What is a grant?
Grants are non-repayable funds that enable voluntary and community organisations to provide services or activities.
There are over 4,000 grant funders in the UK, and the process is highly competitive.
Grants are ideal for supporting research and development, building capacity or for new activities which over time could become self-financing. They are also widely used for projects and to cover the core operating costs of voluntary and community organisations such as salaries and overheads.
Challenges of grants:
- Short-term nature: grants rarely last longer than three years, so if you intend to your project to continue you must have a strategy for the longer term.
- Specifications: many funders have specific priorities for types of activity they want to fund.
- Oversubscribed funding: the total amount of grant funding received by the voluntary and community sector has fallen in recent years and is likely to fall further, coupled with more organisations looking for funding equals greater competition.
- Time: it takes time to submit an application and receive a response – on average, from two to six months, depending on the funder and the scale of the grant.
- Overheads: grants funders generally do not fund day-to-day running costs and it can be hard to secure the true costs of running a project from a grant-giver.
List of grant funders
This list provides a number of different grants available for communities, and also provides a list of some key search engines to keep up to date with all the latest grants available.
Funding for projects that bring together the community and local authorities to design and implement services in partnership.
£2.5m is available for partnerships between community groups and local authorities to support projects to develop local solutions in specific neighbourhoods, or across a greater area, or even across a local authority or service delivery boundaries.
This fund is being administered by DCLG – all enquiries and funding information is available on the DCLG website below.
Sports clubs and community organisations can apply for investment from Sport England’s Community Asset Fund – the capital fund dedicated to enhancing the spaces in your local community that give people the opportunity to be active.
As well as traditional sports facilities where people enjoy physical activity, there are thousands of outdoor spaces up and down the country – like canal towpaths, woodlands and open spaces – all with great potential to be used and enjoyed as part of an active lifestyle.
Sport England are keen to hear from any sports club or community organisation with a great idea that will make a difference to the places where people play sport and get active.
Independent trust Power to Change offers business development support and grants for new and existing community businesses in England.
If you are looking to start or grow your community-owned and run business, connect with other locally-rooted community businesses for advice and learn precious skills to make your business accountable to local people, sustainable and successful, Power to Change can guide you on your community business journey.
The Big Assist Programme is for voluntary sector infrastructure organisations In England. This is a partnership between the Big Lottery Fund and NCVO. If you are an infrastructure organisation looking to meet the changing environment and seeking to adapt the way you operate, this could help you.
Biffa Award helps to build communities by supporting projects that will be of lasting environmental benefit, increase or maintain biodiversity, improve quality of life and foster vibrant communities. They provide grants that provide and improve public amenities for communities within 10 miles of a Biffa operation through the Landfill Communities Fund.
The Coalfield Regeneration Trust is dedicated to improving the quality of life in Britain’s former mining communities. They lead the way in coalfield regeneration and aim to fund projects that are seeking to tackle a number of issues including geographical isolation, and exclusion from services.
The Football Foundation provides grants and funding, to deliver programmes for new and improved community sports facilities in towns and cities across the country.
Hilton in the Community Foundation focuses on children and young people, the foundation works to improve the quality of education and the provision of health care to relieve suffering and equip individuals. Through targeted grant allocation the foundation supports the smaller charities that might otherwise be overlooked.
Nesta runs a number of funding programmes to include the Nesta Impact Investments. A £25 million fund investing in life-changing innovations that help tackle the major challenges faced by older people, children and communities in the UK.
Two Lloyds Bank Foundation funding programmes invest in charities supporting people to break out of disadvantage at critical points in their lives, and promote practical approaches to lasting change.
INVEST – A flexible, long term core funding programme for organisations delivering clear, targeted outcomes for disadvantaged people.
ENABLE – A smaller and shorter grants programme for organisations that have identified clear development needs.
The Rural Community Energy Fund (RCEF) is a £15 million programme, jointly funded by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) and the Department of Energy & Climate Change (DECC). It supports rural communities in England to develop renewable energy projects which provide economic and social benefits to the community.
SUEZ Communities Trust supports community and environmental improvement projects through the Landfill Communities Fund and Scottish Landfill Communities Fund.
RBS’s Skills and Opportunities Fund is offering a pool of £2.5m to fund projects in charities, social enterprises, community groups, state-funded schools and colleges across the UK and Ireland. The purpose of this funding is to support organisations that help people in disadvantaged communities develop, create or access the skills and opportunities they need to help themselves; skills that will enable them to get into work or start a business, now or in the future.
The Social Investment Business raises and connects capital to achieve the maximum possible social impact in the UK. They work to provide simple finance for extraordinary charities and social enterprises in the form of loans, grants and other investment products.
The Tudor Trust is an independent grant making trust supporting both voluntary and community groups working in the UK. They support smaller, community-led organisations which work directly with people who are at the margins of society.
The Veolia Trust supports a wide range of community and environmental projects throughout the UK. The Trust funds projects that come under specific categories of the Landfill Communities Fund.
The money raised from the 5p bag charge in Tesco stores in England, Wales and Scotland is being used to pay for a large number of local projects to improve green spaces in communities.
Bags of Help grant scheme, which is managed by Groundwork, awards grants each year in around 400 Tesco regions. In total the Bags of Help programme supports thousands of projects each year.
The Greggs Foundation is a grant making trust, distributing around £1.8 million per year to charitable organisations throughout England, Scotland and Wales.
Their Local Community Projects Fund makes small grants of up to £2,000 to help organisations based in local communities to deliver activities that they wouldn’t otherwise be able to.
People’s Postcode Trust exists to try to make the world a better place through short-term, designated funding for projects that focus on the prevention of poverty, support healthy living initiatives and uphold human rights for some of society’s most vulnerable groups. It will also consider projects which help different communities come together for the benefit of their local area.