Sharing insights from our Covid-19 Resilience Fund

An independent evaluation of our Covid-19 Resilience Fund by the Centre for Responsible Credit has been published today.

The report found the Fund met its key objectives, showed best practice in Fund design and was an overall success. It also highlighted potential lessons for future programmes.

We launched our Covid-19 Resilience Fund in April 2020, within a month of the first lockdown hitting. It was designed at speed in consultation with key stakeholders to help identify the risks of the pandemic to community finance providers and people in vulnerable circumstances.

The Fund provided £3.9m to 31 community finance organisations, who collectively lent over £138m in the last year before Covid-19 and serve 136,000 customers.

  • Our grants helped preserve c50% of lending capacity targeted at people in vulnerable circumstances
  • From April 2020 to April 2021 cumulative surpluses for grant recipients were £1.5m. Without the Fund cumulative losses would have been £2.3m over the same period
  • Several indicators show that lending to customers in vulnerable circumstances recovered swiftly after an initial shock and that this lending has since been sustained

To accompany the evaluation we’re publishing a summary report that captures what went well, what we learned and how grantees used the funding to make an impact. We think it really shines a light on the tremendous work community finance providers are doing to help people in vulnerable circumstances.

We’re also holding a webinar for community finance providers on Tuesday 22 February from 12 to 1pm. We’ll share insights from both reports, hear more about how providers used the funding and talk through our plans to further support the community finance sector.

Damon Gibbons, Executive Director at the Centre for Responsible Credit said:

‘Our evaluation found the Covid-19 Resilience Fund’s key objectives have clearly been met and Fair4All Finance acted both extremely rapidly and with clear strategic intent.

‘The Fund enabled lenders to swiftly pivot their business models to incorporate digital and telephony into their delivery. Without this funding there would likely have been very significant disruptions to lending.

‘While there are some potential lessons for future programmes the Fund demonstrated considerable best practice and was an overall success.’

Sacha Romanovitch OBE, CEO of Fair4All Finance said:

‘We’re pleased this independent evaluation of the Fund showed it was used effectively and met its two key objectives. We also welcome and take on board the learnings identified.

‘Community finance providers play an important role in serving people in vulnerable circumstances and we know the sector isn’t out of the woods yet.

‘We remain committed to supporting the sector to sustain and grow the provision of affordable credit as part of our wider mission. We also encourage other funders and stakeholders to join us in providing or supporting long term funding and investment to scale up this important work.’

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