LGBTQ+ organisations and groups across the UK can now apply for grants of up to £15,000 to support their vital role in supporting LGBTQ+ communities through the coronavirus pandemic and beyond.
METRO Charity in partnership with NAZ, Equality Network, The Rainbow Project, Umbrella Cymru, Yorkshire MESMAC and Birmingham LGBT, will be cascading the £585,000 fund from Comic Relief, raised from ‘The Big Night In’.
The partners will be convening grants panels in each nation - Scotland, Northern Ireland, Wales and England to ensure the maximum reach to grassroots community-led LGBTQ+ organisations across the UK. Organisations and groups with income under £100,000 will be able to apply for over 100 grants ranging from £500 to £15,000.
Jacqueline Onalo, Comic Relief Trustee, said:
“The impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on many grassroot projects, especially those supporting diverse LGBTQ+ communities, has been truly devastating. Our ring-fenced funding aims to directly address these inequalities and empower LGBTQ+ led organisations, with specialist expertise, to support grassroot local projects that are a lifeline to the people they help. Comic Relief has a long and proud history of supporting the LGBTQ+ community and I hope this funding will make a real difference throughout the pandemic and its recovery.”
Dr Greg Ussher, CEO at METRO Charity, said:
"We couldn't agree more with Comic Relief's identification that LGBTQ+ grassroots community-led organisations need support right now to ensure that they can in turn support LGBTQ+ communities across the UK through this pandemic and beyond. We are very pleased to be working with partners in each of the UK nations to maximise the reach of the fund and the diversity of organisations and groups we will collectively be encouraging to apply.
"From the 258 groups and organisations that have already registered their interest in the fund we have heard about the challenges they and our communities are facing: with isolation affecting many service users - especially older LGBTQ+ people; difficulties with moving online, including digital poverty; an increase in anxiety, depression and mental health crises - particularly amongst younger LGBTQ+ people; supporting service users with financial challenges resulting from the pandemic; and loss of funding - especially from Pride events being cancelled.
"This completely chimes with our own experience as a service delivery charity."
Parminder Sekhon, Interim CEO at NAZ, said:
"I am so pleased we are able to open this fund today for LGBTQ+ community organisations and groups to apply for much needed emergency funding. As we emerge out of lock down and move into recovery, rebuild, and take stock of the devastating impact COVID-19 has had on our communities, I hope organisations across the four nations will apply for funds to help redress some of the damage and to preserve hard won services for LGBTQ+ people. Good luck everyone.
“My role in supporting the fund is to help ensure that BAME LGBTQ+ people - who have been and continue to be at significant risk of poor health and wellbeing outcomes, which has been exacerbated and magnified by COVID-19 - are well represented in the projects that we fund.”