Posted 20.08.2020 - Press Release issued by NET

£12million from NET’s Coronavirus Appeal will fund helplines and other support services to address unmet need among disproportionately impacted groups

The National Emergencies Trust (NET) is announcing plans to distribute £12million of funds from its Coronavirus Appeal to a range of charity partnerships offering targeted support to some of the UK’s most at risk groups.

Each partner will provide support to a disproportionately impacted group that NET believes may have been underserved through the pandemic so far, according to its own detailed gap analysis. This analysis reviewed Coronavirus Appeal grants data to-date, as well as other funding made available to groups from external sources, to identify key areas of unmet need. 

In its first wave, just over £2million of funding will be distributed to two onward grant partners: a disability support network, DPO COVID-19 Coalition, led by Disability Action NI, and LGBT+ Consortium. Decisions on awarding of these onward grants will be made by people with lived experience of the issues faced.

Each group have established UK-wide consortia to ensure that vital frontline services are supported across the four nations. The funding will support vital helpline services and provide grants to organisations providing specialist advice and hands-on support to at risk individuals.

Further funds will be distributed to additional partners and consortia, to be announced in the coming weeks.

Gerald Oppenheim, Deputy-Chair of the National Emergencies Trust, said:

“By providing specialist support for certain needs and at-risk groups, our new partners will help the thousands of at risk people who find it harder to access help and who have been more difficult for us to reach so far. Helpline services will feature prominently as they offer a lifeline for those less able to leave their homes, those seeking advice from someone like them, and those who are looking for charity support for the first time due to the sudden and extraordinary circumstances caused by coronavirus but are unsure where to turn.”

Data from the new partners highlights the sharp uplift in need since the start of the pandemic. Switchboard LGBT+ Helpline, one of the members of LGBT+ Consortium, has reported a 35% uplift in calls compared to the previous year, with a 42% increase in requests for help from trans and non-binary people specifically.

Since March, the NET’s Coronavirus Appeal has raised £87.25 million and distributed £64 million of this through Community Foundations UK-wide, including £250k for BAME charities and infrastructure. Funds have enabled more than 8,000 grassroots groups to meet urgent needs on the ground, from food access to bereavement counselling. 

Marcia Asare, Independent Grants Assessor for NET, said:

“As a relatively new national funder, NET is doing an excellent job of directing funds to the hearts of communities in need. The Trust’s commitment to fair distribution was clear to me during the grant assessment process, and the questions posed by the Equity Scrutiny Group and the Allocations Committee have ensured the appointment of charity partners who will most effectively achieve this goal”.

As well as bringing the new partners on board, NET will continue its vital work with UK Communications Foundations, as well as its more recent partner, Comic Relief, which is providing £2.75million (of which NET funded 2.4million) in dedicated funding to BAME-led organisations that are supporting some of the hardest hit.

Paul Roberts, chief executive of LGBT+ Consortium, said:

“Emerging data from across the LGBT+ sector has highlighted the disproportionate effect Covid-19 has had on our communities. Issues of negative mental health, domestic abuse and loneliness being reported to helplines across the country, already high before the pandemic, have only increased during lockdown. Many in our communities have struggled with living in difficult lockdown situations where they cannot be “out” or have had issues with accessing vital medications.

“Evidence shows that LGBT+ people want support from organisations that understand their lived experiences, so we are delighted to be supported by the NET and ensure funds can be directed so support remains available to as many diverse LGBT+ people as possible.”

Andrea Brown, Chief Executive, Disability Action NI, said:

“What has become clear, from Disability Action’s COVID-19 survey, is the feeling of many disabled people that their voices are being lost in the noise or worse, simple ignored, in the confusion that is unfolding from COVID-19. The opportunity of this consortium to come together to provide direct support to grassroots DPO’s (Disabled Peoples Organisations) across the UK, to ensure they are strengthened and sustained to provide vital advice and support, will enable local action for local needs.

“NET’s principles of directing this funding to bodies representing groups highly impacted by COVID-19 based on a human rights approach is to be welcomed. “



About NET’s Coronavirus Appeal

The National Emergencies Trust is a charity set up to raise funds from the general public in the event of a domestic disaster or emergency. When a disaster hits, the Trust will collaborate with charities and other bodies to raise and distribute money and support victims. The funds collected will be distributed by local partners on the ground in the areas affected by the emergency event. 

The National Emergencies Trust is a registered charity no. 1182809. For more information, visit

Since March, the NET’s Coronavirus Appeal has raised £87.25 million and distributed £66.7 million of this through Community Foundations UK-wide. Funds have enabled more than 8,000 grassroots groups to meet urgent needs on the ground, from food access to bereavement counselling. 

In the coming weeks the NET will be making distributions to support other groups. It will also continue to distribute funds to hard hit BAME communities through its partnership with Comic Relief, and focus on grassroots groups via Community Foundations.

About the charity partners

LGBT+ Consortium is the UKs umbrella body for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Trans+ voluntary and community organisations with a membership of 370 organisations.

Consortium will be distributing onward grants using its existing grant systems, which involve LGBT+ people with lived experiences in the decision-making. Funds will go to a diverse range of LGBT+ organisations providing lifeline support during the pandemic.

Consortium will also directly support 8 helpline partners, all member organisations and who provide direct services to LGBT+ people and communities across the UK. The partners are: Switchboard LGBT+, MindOut, Galop, Brighton and Hove Switchboard, LGBT Health and Wellbeing, Cara Friend, The Intercom Trust and LGBT Foundation.

DPO COVID-19 Coalition, led by Disability Action NI is a partnership with Disability Wales, Inclusion Scotland and Inclusion London. We are organisations run by and for Disabled people and are indelibly linked to our communities in our regions through vast networks of member and partner organisations.

Funds from NET will go towards bolstering information and advice services within the organisations, employing a grants officer, and distributing over £1 million of the funds to grassroots DPOs to ensure Disabled people are less isolated, more independent and their voices are heard and reflected in recovery strategies.