On 3rd April 2020 The Rank Foundation launched the Resilience Fund in response to the Coronavirus pandemic. Applications are open to all RankNet members, and the fund has been implemented to cover cashflow, fundraising and loss of income challenges relating to the current covid-19 related climate. This includes those facing significant, unplanned demand on services. Within hours of opening, applications were received and the Grants Manager and Foundation Executives began processing the applications, assessing management accounts and cash flow forecasts, knowing that access to this type of funding was a priority.

We will be looking at some of the Resilience Fund grantees each week, starting with Hull Youth Support Trust and Cleveland Housing Advice Centre.

Cleveland Housing Advice Centre

Organisation Overview:

Cleveland Housing Advice Centre (CHAC) was opened in 1992 and provides one to one advice, lay advocacy, and representation in all aspects of welfare benefits, housing, and debt issues along with the various spin-off problems arising from them such as repossessions, evictions, domestic violence, poverty, and distress. They offer their services to their local community in Middlesbrough, currently ranked as the eighth most deprived local authority area in England.

Difficulties due to Coronavirus:

Due to the high demand in applications for universal credit, CHAC are unable to reduce the numbers of staff or take advantage of the Government Job Retention Scheme (JRS), as all of their staff are needed to deal with the surge of Universal Credit advice and assistance on completing forms.

They are also unable to provide their Job Training programme for prisoners and young people at risk which means that the charity is losing an average £6,000 per month, an income which contributes directly to staff wages.

What will the Resilience Fund grant be used for?

CHAC will be able to continue providing telephone and online advice on welfare and debt, and assisting in completing Universal Credit applications. They deal with 105 clients per day and issue an average of 30 food vouchers per day. Due to the increased demand on their services, CHAC has had to consider using some of their small reserves to pay staff. The Resilience Fund grant of £20,000 will allow CHAC to pay their staff salaries for the next 3 months without accessing reserves, which may be needed in the future.

HYST logo

Hull Youth Support Trust

Organisation Overview:

Hull Youth Support Trust (HYST) first came to Rank’s attention in 2016 and were part of the second phase of Place-Based funding in Hull. Since then, they have been significant and engaged members of the Rank Network.

HYST provides young entrepreneurs (aged 18-30) with heavily subsidised office space for a two year period in order to make those first few years as comfortable as possible. Together with dedicated one-to-one business advice and personal support HYST aim to give every young person the fundamental skills to succeed in business. HYST look to work with young people who have previously been; unemployed, under-employed, disadvantaged in some way or totally new to the world of business.

Difficulties due to Coronavirus:

HYST have a 23 office incubation centre where their businesses (during normal times) work out of and use meeting facilities.

The biggest concern is ongoing cashflow if the tenants are unable to pay their rent due to the downturn in work within their own businesses. A loss of 60-70% of HYST’s rent (on average) coming in would result in a significant loss per month to the charity.

What will the Resilience Fund grant be used for?

“We would hope that with a support package to help our cashflow over the next 6 months we would have what we require to not only support us as a charity get through the downturn but to offer our tenants the support they need to get back on their feet and start trading effectively again”

The Resilience Fund grant of £15,600 will cover 6 months of predicted office space rental losses, allowing HYST to help their tenants get back to usual or adapted business.