Cost of Living – pressures on paying some of your fixed costs
2022 proved challenging for most with the on-going cost of living crisis and 2023 is proving no different.
Rising prices, spiralling gas bills and sporadic fuel costs are all part of a harmful mix that’s stretching everyone’s finances to the limit – both domestic and business.
Services are being cut back as well as staffing as charities and businesses try to save money from an already tight budget. Charities in particular are looking at how to make their funds go that bit further – particularly as donations aren’t as high as they once were as people’s disposable incomes reduce. The questions being raised are, what can be trimmed and what can be cut altogether.
A concern raised is that hefty insurance premiums are sometimes on the list of costs to be reduced – either by reducing cover or cancelling it all together.
If this is the case with your charity, before making any decisions it’s important to understand what that means for your charity and its activities but also what the risks are.
Further information can be gained from the FSI – the Foundation for Social Improvements.
Energy Bills Discount Scheme announced: In January the Government set out the details of the Energy Bills Discount Scheme (EBDS) that will run from April 2023 to 31 March 2024. The scheme replaces the current Energy Bill Relief Scheme (EBRS). This new scheme will continue to cover non-domestic customers, including charities and public sector organisations – helping to protect them from rising energy costs. As with the current EBRS, suppliers will automatically apply reductions to the bills of all eligible customers, so your organisation will not need to apply for the discount.
Cost of living: it’s impact on health, wellbeing and finances: Healthwatch North Yorkshire have published a report on how the cost of living crisis is impacting on the health, wellbeing and finances of people in North Yorkshire, and the organisations that support them. The report looks at the effect that reduced funding is having, as well as concerns for the vulnerable and the negative health impacts that are being exacerbated due to winter pressures on the health and care sector.
Are you making the most of available charity tax benefits? Find out if you are eligible for any tax relief from this NCVO blog and Charity Excellence Tax Relief page. We also have a helpful Gift Aid presentation to help you claim gift aid if eligible.
Cost Of Living Crisis Grants – Charitable Trust & Foundation Funding For UK Charities & Community Groups: Charity Excellence Framework provide charitable trust and foundation and other sources of cost of living crisis grant funding for UK charities, community groups and individuals, including core unrestricted grants and for energy bills and food.
National support for energy bills: Find out more about the Energy Support Scheme. The government has published details of how the scheme will work. Read more here.
As part of the VCSE Emergencies Partnership network, NHS England outlined how VCSE organisations can help keep people safe at home this Winter in this short presentation.
Community Organisations Cost of Living Fund: One-off grants of between £10,000 and £75,000 are available for front-line charities, voluntary, community and social enterprise organisations based in England that are struggling to meet increased demand for their critical services due to the increased cost of living. The funding can be used to cover both project and core costs retrospectively from July 2023 until 31 March 2024. Deadline for applications is 16 October 2023 (12 noon).
Help to Heat Fund : The Government have announced £1.5 billion of funding for a new Help to Heat scheme to improve energy efficiency and reduce bills for low-income households. Councils and social housing providers will be able to submit bids for funding to deliver upgrades to properties from early 2023 until March 2025. It is estimated that upgrades will reach 130,000 households and save around £400 to £700 a year on energy bills at current prices.
For information on the 4 Billion pound government funding which is now available for vulnerable households, read the Consumer Rights press release.
Two Ridings Community Foundation – Cost of Living (The) Crisis Fund: Grants of up to £2,000 are available for charitable organisations across North and East Yorkshire to support their communities during the current cost of living crisis. The panel will be meeting on a regular basis. The scheme will initially be focusing on funding organisations providing emergency support to local people. Eligible activities could include:
- Providing food support – for example food parcels or purchasing stock for community fridges/pay as you feel
- Providing fuel support – this should be used to support people that are on pre-payment meters/using oil.
- Purchasing essential items to distribute – for example blankets, hot water bottles, slippers, clothing, flasks, slow
cookers, carbon monoxide detectors, torches, batteries.
