How to access Covid-19 funding for your social business

Glenn Bowen, Director of Enterprise, outlines the financial assistance available now to social businesses facing operational and financial challenges because of the COVID-19 outbreak.

By Catherine Evans · April 12, 2020

See this page in: Cymraeg

We have been talking to lots of our social businesses over the last three weeks; they have had so many things to contend with during this crisis. How to look after their staff and members? How to look after and support their customers and their community? How to access funding for social businesses? There has been the constant worry of how businesses will survive this crisis. We have had lots of positive statements from both UK and Welsh Government promising financial support to underpin our businesses and protect them through the crisis.

Thankfully details of how to apply for this support is now being published. We are much clearer on the option to Furlough staff under the Covid-19 Job Retention Scheme which means we can keep hold of the skills we need within the sector and protect jobs for when this crisis ends. We also know that emergency loans are available to cover short term cash flow from mainstream banks, under the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme.

Welsh Government Business Grant

As more funding support comes on line, the next challenge is to navigate around which ones to apply for. In the first instance all eligible businesses should by now have applied to their local authority for the Welsh Government Business Grant. These are grants of either £10k or £25k depending on your business. £230m has already been paid out.

Economic Resilience Fund – Micro up to £10k

If you have been turned down for Welsh Government Business Grant (above), you could look at the Economic Resilience Fund. The Micro Fund element of this, for grants up to £10k, is going to launch on 16th April. You will need to be VAT registered to apply for this and employ 1 to 9 employees. You will need to be able to prove that you have seen over 40% of your business lost since 1st March. There is an Eligibility Checker website live now that will help you to assess your eligibility.

Economic Resilience Fund – SME up to £100k

For SME’s that employ 10 or more staff you could apply to the Economic Resilience Fund for up to £100K, minus any grant money you have received from the local authority. For example if you received the £25K from the local authority then you would only be able to apply for up to £75k from this fund. Again you need to be VAT registered and can evidence that you have seen a decline in business by over 60% since 1st March. You will also need to demonstrate that you have a strategy and plan to trade your way out of the crisis. There is an Eligibility Checker website live now that will help you to assess your eligibility.

If you are not eligible, or have been turned down for any of the above then you could look for sector specific funding which may be available, for example, from the Arts Council of Wales or Sport Wales.

Third Sector Resilience Fund

Finally, the WCVA are running the Third Sector Resilience Fund. This is seen as a fund of last resort for trading social businesses as it is aimed at those who are not trading. If you are not VAT registered and haven’t been able to get support from the funding pots above, then it would be worth you talking to colleagues in the WCVA.

Social Business Wales is working hard to support social businesses through the current crisis. The team has produced a number of useful factsheets and is running webinars on key topics such as Furloughing staff and financial support, available on this website. If you would like to speak to one of our Advisors, please call 0300 111 5050.

If you're worried about your social business, please call us on

0300 111 5050

Covid-19 resources

Social Business Wales has a range of resources to help you during the Covid-19 pandemic