Grants are available for women’s organisations and services in England that are supporting women who are experiencing poverty and low income as a result of the coronavirus/COVID-19 pandemic.

Funding body: National Lottery Community Fund
Maximum value: £ 25,000
Application deadline: 16/11/2020

The COVID-19 Frontline Women’s Fund is being delivered by the Smallwood Trust, supported by The National Lottery Community Fund.

Objectives of Fund
The aims of the Fund are:

  • To make women’s sector organisations stronger, more sustainable and able to build their resilience to economic shocks caused and magnified by the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • To use the knowledge and expertise of the specialist women’s sector to ensure the most vulnerable women are supported, and to help influence medium and longer-term responses to the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • To make women, on low income or at risk of poverty due to the pandemic, more financially resilient and giving them the confidence, tools, skills and support to secure a stable financial future.

Value Notes
Grants of between £5,000 and £25,000 are available. The average grant award will be £15,000.

A total of £475,000 will be awarded in grants and the Trust expects to make around 30 grants overall.

Organisations are asked to apply for a grant amount that is proportionate to the size of their organisation.

Who Can Apply
Applications are accepted from organisations with an annual income of less than £250,000 that have a track record of supporting financially vulnerable women, including frontline organisations and services.

Any constituted not-for-profit group can apply for a grant of under £10,000.

Organisations applying for a grant £10,000 and over will need to be one of the following:

  • Registered exempt or excepted charity.
  • Community Interest Company.
  • Community Benefit Society.
  • Social enterprise.
  • Company limited by shares.
  • Company limited by guarantee (that is not charitable)
  • Co-operative society organisation.
  • Priority will be given to organisations supporting and led by BAME women, women with disabilities and financially vulnerable LGBT+ women.

England. Priority will be given to areas most affected by COVID-19.

The following are not eligible for funding:

  • Lobbying or activity intended to influence or attempt to influence Parliament, Government or political parties, or attempting to influence the awarding or renewal of contracts and grants or attempting to influence legislative or regulatory action (any lobbying activity).
  • Using the funding to petition for additional funding.
  • Input VAT reclaimable by Grant Recipient from HMRC.
  • Payments for activities of a political or exclusively religious nature (religious organisations can be funded if their programme benefits the wider community and does not include religious content).
  • Payments reimbursed or to be reimbursed by other public or private sector grants.
  • Contributions in kind (i.e. a contribution in goods or services, as opposed to money).
  • Acquisition or improvement of fixed assets (unless the grant is explicitly for capital use – this will be stipulated in the Grant Offer Letter)
  • Gifts to individuals other than promotional items with a value of no more than £25 a year to any one individual.
  • Entertaining (entertaining for this purpose means anything that would be a taxable benefit to the person being entertained, according to current UK tax regulations).
  • Statutory fines, criminal fines or penalties.
  • Liabilities incurred before the issue of the grant agreement unless agreed in writing by the Fund. Liabilities incurred by an onward recipient might be eligible to improve a grant recipient’s liquidity in line with the objectives of the Fund.
  • Costs reimbursed or to be reimbursed by funding from any other source.
  • Purchase of buildings or land.
  • Activities that make profits for private gain.
  • Campaigning activities.
  • Loan payments.
  • Refurbishments which significantly improve existing land or building assets.

Eligible Expenditure
The funding is for:

  • Activities that are supporting women affected by the COVID-19 crisis.
  • Helping eligible women’s organisations to overcome any acute financial difficulties they are facing as a result of the crisis.

Organisations can apply if:

  • They are supporting women who experience disproportionate challenges and difficulty as a result of the COVID-19 crisis.
  • They are providing services and support for vulnerable women, for which there will be increased demand as a result of the COVID-19 crisis.

Funding will be prioritised geographically for organisations and services in areas where the pandemic has had the most impact, including:

  • Greater Manchester and Lancashire.
  • Liverpool and Merseyside.
  • West Midlands – Birmingham, Wolverhampton, Stoke-on-Trent and rural Staffordshire.
  • East Midlands, including rural Leicestershire and Derbyshire.
  • Hull and Humberside, Leeds, Bradford, Sheffield.
  • Deprived coastal towns in the north of England.
  • Newcastle, Middlesbrough/Tees Valley, other North East areas.

Priority will also be given to organisations working with the following key client groups:

  • BAME women.
  • Women with disabilities.
  • LGBT+ women who are financially vulnerable.
  • Women who have experienced domestic violence, economic abuse or sexual abuse.
  • Economically inactive young women.
  • Carers and those who have been working in the caring professions.
  • Single parent families.
  • Women who experience depression, anxiety and other mental health needs.
  • Women leaving the criminal justice system.

The grants can be used to pay for the following activities where they are essential for delivering relevant services:

  • Investments in systems.
  • Investments in people.
  • Investments in infrastructure.
  • Dedicated capacity development.
  • Staff salaries.
  • Project activities.
  • Running costs.
  • Small-scale refurbishment
  • Equipment.
  • Organisational development.
  • Contributions to fixed costs.

The funding must be spent by 31 March 2021.

How To Apply
The deadline for applications is 16 November 2020.

Guidance notes and an application form are available on the website of the Smallwood Trust.

Completed applications and supporting documents should be emailed to

Useful Links
Smallwood Trust – COVID-19 Frontline Women’s Fund

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