Local hospice to benefit from government coronavirus support

Havering's St Francis Hospice has welcomed this week's announcement of new government support for UK hospices as part of a £750 million package to ensure charities can continue their vital work during the coronavirus outbreak.

St Francis Hospice is committed to helping anyone in our communities affected by life-limiting illness, and to ensuring they receive excellent person-centred care when they need it, ideally in a place of their choosing. However the coronavirus pandemic has placed especial demands on their resources and MPs from across the country have been lobbying government for specialised support to hospices at this difficult time to enable them to continue their work with some of the most vulnerable people. To learn more about St Francis' services and changes relating to care during this crisis, visit their website.

Our brilliant charities are already playing a crucial role in our national effort to fight coronavirus – backed up by an army of volunteers to support those who are most in need. The government will do everything we can to help the sector during this difficult time, which is why we have announced this unprecedented £750 million package of extra funding. This will benefit tens of thousands of charities, ensuring they can meet increased demand as a result of the virus as well as continuing their day to day activities supporting those in need. This package will make sure those on the front line are able to reach people who need help most, support communities and take pressure off our NHS.

We are doing this by:

Providing a £750 million funding pot for charities to ensure charities can continue their vital work during the coronavirus outbreak.

This includes:

 Directly allocating £360 million to key charities providing key services and supporting vulnerable people during the crisis. This funding will be allocated by Government departments and will include:

o Up to £200 million for hospices to help increase capacity and give stability to the sector o St Johns Ambulance to support the NHS o Victims charities, including domestic abuse, to help with potential increase in demand for charities providing these services

o Vulnerable children charities, so they can continue delivering services on behalf of local authorities

o Citizens Advice to increase the number of staff providing advice during this difficult time

 Providing £370 million for small and medium-sized charities to support those organisations at the heart of local communities which are making a big difference during the outbreak. The £370 million, including through a grant to the National Lottery Community Fund for those in England, will support organisations that are playing a crucial role in our fight against coronavirus, including those delivering food, essential medicines and providing financial advice.

 Pledging a minimum of £20 million to contribute to the National Emergencies Trust appeal. The Government will match donations made during the BBC’s upcoming Big Night In live fundraising special, with a minimum pledge of £20 million.

This builds on the support we have already announced for charities:

 Deferring their VAT bills. We’re helping with cash flow by deferring the next quarter of VAT, so no organisation will pay VAT until the end of June.

 Paying no business rates for their shops next year. All charity shops are exempt from business rates for 12 months in 2020-21.

 Helping charities to pay their employees’ wages. Through the new Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, any charity in the country will be eligible for a grant. That means workers across the UK can keep their jobs, and will be paid at least 80 per cent of their salary, even if their employer cannot afford to pay them.