Children at a community day

METRO GAVS, which represents and builds the capacity of the voluntary, community and faith sector in the Royal Borough of Greenwich, has stepped up support in the face of the COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic.

Crucial services are provided to some of the borough's most vulnerable people through the voluntary, community and faith sector and ensuring the sector is able to respond to the crisis has been METRO GAVS main focus this month.

Additional support and services provided METRO GAVS includes:

  • providing COVID-19 specific guidance on a range of topics including residential care and supported living; employment and business; health
  • the latest funding opportunities, including emergency funding
  • working with the Volunteer Centre Greenwich to support volunteering in response to the pandemic

Pauline O’Hare, METRO GAVS Voice & Infrastructure Manager, said, “The voluntary, community and faith sector has a key role to play in supporting people and communities to deal with the consequences.

“We are committed to acting as the strategic voice for the sector during the coming weeks and months. We will continue to share information and advocate for the sector – our role in supporting the voluntary, community and faith sector has never been more important.”

Dr Greg Ussher, CEO of METRO said: “The Royal Borough of Greenwich has moved quickly and purposefully to respond to the coronavirus pandemic, and has provided incredibly strong leadership. METRO GAVS is determined to support all initiatives which strengthen the voluntary, community and faith sector right now.”

Advice and information

  • Latest coronavirus guidance from the Charity Commission is here.
  • A guide to using Microsoft Teams and more: Superhighways have produced this helpful guide for home working with MS Teams. It explains how to download and use the free software, which allows video conference calls and more. Charity Digital have lots of resources to support with managing a remote workforce here.
  • Charity trustee meetings: Bates Wells have produced a guide on alternative ways of holding trustee meetings during the coronavirus pandemic.
  • Free digital advice for charities: Digital Candle are offering a free one-hour advice session to charities on how they can improve their digital working. To book an appointment please visit their website.
  • Befriending and advice for older people: The Silver Line is the only free confidential helpline providing information, friendship and advice to older people, open 24 hours a day, every day of the year on 0800 470 8090. They also currently provide advice on their website for older people regarding coronavirus.
  • List of local food businesses offering home delivery: Please see this helpful list produced by GCDA of take-aways and shops offering home delivery in the borough.

Additional information and advice can be found on the METRO GAVS website 

Funding opportunities

  • London Community Response Fund: Over £3 million will be available in this fund to help civil society groups affected by the coronavirus crisis. Details of how to apply will be released later in the week. Groups can sign up for email alerts here.
  • Sylvia Adams Charitable Trust: In response to the current pandemic, there are changes to the application guidelines with the aim of supporting small and medium-sized charities. Eligible projects are those that aim to improve the life chances of disadvantaged children, supporting early intervention and preventative work to improve the reach to targeted groups of 0–3 year olds. More here. Deadline: 28 April.
  • Comic Relief Community Fund: Funding for small groups to support capacity building or project delivery to deliver change by drawing on the ‘lived experiences’ of people who have experienced the issues of: children survive and thrive; fighting gender justice; a safe place to be; mental health matters. More here. No Deadline.
  • D M Thomas Foundation: Grants up to £30,000 per year for up to two years. Priority areas include children and young people with disabilities and mental health of children and young people. More here. Deadline: 5 May.
  • GLA Grants - Stronger Communities Fund: Grants of £2,000 to £5,000 are available for projects that encourage social integration between different groups through physical activity, bringing people together from different backgrounds, cultures and faiths, and to help socially isolated or lonely Londoners feel better connected to their local communities. Details here. Deadline: 28 May.
  • Sport England - Emergency Community Fund: Organisations delivering community sport and physical activity can apply if experiencing short term financial hardship or the ceasing of operations due to the impact of coronavirus. Grants of £300 - £10,000 available. Apply now via their website.
  • Arts Council England - Emergency Fund: Groups working within the arts and culture sector can apply for grants of up to £35,000 to continue their work. Grants of up to £2,500 are available for individual artists and freelancers. Round 1: Open 9 April - Deadline 13 April. Round 2: Open 16 April - Deadline: 30 April. Apply now via their website.
  • CAF Coronavirus Emergency Fund: Grants of up to £10,000 are available to help groups continue to deliver much needed support to communities across the UK. CAF aim to make payments to selected organisations within 14 days of application. Apply now via their online application form.
  • London Community Response Fund: This funding is for urgent needs so that you can cover costs that you are incurring to support communities affected by the COVID-19 outbreak and the move to social distancing, with a focus on food and essentials. Small grants of up to £5,000 are available. Apply now via their website. Rolling weekly deadline.
  • National Lottery Community Funding: The National Lottery have published an update on their funding approach in response to COVID-19. Flexibility will be provided to existing grant holders and funding decisions over the next 6 months will be devoted to addressing the current crisis. Read more here.

Fundraising Support

METRO GAVS can support you with your fundraising bids. Just ring the office on 020 8305 5000 option 2.

Financial support for food redistribution groups

  • Government funding: £3.25 million available to help cut food waste and redistribute surplus stock during the coronavirus outbreak. Grant applications are open for charities and food redistribution businesses on 9th April. More information and how to apply here.
  • Tesco Community Grants: Tesco Bags of Help is responding to the current Coronavirus (COVID-19) crisis by setting up a new short-term fund to support local communities and have set up a streamlined application & funding process. Read more here.

Volunteering in Greenwich

If you would like to volunteer, or if your organisation needs volunteers, call 020 8317 3817 or email