Community Foundation launches the ‘New Needs Fund’ helping communities and community organisations to address new needs appearing as a result of coronavirus

In its latest phase of support for voluntary sector organisations impacted by the Coronavirus pandemic, the Community Foundation for Northern Ireland has announced the ‘New Needs Fund’. The fund, which is expected to grow is being launched with monies from the Community Foundation and Comic Relief, and is now available to the sector to help organisations and communities to address new needs appearing as a result of the Coronavirus and to find new ways of meeting existing needs.

The Foundation’s Coronavirus Community Fund, launched in mid-March as an emergency fund to address immediate need, and awarded £1.78m to over 540 organizations in 15 weeks.  As we move out of lockdown and start to think about the future, the ‘new needs fund’ is the next phase of support from the Community Foundation, aimed at helping organisations continue to thrive and provide further support to communities.

Síofra Healy, Director  of Philanthropy at the Community Foundation for Northern Ireland explains;

“Phase one was all about emergency support, making sure that those who needed help were able to get it quickly; with organizations mobilizing to set up foodbanks, meal distribution, fuel poverty,  and helpline services.  As we move out of the period of most immediate need, we’re focusing on the future, helping organisations to focus and deliver on action orientated, community led responses.

“Communities have demonstrated staggering generosity towards the vulnerable in society, however, the pandemic has further widened the chasm of societal inequalities, with already disadvantaged groups suffering the most. Our resilient and resourceful voluntary and community sector is facing huge challenges ahead in meeting these even greater needs. As such, projects applying to the New Needs Fund should demonstrate support for at least one of the vulnerable groups outlined in the application, including older people, people with poor mental health, and black, Asian and ethnic minorities.”

The fund is now open for applications, with grants of between £1k and £15k available.  It will focus on community led initiatives and it is expected that the funding will support organisations to continue to provide services over the next eight months. 

Clare Kiely, Senior Investment Partner at Comic Relief said;

“The last few months has really shown the value of community organisations who have worked tirelessly to support those in need and worst affected by the Covid 19 crisis. As we start to adapt to our ‘new normal’ it's vital that those organisations are supported to reflect on what comes next and to work with communities to start to recover and rebuild. Organisations are facing an uncertain future and need funds to sustain themselves so they are not only able to support people now but into the future. Comic Relief are thrilled that we can work alongside CFNI and help people and communities across Northern Ireland as they adapt to new circumstances and move forward.” 

To apply for the New Needs Fund click on of contact the Community Foundation for Northern Ireland Grants and Donor Care Team by email to

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