The Covid-19 Youth Fund has been released to support organisation with a turn-over of less than £250,000 supplement their income lost as a result of the pandemic.

Visit the Gov.uk website for full details including application form

Read on for our advice

OY’s freelance fundraiser, Dawn, attended the UK Youth webinar this morning and has helpfully given her insight into the fund and how to apply:

Key points from UK Youth webinar:

“I cannot recommend strongly enough that you either attend one of the UK Youth webinars or watch a recording that they will put up on YouTube – it will make a huge difference to your application.  Here are the links for registering:

Thursday Feb 11, 2021- 10.30am-12pm

https://us02web.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZIqcOyoqTkvE9wXL5MOg5KHHgOzSNqXFEmz

Tuesday Feb 16, 2021 – 10.30am-12pm

https://us02web.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZMtd-upqDkiHdOjvWIaeWfsf5VmcYf8L1ak

Or access via https://datatech.pwc.com/DCMS_YCSF/Information.aspx

“They emphasise strongly that you must use the additional text boxes to make the most of how your organisation makes a real difference for young people and provides development, growth and empowerment opportunities for them – stressing any volunteering or progression opportunities for them (formal or informal); say that young people will come flooding back to use your services; there is limited access to provision like yours – stress what makes you unique, different and accessible and show that you are a well-run organisation. Show how youth work makes a real difference.”

“They recommend that you prepare paragraphs on the following six points before you start your form as this will help in completing it.

  1. at risk of insolvency or have cut provision for FINANCIAL REASONS
  2. Post COVID-19 sustainability
  3. Evidence of demand
  4. Experience of delivering successful outcomes for young people
  5. Good value for money including use of volunteers
  6. Commitment to monitor and evaluate the funding.

 The webinars/recordings expand on how best to pitch your answers to these points and give lots of useful and vital advice.”

Key Overall Pointers on the Application:

“You must show that you are at risk of insolvency or have cut provision for FINANCIAL REASONS – not because you have been forced to close because of COVID-19 restrictions. You can say this has impacted severely on your finances and led to loss of income. This is a Pass or Fail question.

In terms of the finances – they are only interested in your income and expenditure between November 2020 and March 2021 – and the deficit over this period only- not the whole financial year. If your accounts are on a cash basis, any income or COVID-19 support received before this period should not show in your income for this period.  Do not put in any income streams you are not certain of getting (i.e. outstanding grant applications) and make sure you put in all forecast expenditure between November 2020 and March 2021 to work out what the deficit is.   This funding will effectively set your finances back to where they were as of November 1st 2020 – meeting any losses since then – so that you are in good shape from April 2021. If you have used your reserves since November 2020 it will rebuild those.”

Overview of eligible expenditure:

  • Essential business expenditure, such as staff salaries, and fixed/operational costs: ○ Rent ○ Utility costs ○ Insurances ○ Facility or equipment hire ○ Core staffing costs (including casual workers) that cannot be met elsewhere by other government funds (e.g. Furlough)
  • Equipment (which is not capitalised) to ensure compliance with public health requirements.
  • Supporting the retention of specialist skills and expertise.

Overview of ineligible expenditure:

  • Costs that are eligible to be covered by other strands of Government support, for example, furloughing and business rates.
  • Retrospective costs incurred before 1 November 2020.
  • Operating costs beyond 31 March 2021.
  • Redundancy costs.
  • New projects/activity that are not essential to your continued operations.
  • Capital expenditure.
  • Covering costs/losses already supported through other sources, including any other DCMS and Government schemes.
  • Costs related to campaigning or the promotion of political or faith beliefs.

“They want to fund well-run organisations that will survive post COVID-19 – the fact that you are still hanging on after 10 months of COVID-19 shows you are strong and resilient -you just need this funding to get you through this rocky patch.  You know how to make every penny count and be impactful for young people and will be there to meet demand from young people post COVID-19.  You were already experienced at achieving Value for Money through running a youth organisation in challenging times, using volunteers (this should be stressed at all appropriate points), applying for multiple funding streams and a range of fundraising activities(as appropriate). Show how funders/community has supported you in the past and recognised the difference you make. You have done everything you can to survive this far but funding is limited and difficult to access despite your efforts, those that have supported you previously face their own financial challenges.”

