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COVID-19 and BBC Children in Need grants – Frequently Asked Questions

Page last updated: 23/03/2020

We fully understand that this must be an incredibly challenging and difficult time for you, your charity, your staff and volunteers. We want to support you.

We know that you will want to do the best for the children and young people you support whilst protecting your staff and the charity.

If you have a grant from us at the moment, we want you to know that we are going to do our very best to help you.

We are currently receiving a number of questions from our grant recipients in connection with the COVID-19 pandemic. Initially, in this document we have put together a series of answers to questions some of you have already raised with us.

We’ll be updating and adding to the information below as things change and develop, but hope that this provides some reassurance during this very challenging time.

We want to reassure you that you have our support. We want to help and will be issuing more guidance and information over the coming days and weeks. Please stay safe. The delivery of your BBC Children in Need grant should in no way compromise your safety or the safety of your staff or volunteers.

  1. Based on government advice we need to close our project from a specific date. We still have employment obligations to staff, would these be met under our grant even through work isn’t being delivered?

Yes. If your project needs to close following government advice, just let us know. We’re lifting restrictions on our funding until further notice  so that you can continue to meet your employment obligations and can explore different ways of working to support children & young people. We just ask that you keep in contact with us to let us know what, if any, changes you are planning to make.

Where possible, we’d expect staff time to be redirected in creative and imaginative ways to continue to engage with children and young people safely in relation to COVID-19 or into activities which directly benefit the project e.g. evaluation of work, training, project planning.

If you have a Curiosity grant, we will be setting up conversations with you in the coming weeks to discuss the arrangements that will work best for you.

  1. Due to the nature of our project, our staff work on a freelance basis and are not protected by employment contracts. Can we continue to pay them?

We recognise that you may be able to use freelance staff in an adapted delivery model, so please just let us know what the situation is and we’ll be flexible about spend in this area.

If it is not possible for freelance staff to work during this period, we’d consider that their work is being delayed rather than cancelled.

  1. The CIN post-holder has been formally diagnosed with COVID-19. Is sick pay met under my grant?

We will follow the policy of the employing organisation if any staff employed on a grant:

  • are unwell
  • need to self-isolate
  • have caring responsibilities for someone affected

Your grant will cover the costs that your organisation incurs paying their salary while they’re away. It may be that you can recover statutory pay (advice below). If supplementary funds are needed, please get in touch with us to discuss.

NCVO provide more detailed advice on contractual and statutory sick pay for those infected by COVID-19 or those asked to self-isolate. For more information, please see the below links:

England: https://www.ncvo.org.uk/2-content

Northern Ireland: https://www.nicva.org/

Wales: https://wcva.cymru/coronavirus-statement/

Scotland: https://scvo.org.uk/support/coronavirus

  1. We had to cancel an event or trip and were unable to obtain a refund. Are these unrecoverable costs eligible under our grant funding?

Yes. But we ask that in the first instance, please check your insurance policy as some insurance companies include a clause around notifiable disease and may address losses which you have incurred. The UK government confirmed on 5 March 2020 that COVID-19 (Coronavirus) is formally recognised as a notifiable disease for insurance purposes. If you aren’t able to recover the costs, please let us know and we’ll support you to be able to run the event or trip at a later date.

  1. Due to the additional cost/loss of income we have incurred due to COVID-19, our organisation is in financial difficulty. Are BBC Children in Need able to offer additional funding or a Change of Use for our grant?

If you are in financial difficulty, please let us know. We will be flexible in relation to operating differently and where possible. We are currently exploring the best way to  support you with additional funding solutions to support organisational stability. We are working with other funders to explore how we can support the sector together and will be reviewing this as things change. Please watch out for further announcements in this space.

Where you are proposing to change your project, you may need to revise your budget – we recognise that some costs may reduce and others might increase. There may also be other resources and support that we can signpost you to, so please get in touch. We are here to help.

  1. Should we cancel planned events?

We would ask all projects to stay across both Government and voluntary sector guidance (as below) and respond appropriately:

England: https://www.ncvo.org.uk/2-content

Northern Ireland: https://www.nicva.org/

Wales: https://wcva.cymru/coronavirus-statement/

Scotland: https://scvo.org.uk/support/coronavirus

  1. Our project runs out of a health setting or in partnership with the NHS. We have been advised that our project will be suspended as it is not core to Healthcare delivery during the Covid 19 breakout. Should we look for an alternative way to deliver to meet our grant objectives?

We understand that your immediate responsibility is to protect your staff and volunteers. We understand that it may be challenging to find a practical and safe alternative to deliver but if you can do this safely that is fine with us. Let us know what the situation is and what options you have.

We’d like you to think through alternative delivery mechanisms and where possible, we’ll be sharing ideas and learning with you. If delivering differently means that additional funding is needed then we are happy to discuss this. We’ll also be putting support in place for new delivery models – for example, if you are moving from face-to-face to online/virtual support, we’ll provide access to support and guidance that you can use to deliver as safely and effectively as possible.

  1. We need to postpone an event or activity funded by you. Is this ok?

Yes. If this is going to be rescheduled, you do not need to contact us.

  1. We are adapting events and activities to avoid exposure. Do we need to let you know?

No, you do not need to let us know.

  1. We need to make significant changes to our grant activities. Do we need to let you know?

Yes, if you are planning to make significant changes to your planning and activities, we’d like to help and support you. So, please  do get in touch with the local BBC Children in Need team to discuss.

  1. With project changes, we need to purchase items not included in our budget. Do we need to let you know?

For significant budget impact, we’d like to help and support you. So, please do get in touch to discuss.  For minor items with limited budget impact, you do not need to contact us.

  1. We have just been awarded funding and need to delay the start of our project. Can we do this?

Yes, we can provide an extension for up to six months.  This can be reviewed again, if required.

  1. Are cancellation fees eligible to be paid through our grant? 

Yes, however, in the first instance, please check with your insurance policy.

  1. Will you still be able to make planned payments to grantees?

Yes, we expect to be able to make all payments to grant holders as scheduled.

  1. Will I be expected to submit a report?

We understand that your priorities will be different during this period and ask that you keep a record of all activity and if you can, yes, please do submit a grant report. If this is not possible please talk to your local Grants Officer.

  1. What happens if BBC Children in Need closes and I need to contact my Grants Officer?

Both BBC Children in Need and the wider BBC are currently monitoring advice from government. Most staff are now working from home and our Grants Officers have access to everything they need in order to work remotely and provide on-going support. If your Grants Officer is unavailable for any reason, we’ll provide cross-cover from our wider team where we can – as we normally would. If there are more significant challenges, we’ll be in contact to let you know.

  1. I’m currently waiting on funding decision. Will this be delayed because of COVID-19?

If you are waiting for a funding decision in March or April 2020, then we anticipate being able to deliver within the timescale specified. We do, however, anticipate making some changes to future grant rounds. Please check our website www.bbcchildreninneed.co.uk for further updates.

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