Comic Relief delivers new £2.8m fund to specialist UK projects tackling Covid-19 racial inequalities

10th February 2021

The Global Majority Fund, in partnership with the National Emergencies Trust, Barclays, The Clothworkers’ Foundation and Esmée Fairbairn Foundation, aims to help diverse communities disproportionately impacted by Covid-19 in the UK

  • New £2.8 million fund will be awarded to 10 organisations led by people from a range of ethnicities to support hundreds of small projects across the UK offering key services to communities with the greatest risk of Covid-19

  • This is the second phase of the Global Majority programme bringing the total fund to over £6.2 million

  • Organisations awarded new funding include the Africa Advocacy Foundation, Muslim Charities Forum, Migrant Centre Northern Ireland & Women’s Resource Centre

Comic Relief has awarded 10 specialist charities a share of a new £2.8 million fund which is set to help hundreds of smaller grass roots projects across the UK that provide vital services to diverse communities who have the greatest risk of Covid-19.

As many small projects struggle to adapt their services and develop new ways of working during the pandemic, recent research from The Ubele Initiative report* found 9 in 10 Black, Asian and Minority ethnic-led charities could cease operating if the lockdown continued and a projected 15,000 to 20,000 users per week would be unable to access services.

The Global Majority Fund aims to help address these inequalities by targeting services for the most at risk communities. The £2.8m fund includes contributions from Barclays, as part of the NET’s Coronavirus Appeal, Esmée Fairbairn Foundation, The Clothworkers’ Foundation and Comic Relief.

The selected 10 charities are ‘intermediary partners’ and have each been awarded between £179,000 to £370,000 to distribute to smaller UK projects at the forefront of delivering community Covid-19 response activities. Each intermediary partner has also been awarded an investment for grant management and organisational development. Each partner will open their own funding calls from the end of February and set their criteria and grant amounts individually, with applicants applying to them directly.  

The selected 10 intermediary partner charities are:

  • Do It Now Now: Awarded: £360,000. The UK-wide organisation is set to fund Black-led charity social enterprises that provide services to people that have been adversely affected by COVID

  • Migrant Centre Northern Ireland: Awarded: £179,400. The Northern Ireland based charity is set to fund projects providing access to emergency support with accessing food banks, mental health services and bereavement support

  • Coalition for Racial Equality and Rights Awarded: £288,000. The Scotland based charity will be funding projects tackling food poverty as well as mental health services, healthcare inequalities, gender based violence and homelessness

  • Women’s Resource Centre in partnership with Black Training & Enterprise Group (BTEG) Awarded: £276,000.They will fund smaller led by and for, Black and minoritised women’s organisations which provide domestic abuse and violence against women and girls support

  • BME Health Forum Awarded: £288,000. The London based charity will fund community led advice and advocacy, emotional and mental health support, digital inclusion and improved access to food, medicine and health services

  • Lancashire BME Network Awarded: £288,000. The charity will provide frontline services such as emergency food parcels, befriending and wellbeing activities, and addressing digital exclusion across Lancashire

  • Africa Advocacy Foundation Awarded: £288,000. The charity is set to fund London based projects supporting Black migrant communities affected by racial injustice, violence, poverty, disability, and mental ill-health

  • Caribbean and African Health Network Awarded: £288,000. The Greater Manchester-based charity will support projects that help increase inclusion, and reduce loneliness and isolation

  • Race Council Cymru in partnership with BAWSO and Welsh Refugee Council Awarded: £318,000. Across Wales, projects that break down barriers, promote participation and community cohesion and integration, will be funded

  • Muslim Charities Forum Awarded: £288,000. The charity will fund a range of projects providing mental health, skills and education services plus essential needs (e.g food provision)

Comic Relief and the National Emergencies Trust first collaborated last spring to create a £3.4million fund for projects led by leaders with lived experience of racial inequalities, working with communities disproportionately affected by Covid-19. Combined with the new second phase funding, this brings the total fund to over £6.2 million.

From the first phase of funding, 10 intermediary organisations have helped deliver 449 grants to projects, helping over 16,000 people across the UK, and have been used to provide emergency support to a wide range of communities including mental health support, food bank assistance and bereavement services.

Jacqueline Onalo, Trustee, Comic Relief said: “This funding programme is a vital and long overdue way of reaching key smaller projects that are a lifeline to many marginalised people who are most at risk during the pandemic. The Global Majority Fund is innovating our grants processes, and putting leaders with lived experiences at the forefront. I am proud of the hundreds of projects already funded by our first phase and I look forward to seeing the great work delivered across the UK by our new £2.8 million programme.

“In addition to this fund, Comic Relief is continuing to expand this important work by supporting The Baobab Foundation, the UK's first grant making foundation, led by and for communities experiencing racial inequity.”

Mhairi Sharp, CEO, National Emergencies Trust, said: “This pandemic continues to have devastating impacts on people’s lives, and in ways that are not always visible or obvious.  Working with specialist charities who know exactly where to look, and how to help, is a critical part of ensuring funds reach all those who need them. The Global Majority Fund has already made a meaningful difference to communities. It’s new intermediary partners bring with them new expertise and fresh perspectives on the pandemic’s impacts, which will enhance and evolve this work further.”

Bayo Adelaja, CEO, Do It Now Now said: "Organisations are facing a funding deficit that significantly affects the long term sustainability and impact of their work within the underserved communities they focus on. COVID forced us to reckon with the consequence of allowing Black-led organisations to fall away due to a lack of accessible finance. Through this Comic Relief funding, we are able to continue supporting Black-led organisations working in communities across the country.”

An unprecedented high number of applications were made to the Global Majority Fund, reflecting the huge demand on the services of smaller specialist organisations during the pandemic.  As a result, Comic Relief is offering unsuccessful applicants workshops to help develop skills and tools to strengthen their future funding opportunities.

You can find out more about Comic Relief's work tackling racial inequalities here.


Notes to editors

About Comic Relief 

  1. 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 who have been forced to flee their homes, women and families at risk of domestic abuse and those struggling with existing or new mental health problems. For more information Comic Relief’s work on racial inequality please visit

  2. Red Nose Day is back on Friday 19th March 2021 and will aim to bring the UK together to show just how powerful humour can be through the toughest of times

  3. It has never felt more important to raise smiles and money for those who are struggling more than ever, as the continued impact of COVID-19 brings unprecedented challenges to many.  

  4. The money raised by Red Nose Day will support people in the UK and around the world, and help tackle hunger, homelessness, domestic  abuse and mental health stigma 

  5. Visit or follow @ComicRelief on social media for the latest Red Nose Day content, news and information  

  6. The National Emergencies Trust is a charity set up to raise funds from the general public in the event of a domestic disaster or emergency. When a disaster occurs, the NET collaborates with charities and other bodies to raise and distribute money to support those affected. The NET’s Coronavirus Appeal launched on 18 March 2020 to support those affected by the pandemic. For more information visit in new window)

  7. *For more information on the Ubele Initiative report please visit in new window)

  8. Last year Comic Relief carried out an audit using a random sample of our existing funding portfolio following the publication of the ‘Home Truths’ report by Voice4Change England & ACEVO. Overall, 57% (47) of the sampled investments were intended to benefit communities affected by racial inequalities.