“Emphasise at every point the difference you make for young people – the positive activities you provide and outcomes you achieve– this is 35% of the assessment. Show how your activities promote their personal development, growth and empowerment.  Strongly emphasise any youth volunteering and progression activities both with your club/sessions and in the wider community. Show how your work helps young people develop vital skills -team work, self-esteem, vital life skills etc. This is a really important part of the assessment framework. Show how every minute and every pound spent improves the young people you work with. Be careful how you pitch your activities -if for example you are arts or sports focussed – show that these are tools to engage and develop important life skills for young people rather than the focus of activities.  Demonstrate your experience in working with young people and making a positive difference to them; if appropriate say how long your organisation has been established in your community.”

“You must be able to evidence demand for your services.  Show how you were popular before COVID-19, if relevant how you have continued to thrive post lockdown, and how young people will come flooding back to your services post COVID-19.  Demonstrate the demand for your services when previous lockdowns ended if appropriate. If you don’t have waiting lists – say this and explain why you are open access – so that all young people can access your services when they are needed. Say if services are oversubscribed etc. and that you anticipate post COVID-19 demand will be high because young people will need your support to tackle with issues they may face, grow and develop skills in safe spaces with support from trusted youth workers.”

“It is really important (20% of the assessment) to show how young people have limited access to other services. If there is other youth provision locally show how your service is different and why young people use it – this could be because your provision includes sessions or activities that are targeted at specific groups or local needs, young people would not travel to another local area/club because they would not feel safe, there is no available or affordable public transport at the relevant times, your venue is accessible, young people have established relationships with your youth workers and have been coming to your club for years, you have established links with their families/carers, it is affordable, includes outreach etc. These are just examples – use what you can to show how access to other provision is limited and any particular needs/disadvantage you are addressing. Don’t name other local provision – show how you are special.”

“Don’t be put off by the financial information required – the management accounts can just be a list of all your expenditure and income in this financial year (actual and forecast by date). Use a cut off point of 31st October 2020 to give your balance sheet and to work out your deficit between November 2020 and March 2021.  Currents assets are effectively cash in the bank – but do not include any restricted funding you are carrying forward in this. Your liabilities are your debts and any outstanding loans. Please give explanations where you think this may help at the bottom of the documents or on the form where appropriate. Please do note on the documents if you are a small organisation without a finance team and that your accounts etc are done by volunteers who nevertheless keep a strict eye on finances to maximise value for money. If you have received external funding in the past – say that you are experienced in reporting back to funders on how the funding was spent, the activities you undertook and the difference it made to young people – and say how your funders have been pleased with what you have achieved.”

“Please note that even if your expenditure may have reduced between November 2020 and March 2021 you can still say that your costs have increased.  If you are required to work in smaller groups, have additional PPE and other costs this will have increased your unit cost of working with young people. Your expenditure may have reduced because you are only able to work with fewer young people because of Covid-19 restrictions but the cost of what you do has increased.

“You are advised to apply as soon as you can – they are assessing applications as they come in – and are likely to receive a lot of applications close to the deadline.

Finally you know best why your organisation is needed and the impact you have – you to need to show the assessors this and why your organisation needs to be there from April 2021 to continue to make a difference for them.”

 

Read on for OY’s offer of support

Dawn’s advice above comes with an offer to critically-engage with up to 5 applications from organisations affiliated to OY if it is submitted to her by Friday 12th at midday at the latest. Oxfordshire Youth will cover all costs incurred for Dawn’s time for any application that she supports.

Please contact [email protected] with your draft application by midday on Friday 12th to be considered for Dawn’s support.

Please also reach out to the team for more bespoke support to your group if we can be of any assistance.