A year like no other
Introduction a year like no other ACE CAT Set Up 163 R

The past year has been unprecedented in so many ways.

This review is a chance to share what we have learnt through our UK grant-making in the context of the challenges of Covid-19, and to tell some of the inspiring stories of the organisations and individuals we have supported.

To help us make the most of our learning in this time of change and consider what practice we might want to build on and embed, we commissioned the Institute for Voluntary Action Research (IVAR) to facilitate a process of reflection with our staff and trustees during the early summer of 2021. A summary of their findings is published here.

We would like to thank all the funded individuals and organisations featured in this review for their time, flexibility and thoughtfulness. We would also like to thank the IVAR team for developing the featured case studies.

We hope that by sharing our reflections on the past year, we can improve our own practice, make the most of the opportunities that have emerged and contribute to conversations about the role of civil society and that of funders in creating a future grounded in social justice.

Moira Sinclair, Chief Executive

Our year in numbers

We received 1,231 applications requesting a total of £67 million and made 1,219 final decisions of which 63% were approvals.

Click on the circles to find out more

Covid Response Fund

Total number of grants 433

Total value of grants £12.5m

Where the grants go

Many of our grants support work in multiple regions or countries.

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UK wide (in all 4 UK countries)
UK multi-country (in 2 or 3 UK countries)
England – multi-region
England – single region (excluding London)
England – single region (London)
Northern Ireland

Our year in summary

  • Blue information graphic Contextual UK milestones
  • Red information graphic PHF milestones

March 2020

WHO declares the virus a pandemic. Governments of the UK publish a coronavirus action plan which sets out a collective approach to the outbreak.

18 March 2020

PHF office closed; staff shifted to working from home

25 March 2020

PHF announces £1 million to National Emergencies Trust and London Community Response

1 April 2020

PHF makes first emergency response grants to support funded organisations. 23 awards made totalling £460,000

6 April 2020

PHF announces open application Funds are paused, to focus on supporting the organisations and communities we support to survive the pandemic, through the creation of a £20 million Emergency Fund

6 April 2020

PHF announces awards of up to £10,000 to every eligible visual artist and composer nominated for Awards for Artists – 113 awards totalling just over £1.1 million

30 April 2020

PHF has awarded 107 emergency grants totalling £3 million

May 2020

The UK’s declared death toll from coronavirus rises to more than 32,000, becoming the highest in Europe. First easing of lockdown in Northern Ireland

June 2020

Lockdown measures are eased in England, Scotland and Wales with children starting to return to school

30 June 2020

By the end of the first quarter PHF has awarded 208 emergency grants totalling £5.4 million

July 2020

People who test positive for coronavirus or display symptoms must now self-isolate for 10 days. The UK Government announces local restrictions for parts of the north of England

7 August 2020

PHF announces changes to open application funds and the reopening schedule for late October

September 2020

The Prime Minister warns that a second wave of coronavirus has arrived in the UK

28 September 2020

PHF announces Backbone Fund awards totalling £1.4 million to support civil society in the UK

30 September 2020

During the first half of the financial year, PHF has awarded 323 emergency grants totalling £9.4 million.

October 2020

Northern Ireland and Wales implement short term lockdowns

30 October 2020

PHF reopens main open funding programmes, with revised criteria and processes

November 2020

England enters new national four-week lockdown

11 November 2020

PHF contributed £500,000 to the DCMS Match Challenge Fund, with UK Youth distributing a total of £2 million to support small youth organisations.

23 November 2020

First grants awarded in the Arts Access and Participation, Arts-based Learning, Shared Ground and Youth Funds since re-opening

December 2020

England’s national lockdown comes to an end and is replaced by a strengthened three-tier system. The UK becomes the first country in the world to approve the coronavirus vaccines from Pfizer and BioNTech, and later Oxford and AstraZeneca, as the NHS launches its biggest ever vaccine campaign.

31 December 2020

By the end of the third quarter PHF has awarded 382 emergency grants totalling £11 million

January 2021

The PM announces a third national lockdown. The vaccine developed by Moderna is approved for use in the UK

February 2021

The UK PM announces a roadmap for easing lockdown restrictions in England and a phased return to schools begins in Wales

March 2021

Lockdown restrictions begin to ease.

31 March 2021

As the financial year closes, PHF has awarded 433 emergency grants totalling £12.5 million.

May 2021

The World Health Organisation classifies the delta variant as a variant of concern

12 May 2021

PHF commits £1 million to the Disasters Emergency Committee India Coronavirus Appeal