The panel will be meeting on a regular basis.
Sport England (with Crowdfunding) – Active Together: Grants of up to £10,000 are available for not-for-profit community sport and physical activity groups in England who can raise their initial funding through a crowdfunding campaign to support those experiencing financial difficulty due to Covid-19, the emerging energy, cost of living or other local crisis. A total of £7.5 million is being made available. Grants of up to £10,000 can be awarded. Sport England will match up to 50% of the money raised by groups through Crowdfunder, up to a maximum of £10,000. Priority will be given to projects that are in the most deprived communities to ensure that funding reaches those most in need. Update: Sport England has published new eligibility and pledge criteria and new grant conditions.
Big Issue Invest – Big Energy Saving Loans: Big Issue Invest is offering loan finance between £20,000 to £150,000 to social enterprises and charities in England, for energy efficiency and renewable energy installation. This lending programme is aimed at enabling social enterprises and charities to access loan funding to help save money on energy during the unprecedented cost of living crisis. Applications can be made at any time.
Bus Service Operators Grant (BSOG): Discretionary grant available to eligible community transport operators in England to help them recover some of their fuel costs. Private sector, public sector and non-profit community transport operators in England can apply. To be eligible, organisations must:
- First hold a section 19 permit and be able to produce evidence, such as a copy of their constitution or annual report, showing that it provides transport services in the eligible categories.
- Be eligible services operated by non-profit making bodies on the basis of permit issued under section 19 of the Transport Act 1985.
The current application window is 31 March 2022 to 31 March 2024 (12am).
BBC Children in Need Emergency Essentials Programme: Funding for the purchase of essential items to meet the most basic needs of children and young people in the UK who are facing exceptionally difficult circumstances. Where possible, items will be provided directly rather than awarding a cash grant. Applications must be made through an organisation that is supporting the family or young person and is capable of assessing their needs, and that can also administer the grant. The programme has reopened and is operating as normal with applications processed within 10 working days.
Cash for Kids – Cost of Living Grants: Grants available to charities, community groups and professionals to help disadvantaged children across the UK during the current cost-of-living crisis. Grants are for £50 per child per household. Professionals within a governing body (e.g. social services, GP, teacher, charity, community group etc.) are eligible to apply on behalf of families in need. Costs such as food, clothing (including school uniform) and household energy are supported by the grant but any other item or cost is considered if children’s most basic needs are to be met. Applications are accepted on a first come, first served basis and applicants are advised to submit early as the scheme will close when funds are depleted.
COSARAF – Hardship Grants
Grants of up to £2,000 are available for third party social organisations (such as charities, housing associations, schools and social services who are acting on behalf of a family or individual in need) to support individuals and families across the UK who are in financial need and have exhausted all other sources of funding. COSARAF is dedicated to the following strategic priorities:
- Promoting strong and cohesive communities.
- Enabling young people to realise their potential.
- Empowering women and girls.
This fund aims to support individuals and families who are struggling with everyday costs, such as basic living expenses, household items and utilities, or rent arrears. Applications can be made at any time and are assessed every six weeks.
Friends of the Elderly – Grants for Older People: A person may be eligible for a grant of up to £500 if they are of state retirement age, live in England manage on a low income with savings of less that £4,000, and do not live in a residential care home. Applications must be made through a referring agent (can be a charity or community group). Three types of grant are available: home essentials, digital connection, unexpected large bills, and essential living costs.
National Lottery Community Fund – Awards for All: Grants of between £300 and £10,000 are available for up to one year for charities, voluntary groups, schools and local authorities in England to carry out projects that will improve their local community. In addition to meeting one or more of the funding priorities NLCF are also able to fund projects that: support people, communities and organisations that are facing increased demands and challenges as a direct result of the cost-of-living crisis. Applications may be submitted at any time.
We will continue bringing you updates on funds and funders that are supporting groups with the cost of living crisis.