic is having, and will continue to have, a big impact on individuals and families in our area. Our Fund has been set up to support charitable organisations that can help people most affected. We are not providing grants directly to businesses. We recommend you contact Cumbria Chamber of Commerce for advice and guidance

11. How does this Fund relate to the national appeal?
The National Emergencies Trust has launched a UK-wide fundraising appeal in partnership with the British Red Cross to support local charities. We have already received £50,000 from this appeal and hope to receive more funds in the future.

12. How do groups apply?
Application forms are available from our website, click here. We aim to process applications as quickly as possible. There are no deadline dates and the grants panel meet on a regular basis.

You will receive a link to complete an online application form. Please remember to save this form as you complete the questions. You can also send the link to other members of your group to view/edit the application before you click submit.

13. Is there any assistance to support personal hardship and address welfare needs?
The Government has published guidance on the £500 million Hardship Fund that will provide support, including council tax relief, in 2020/2021 to those who need it most. These funds will be administered by the District Councils. If you are worried about money or other issues, you can contact a CAB or other local advice centre

14. Where can groups go for extra support?
There’s lots of good advice out there, including:
Cumbria CVS, which we encourage you to look at.
• People can also sign up to local area updates here

Organisations that are currently in Receipt of a Grant from the Community Foundation

My group already has recently received funding for a project, which cannot take place due to COVID-19. Can I use the money for something else?
We understand you may need to use your funding to help cover sickness, purchase equipment, or deliver services differently, and we will be reasonable if you need to adapt your activities and budget your grant differently to ensure your work can continue BUT before you do this, you MUST get in touch with us to discuss your change of spend.

Our project that you have funded has been cancelled or postponed, but you require that the funding is to be spent within 12 months.  Can we get an extension for spending the money?
Yes, but please contact us to let us know what is happening and how/when you intend to reschedule the project. We will be flexible with the spending timeframe and will also extend your monitoring report due date accordingly.