The newly created Scottish Government fund will distribute emergency finance to charities, community enterprises and other non-profit organisations across the country, ensuring they can stabilise and manage cashflow in the coming months.
The Third Sector Resilience Fund (TSRF) will provide £20m through grants starting at £5,000, while a further £5m will be made available in “fully flexible”, zero per cent interest loans starting at £50,000.
It is intended to protect “vital services to communities both now and in the future”, and will specifically support those groups which are either at risk of closure due to a sharp decrease in income or are unable to deliver their services under the current circumstances.
To be eligible, third sector organisations must be based in Scotland or primarily active in Scottish communities, have been delivering products or services prior to March 2020, and require funding to stabilise cashflows directly as a result of the Covid-19 outbreak.
Funds will be administered by social enterprise and charity support groups Social Investment Scotland, Firstport and the Corra Foundation. The TSRF forms part of a £350m support package for the third sector in the face of the Covid-19 crisis.
Social Investment Scotland chief executive Alastair Davis said: “This is an extremely challenging time for all communities across Scotland. We have worked quickly with our partners to bring this fund to fruition and we hope its announcement will provide reassurance to organisations in this sector and make a tangible difference to the resilience of their operations and impact.
“Together with our partners we are working quickly to mobilise the fund and to assure that these crucial funds are distributed to organisations most in need as soon as possible.”
Davis urged organisations seeking more information about the fund, their eligibility or the application process to visit the Coronavirus Third Sector Information Hub on the Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations website.
Communities secretary Aileen Campbell added: “Scotland’s response to this pandemic will require everyone – councils, the third sector, businesses and communities in their widest sense – to work together and step up to respond to this health emergency.
“We established the £20m TSRF to ensure the continued stability and viability of third sector organisations which have been affected by cash flow and other problems as a result of the crisis.”