Overview of the CAF Resilience Fund

The CAF Resilience Fund is a £40 million grant programme generously funded by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) and the insurance and long-term savings industry as part of the Covid-19 Support Fund.

Funding was split into two phases:

Phase one (2020-21)

During phase one, £20 million was distributed to 645 charitable organisations to help them survive. Many were adapting quickly to meet the changing needs of communities.

Phase two (2022-23)

Phase two was designed to support charitable organisations to deliver their services and help them to become more resilient.

The grants were targeted at three areas that had been disproportionately affected by the pandemic.

  • What we mean by resilience
    Resilience has been described as the ability of an organisation to survive and prosper. A highly resilient organisation is more adaptive, competitive, agile and robust than less resilient organisations and rebounds from adversity strengthened and more resourceful.

    However, there is no single, universal blueprint of resilience that applies equally to every organisation. For the purposes of this programme, we focused on six characteristics of resilience that were relevant to our previous work with a cohort of ten charities: purpose; awareness; effective leadership; well networked; financially and operationally fit; and impact.

    We supported organisations to undertake work in one or more of these areas to see how these characteristics impacted on the ability of each charity to recover quickly from setbacks and adapt to the changing environment in which they operate. 

What was different about this grant programme?

We wanted to ensure that the funding made a lasting impact. In phase two, we sought out charitable organisations that were making a real difference in communities that had been particularly affected by Covid-19, those that:

•    Support people living with a disability
•    Work with Black, Asian and minority ethnic communities
•    Encourage young adult reskilling for those aged 16 to 35 years

The organisations received main grants up to £350,000 to support service delivery, core-costs and resilience building in their organisation. They also received up to £20,000 to pay for external expertise to help them achieve their resilience goals.

We also ran a tailored support programme to bring together and support these charities as they make their journey to becoming more resilient organisations.

Community session at GOS&D, one of the 102 organisations supported during phase two.

The impact – in their own words

The programme has laid down the foundations for building resilience in almost all the 102 organisations we supported with 52% saying that they felt that the change had been transformational for their organisation.

Watch Doncaster Housing for Young People's (DHYP) journey

Doncaster Housing for Young People (DHYP) were one of the organisations who received support in phase two. Watch the video to discover what the programme has meant to them and the young people they help.

More stories of impact

Golden Opportunity Skills and Development (GOSAD): supporting BAME communities

Read how the CAF Resilience Fund helped GOSAD with their work to support youth employability in BAME communities.

The Churches Trust: supporting communities in Northern Ireland

Read how the CAF Resilience Fund helped The Churches Trust with their work to support youth work in Northern Ireland.

Disability Solutions West Midlands (DSWM): supporting people with disabilities

Read how the CAF Resilience Fund helped DSWM with their work to support people with disabilities in the West Midlands.

Our key learnings

During the process of designing, delivering and evaluating the impact of the CAF Resilience Fund we’ve learnt some valuable lessons. We hope they will help more charities to focus on their resilience and inspire other donors and funders to prioritise the approach we took.

Here’s a summary of the key learnings. You can read all our findings in the full impact report.

Short and long-term impact is possible

There can be quick wins with a relatively short-term funding programme (16 months) laying down the foundations for ongoing and longer-term resilience work.

It’s not just about the money

Whilst the grants were vital, our tailored support programme was the key to success for this resilience work.

A framework is necessary

Providing a resilience framework helped our funded organisations to define ambitions, shape priorities, plan work, hold themselves accountable and evidence change.

CAF Resilience Fund Sector Partners

CAF worked with sector partners to ensure the resilience funding got to where it was needed most in the three cause areas. Using their knowledge, contacts and expertise, these partners provided complementary granting to charities and community organisations to expand the reach and impact of the funds. Find out more about our sector partners.
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The funding for the CAF Resilience Fund has been jointly provided by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) Community Match Challenge funding scheme as part of the Government's £750 million coronavirus support package for charities along with matched funding from the Covid-19 Support Fund created by the insurance and long-term savings industry.