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National Emergencies Trust to expand work after NTU evaluation of Coronavirus Appeal

The National Emergencies Trust has announced it will expand its work with expert partners as an independent evaluation by researchers at Nottingham Trent University reveals that its fast-growing network enabled the £99+million Coronavirus Appeal to reach an estimated 13 million people during the pandemic.

Women in a donation centre handing over a box while wearing a mask
The Trust will expand and evolve its network of trusted partners

The evaluation, which was carried out over 18 months and funded by Economic and Social Research Council, highlights how a layered ‘Network of Giving’ that included distribution partners, local infrastructure organisations, and larger and smaller VCSOs, proved ‘vital’ in reaching those with unmet needs.

The report points to the positive impact of trust within the Network of Giving. It found that distribution partners were trusted to use funding where most appropriate in supporting their communities, while those using funding to on-grant to VCSOs could pass on flexible criteria, enabling VCSOs to feel trusted to use funds as appropriate. It recommends that the Trust now widen its networks further to encompass more organisations with expertise in supporting placed-based or needs-based communities.

Rowena Hill, Professor of Psychology at NTU’s School of Social Sciences, said: “A stand-out success of the Coronavirus Appeal was the trust-based approach to funding through the Network of Giving. Community foundations, via UKCF, and latterly national charity partners were empowered to apply their lived and local expertise to direct funding in the most appropriate way. In future UK emergencies, pre-existing relationships will be paramount to ensure timely funding can be distributed confidently, especially during shorter disasters.”

Last year the National Emergencies Trust announced the launch of its National Charitable Partners Programme, which welcomed the British Red Cross, Cruse Bereavement Support, MIND and Victim Support as initial pilot partners. In response to the findings, the charity is now expanding the programme to encompass further expertise in:

  • The Gypsies, Roma and Travellers Community
  • Communities experiencing racial inequality
  • Disaster and rapid response
  • Trauma and mental health needs for children and young people
  • Faith communities

The Trust will also be expanding the way it works with partners and beneficiaries to harness their full expertise. It will work closely with UKCF and its network of 47 community foundations to develop processes for grassroots intelligence-sharing during appeals. It will also explore ways to share responsibility for identifying unmet needs with members of its partner network, Survivors Advisory Forum and Equity Scrutiny Group during future Appeals.

Mhairi Sharp, CEO of the National Emergencies Trust, said: “After the tragic Grenfell Tower fire and terror attacks in 2017 the Charity Commission proposed an independent charity be set up to collaborate with the charity sector during UK emergencies. The idea was that, by working together, the sector could ensure funds reach survivors fast and fairly. Nottingham Trent’s evaluation of the Coronavirus Appeal proves this collaborative, trust-based approach works. Community foundations harnessed local insight and networks to award more than 14,000 grants to grassroots groups while national charity partners identified and honed-in on unmet needs. The job for us now is to refine the model further, ensuring that our growing network of experts can play fully to their unique strengths.”

The Trust announced its future plans at an event which saw researchers from Nottingham Trent University present findings from the Coronavirus Appeal evaluation for the first time. The Learning Together: From pandemic to future preparedness event brought together funders, disaster response experts, academics and survivor groups to share insights from their pandemic experiences and suggestions for future emergency preparedness. The conversations will be collated into a post-event report that will be made publicly available.

Read the full Nottingham Trent University evaluation report online

  • Notes for editors

    Press enquiries please contact Helen Breese, Public Relations Manager, on telephone +44 (0)115 848 8751, or via email.

    Or call Louise Vaughan (07779 220487) or Anneka Bhardwaj (07599 439768) at National Emergencies Trust, or contact via email 

    About the National Emergencies Trust

    The National Emergencies Trust is a charity set up to raise funds from the general public in the event of UK disasters such as floods, acts of terror and major accidents. When a disaster occurs, the National Emergencies Trust collaborates with charities and other bodies to raise and distribute money to support those affected. Its most recent appeal, the Coronavirus Appeal raised more than £99million for those affected by the pandemic.

    Visit to find out more.

    To receive a copy of the post-event write-up subscribe to the National Emergencies Trust’s newsletter. To find out more about the Trust’s National Charitable Partners Programme or to put forward an expression of interest email Grants Manager Philee Ang-Chen.

    About Nottingham Trent University

    Nottingham Trent University (NTU) received the Queen’s Anniversary Prize for Higher and Further Education in 2021 for cultural heritage science research. It is the second time that NTU has been bestowed the honour of receiving a Queen’s Anniversary Prize for its research, the first being in 2015 for leading-edge research on the safety and security of global citizens.

    The Research Excellence Framework (2021) classed 83% of NTU’s research activity as either world-leading or internationally excellent. 86% of NTU’s research impact was assessed to be either world-leading or internationally excellent.

    NTU was awarded The Times and The Sunday Times Modern University of the Year 2023 and ranked second best university in the UK in the Uni Compare Top 100 rankings (2021/2022). It was awarded Outstanding Support for Students 2020 (Times Higher Education Awards), University of the Year 2019 (Guardian University Awards, UK Social Mobility Awards), Modern University of the Year 2018 (Times and Sunday Times Good University Guide) and University of the Year 2017 (Times Higher Education Awards).

    NTU is the 5th largest UK institution by student numbers, with nearly 39,000 students and more than 4,400 staff located across five campuses. It has an international student population of 7,000 and an NTU community representing over 160 countries.

    Since 2000, NTU has invested £570 million in tools, technology, buildings and facilities.

    NTU is in the UK’s top 10 for number of applications and ranked first for accepted offers (2021 UCAS UG acceptance data). It is also among the UK’s top five recruiters of students from disadvantaged backgrounds and was the first UK university to sign the Social Mobility Pledge.

    NTU is ranked 4th most sustainable university in the world and 1st in the UK for sustainability-themed Education and Research in the 2021 UI Green Metric University World Rankings (out of more than 900 participating universities).

National Emergencies Trust to expand work after NTU evaluation of Coronavirus Appeal

Published on 30 September 2022
  • Category: Press office; Research; School of Social Sciences

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