About this good practice
In 2020, the Irish Government through its Department of Rural and Community Development established the Covid-19 Stability Fund for Community and Voluntary, Charity and Social Enterprises. Working in collaboration with the Department of Health and the Department for Children, Disability, Equality and Integration, funding of €45 million was made available through the Dormant Accounts Fund to support close to 600 non-profit organisations to continue delivering critical services to the most vulnerable in Irelands communities, despite the challenges brought by Covid-19.
Following the realisation that Covid-19 was a pandemic, emergency measures were introduced in Ireland to effectively shut down all but the most necessary activity in society. This was a major challenge to the entire societal infrastructure necessitating financial life support to ensure that the structures were there when society could open up again. Different sectors in the economy required responses tailored to their needs with most requiring financial support to compensate for substantial loss of revenue and to retain employees. The Covid-19 Stability Fund was designed and established to meet the needs of the community and voluntary sector including social enterprises. Without this support most of the enterprises would be forced to cease operations and most likely not reopen again.
The Irish Government through its grant management agency Pobal invited applications from organisations in the Community, Voluntary sector. Following this process a sum of €48.6m was awarded where in 2020 596 organisations benefited €41,432,278, in 2021 267 organisations benefited €7,190,501.
Evidence of success
A total of €48.6m was paid out to 863 organisations ranging from €2000 to €290,500 who were hit with short term cash flow issues arising because of the Covid Pandemic. This meant that these organisations were able to survive and continue to provide vital services during the Pandemic and to return to normal activity once restrictions were lifted.
Potential for learning or transfer
The Covid-19 Stability Fund was an emergency measure to respond to specific needs in a national crisis.
It was a targeted intervention, delivered speedily with minimal bureaucracy.
It had immediate impact by ensuring the survival of organisations and the uninterrupted delivery of essential services.
The legal framework by which it was established and delivered can serve as a template for future emergency interventions.