COVID-19 is disproportionately impacting communities who already experience discrimination and disadvantage. In response, we have made funding available to support registered charities to use legal action in all its forms – empowering, persuading, challenging – to protect marginalised communities from the impact of the pandemic and the response to it from public bodies, businesses, and communities.
Having been there ourselves, we know a lot of time and energy goes into writing funding applications – we want to make sure applicants have as much information as possible before they begin writing a proposal. Here’s what we want you to know about applying to our COVID-19 Legal Action Fund.
We are happy to talk!
We know how daunting it can be to apply for funding, especially if it’s to a new funder. We are always happy to have a chat to answer any questions you have or address any concerns, so do get in touch if this would be valuable to you.
Our guidelines are different for every funding opportunity
We produce clear guidelines for every funding opportunity. We do get applications from organisations clearly ineligible for our funding – we don’t mind the admin too much but we don’t want you to waste even a minute of your time applying when your work doesn’t fall within our funding priorities.
If you are still unsure about your eligibility, email us to double check if your work falls in line with what we are looking for – it’s better to write a 200 word email to make sure than write a 2,000 word application only to find out that you were not eligible to apply in the first place!
We received requests totaling nearly £1.5m to our first deadline for this fund. A number of these applications were for funding to provide legal advice to individuals, rather than focusing on a broader strategy for social change. We recognise how important individual legal advice is for those seeking advice and in achieving broader social change. However, this is not the purpose of this fund and – given the volume of applications we have received – applications of focused on advice to individuals are very unlikely to be successful. We encourage you to explore support available from the Community Justice Fund, which has been specifically set up to support the social welfare advice sector during the pandemic.
Give us a ring…
We always welcome phone calls from potential new grantees. We want to make sure you have the chance to confirm your eligibility, run your idea by us or share more about your organisation. Do this as soon as you can. Email to arrange a call or try us on 0207 767 1100 between 10am – 4pm on weekdays.
…and if you do make sure your application reflects what you told us
Applications are assessed based solely on the information you provide in your written proposal. Anything else you might have told us via email or on the phone can’t be included in our assessment process. Give us as much detail as possible and do share your enthusiasm for fighting injustice – we like to hear about this too!
It’s all changing
Things are changing fast – plans you had on Monday might have to change by Wednesday. We know things could change between when you submit an application and the date you are due to hear back. We are offering flexible funding, so if you apply for costs towards litigation but the other side concedes before you’ve even filed, you could use any funding awarded to undertake implementation work. Just keep us updated and we’ll work through it together.
Over the years we have commissioned various pieces of work to understand the ways legal action can be used to achieve social change. Highlights include this framework for effective use of the law by voluntary sector organisations and this exploration of how civil society organisations have used the law to change lives. We recommend checking out our resources to understand better what we mean by legal action and find inspiration for your own work. You can find a list of all our resources here.
You can find the application guidelines and details about how to apply here. Please read them carefully before you start writing your expression of interest and get in touch with us if you have any doubts about eligibility.