NSUN Covid-19 Fund

NSUN launches new fund with grants up to £1000 to support peer support, community action and mutual aid for mental health during Covid-19

The Coronavirus Mental Health Response Fund (CMHRF) launched on Thursday 16th April, for Voluntary and Community Sector organisations based in England to continue to provide mental health services, or provide additional support, during Covid-19. Thanks to £5m support from government (the Department of Health and Social Care), grants of £20,000 or £50,000 are available for projects lasting up to 12 months (for charities, CICs, CIOs or companies ltd. by guarantee). The minimum award for this fund is £5000 and if your annual income was less than £20,000 in 2019/20 you will not be eligible for it. Please see the full eligibility criteria for these larger amounts via the main fund here.
 
As part of this funding programme, NSUN is administering a smaller fund to support user-led organisations (ULOs) and smaller, unconstituted community groups in England, who might not otherwise be eligible for a grant. Grants of up to £1000 will be available to support community action, peer support, mutual aid and other activities that will make a direct difference to the lives of people living with mental ill-health, trauma and distress during this Covid-19 period.
 
Historically, unconstituted groups have been left out of these funds so we're delighted that there is a commitment to supporting ULOs and community groups. We believe that this fund will demonstrate the value, impact and reach of projects and collectives led by lived experience.  

You can apply for the NSUN Covid-19 fund here. Please read the guidance below carefully.

You can download the questions here to help you prepare your application. Please note that we can only accept applications submitted through the online form. Only one application per organisation is permitted.


Will my group be eligible?

The NSUN grants are available to User Led Organisations across England who need additional funds to deliver their support and activities during Covid-19. You may be a peer support group, a mutual aid group, a community group, a Disabled People’s Organisation (DPO), or a ULO (this is not an exhaustive list). 
 
The NSUN Covid-19 Fund is for user-led organisations or collectives or groups which may or may not be constituted. If you are a charity, you can apply for the NSUN Covid-19 Fund, but you must be user-led. If you are eligible for the main Coronavirus Mental Health Response Fund, please apply there in the first instance. For more information on what is a user-led organisation, you may find this guidance useful.
 
You will need to be a member of NSUN. Membership is free for ULOs and community groups, and you can sign up here.
 
If you do not have a bank account, you are still eligible to apply providing you meet the criteria above.
 
Email us at [email protected] if you have any questions about eligibility.

What can I use the fund for?

The fund is for ULOs to provide additional support or sustain existing support using connecting technologies to their members during the Covid-19 crisis.  The focus is on making a difference to people’s lives now, during this time of uncertainty and reduction of other forms of support. We want to make sure the money distributed is directly used to support peer support, community action and mutual aid.
 
Here are some examples of ways funds could be used:
 
  • You might be a peer support group in the community who require an annual Zoom subscription to move your group online
  • You might be a local advocacy and peer support group who might require a laptop or additional data on your phones to continue your support activities
  • You might be a mutual aid group which is not currently online who need to create a website to share your services 
  • You might be a peer support group in the community who may want to a do a print run of Covid-19 related mental health information for your members, who are not online because of fears/beliefs around technology
  • You might need petrol costs for a local mutual aid group delivering food and essentials for local people with mental health difficulties and other health conditions who are self-isolating 
  • You might need to cover DBS checks for new volunteers
  • You might need to cover the costs of a sessional facilitator/contractor for additional training to move your peer support group online 

Please do not request money to contribute to general fundraising or for items such as food.  Successful applications will express clearly why the money is needed and who it will help. 

How much are the grants?

We estimate that most grants will be for amounts up to £1000. We may in some instances consider grants up to £2000.

Are there any conditions?

  • You will need to explain to us how you will use the money, and why it is needed in relation to Covid-19 and the mental health of your beneficiaries.
  • You will need to provide receipts for any spending.
  • You will need to keep in touch with us so we can monitor and evaluate how the money has made a difference to your activities and members. There will be a short form to fill in about this, and we can help you with it.

What is the process?

We anticipate a high number of applications. We will not be able to fund every application, and we will be making funding decisions in the following way.

Every application will be read by a grants manager, who may at this stage get back to you with additional questions. Only applications which meet the following criteria will be processed further:

  • Your group or organisation must be user led. (For more information on what is a user-led organisation, you may find this guidance useful.)
  • Your work must be benefitting people or communities who live with mental ill-health, trauma and distress.
  • Your proposal must be about continuing to provide support, or providing additional support, during Covid-19.
  • You must not be in the process of being considered for, or be the recipient of a grant from the main Coronavirus Mental Health Response Fund

We will then follow up applications which meet these criteria via telephone/online call. We can only put forward applications after this call.

Applications under £200 will be approved or rejected at this stage. Applications over £200 will be put forward and considered by a panel which will meet once a week. We will prioritise applications which demonstrate that the work is supporting people that face other disadvantages and exclusion, with a particular focus on people from racialised communities. We are also looking for a geographic spread of projects across England.

We will then send successful applicants a grant agreement which will need to be signed and returned (over email).

We anticipate that the timeline between application and decision will be between 2 and 3 weeks.

You can apply for the NSUN Covid-19 Fund here.


 
Please email us at covidfund@nsun.org.uk if you have any questions about this. As we are expecting a high number of queries and applications, please be patient as we may not be able to reply as quickly as usual.