Comic Relief delivers £3.4 million fund for BAME-led projects worst hit by Covid-19

1st July 2020

  • Many small projects working with diverse communities are facing risk of closure due to financial pressures following the pandemic

  • New £3.4 m fund from Comic Relief & National Emergencies Trust will support 10 Black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) led organisations who will fund hundreds of small projects across the UK

  • Comic Relief will also earmark £1.8m from the new Change Makers programme for BAME projects

Hundreds of small grass roots charitable projects across the UK are set to benefit from a new £3.4 million fund from Comic Relief, which aims to help vulnerable communities by supporting Black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) projects struggling to continue their services because of the pandemic.

Recent worrying reports* have highlighted the disproportionate health impact of Covid-19 on Black and Asian people across the UK. Many small grassroots projects who work directly with these communities are also facing financial crisis and closure due to the pandemic, according to findings by the Ubele Initiative. These factors led to anti-racist campaign group Charity So White to call on the voluntary sector to ring fence funding for BAME-led organisations.

To help address these inequalities as part of its wider Covid-19 crisis response, Comic Relief has partnered with the National Emergencies Trust to award £3.4m* worth of grants to 10 BAME- led organisation who will distribute the funding to small and micro projects across the UK. This includes £2.75m in emergency funding from the NET’s Coronavirus Appeal.

The organsiations specialise in and will fund small projects across a range of services including mental health, domestic abuse, sports provision, gender, racial equality and family services.

Each of the 10 have each been awarded between £275,000 to £440,000 to distribute to UK projects. These grants will be available from mid-July and each organisation will set their criteria and grant amounts individually, with applicants applying to them directly. The organisations have the specialist experience and skills to reach smaller BAME projects. They include:

  • Imkaan - a charity working with Black, minoritised and migrant women’s communities

  • The ATM - a non-profit organisation committed to tackling discrimination and promoting fairer and more equitable societies

  • Sporting Equals - who promote equal, ethnically diverse sport, and work across the health and physical activity sector

  • BAWSO - an organisation who deliver a range of services to thousands of people across Wales, including refuges, domestic abuse service, child services and outreach projects

  • Next Step - an initiative that empowers, transform and supports African communities in Scotland

  • Greater Manchester BAME Network (GMCVO) - who support and connect BAME-led organisations across Manchester

  • African Health Policy Network (AHPN) - who work with BAME people living in the UK who are disproportionately affected by long term health conditions such as HIV, mental health issues and diabetes

  • Voice 4 Change England - an organisation influencing policy to address inequalities, develop inclusion strategies and support BAME communities

  • Migrant Centre Northern Ireland - who support new and settled migrant communities in NI

  • BTEG who work across the public and private sector, to research, lobby and support BAME civil society organisations

In addition to these grants, Comic Relief has launched a £9million Change Makers programme which will provide funding to organisations looking at the social and structural changes needed to address the longer term impact of Covid-19 on communities. 20 per cent of these grants, approximately £1.8 million, will be targeted at BAME-led organisations. More details on how to apply can be found at

Jacqueline Onalo, Comic Relief Trustee said: “The disproportionate effect of Covid-19 on Black and Asian communities has been truly devastating. Smaller projects that work within these communities have also been adversely effected, after many years of neglect, with many at risk of closure. Our ring fenced funding aims to directly address these inequalities and empower BAME-led organisations, with specialist expertise, to reach and support grassroot local projects that are a lifeline to the people they help. Alongside the £1.8 million Change Maker BAME grants, I hope we can make a real difference to hundreds of projects struggling to support people throughout the pandemic and its recovery.“

John Herriman, CEO, National Emergencies Trust said: “Partnering with Comic Relief to support BAME-led charities means we can continue to get emergency funds to those that need them most, while building vital capacity where there’s been historic underinvestment. Since our Coronavirus Appeal launched in mid-March, around 17% of funds distributed have gone to projects primarily benefitting BAME communities and around 12% have gone to BAME-led groups. It’s an encouraging start, but we know these communities have been the hardest hit by this pandemic and that more needs to be done. That’s why this partnership with Comic Relief is such an important step.”

Deryck Browne, CEO, African Health Policy Network said: "African Health Policy Network and partners are excited to be working with Comic Relief as intermediaries on this important project. This pandemic has laid bare the extent of health inequalities entrenched within our social systems and faced by BAME communities and organisations. As well as responding to some of the immediate acute needs within the community we hope that the fund will also help to build strength and resilience during this time of change."



Rachelle Laurence, Head of Corporate & Crisis Communications

Tel: 07771 814 478


For out of hours media enquiries contact or 07984 510 473


  1. £3.4M funding partnership includes £2.75m from the National Emergencies Trust and £650,000 from Comic Relief. The 10 organisations will also share a £340,000 direct investment from Comic Relief to their wider work. For more information on the Covid-19 BAME led fund or the Change Makers programme visit

  2. Information referenced from the Ubele Initiative report on the impact of Covid-19 on BAME communities and organisations and the ONS figures on Covid-19 related deaths by Ethnic groups

  3. About Comic Relief - Comic Relief raises money to support people living incredibly tough lives. Through humour and stories of hope, we’ve shown that people can make a massive difference. We fund hundreds of amazing organisations who are working on the ground to support the most vulnerable people and communities in society including many of those hardest hit by the coronavirus crisis. This includes vulnerable children and young people, people who are homeless or living in extreme poverty, women and families at risk of domestic abuse and those struggling with existing or new mental health problems. Comic Relief has diverse professional range of trustees from varied backgrounds with wide ranging expertise. Founder Richard Curtis continues to be closely involved, while trustees include Jacqueline Onalo, a multi-award-winning human rights lawyer and Dr Sue Black a Technology Evangelist and Digital Skills Expert. For more information on our trustees visit

  4. About National Emergencies Trust The National Emergencies Trust (NET) is a charity set up to raise funds from the general public in the event of a domestic disaster or emergency. When a disaster hits, the Trust collaborates with charities and other bodies to raise and distribute money and support victims. The funds collected are distributed by local partners on the ground in the areas affected by the emergency event. The National Emergencies Trust is a registered charity no. 1182809. For more information, visit

The NET Coronavirus Appeal The NET launched its nationwide Coronavirus Appeal on 18th March 2020, just days after the World Health Authority (WHO) declared a global pandemic. Since it launched, the Appeal has raised more than £82million and distributed £51.2million to Community Foundations across the UK to support the vital work of grassroots charities on the community front-line.

For National Emergencies Trust: Please contact Teneo: 0330 808 5221 Or email