Last updated: 16 March 2020
The Government has announced that we have now moved from the ‘containment’ stage of dealing with coronavirus to the ‘delay’ stage. The World Health Organization (WHO) has also confirmed official pandemic status for COVID-19.
The Government’s action plan has more information about the stages we’re moving through.
We recognise that the outbreak of COVID-19 is an exceptional event that is already having an immediate impact on many of the social enterprises, charities, local authorities and schools we support with grant funding.
We want to reassure grantees that we stand with them as they respond and continue to support communities, students, older neighbours, those with long-term health needs and other citizens.
We will do what we can to help. In particular, we understand that it may be difficult for grantees to undertake planned work in the next period and to reach the outcomes of a grant when staff or volunteers may be unable to do the work they do, beneficiaries may be unable to connect as usual and events and meetings will be cancelled.
We will be flexible. We understand that grantees may need to pause or change the work they are doing with us, adjust targets and move payment dates. Nesta programme managers will work with grantees to assess what is possible in the next few weeks, but in the meantime there’s no need to contact us - grantees should just focus their attention on their beneficiaries, their teams and themselves.
We are working with other funders behind the scenes to support efforts to bolster the voluntary sector and public sector as it responds to the outbreak. If grantees feel that there’s anything specific we can do to help, they should get in touch with their programme manager.
Last week we made the difficult decision to postpone FutureFest due to the growing concern about COVID-19. As of today (16 March), all of our face-to-face events have been postponed (and in a small number of cases, cancelled) until further notice .
We’ll be keeping the situation under constant review and contacting our attendees, speakers and partners over the coming days to let them know.
Our team has been actively exploring ways we can bring our events to our audiences digitally and we hope to be able to reschedule some of our events very soon.
If you have registered for a paid-for event, we’ll be getting in touch and refunding your ticket very shortly. In the meantime, if you have any queries, please do not hesitate to get in touch at: [email protected].
We are also thinking about how we could rapidly redeploy some of our staff to support the Government and NHS’s mission of delaying the outbreak and saving lives. And we are working with our grant recipients to share the latest ideas and best practice, especially around supporting those who are self isolated for long periods.
But what more could we do? Do share your ideas with Vicki Sellick, Executive Director of Programmes, at: [email protected].