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Funding guidance

If you cannot find the answer to your question below, please get in touch.

Q: What does a strong community grant application look like?

A: Strong applications will demonstrate:

  • How your project will meet one or more of our priorities
  • How your project will demonstrate its outcomes - what indicators will be used?
  • An active consideration of other means of funding like match funding, in-kind support other funders, income generation
  • A clear consideration of sustainability, what will happen after the funding period?
  • How your VCFSE organisation and your project has engaged with the community
  • A budget that is clearly broken down into its component parts
  • A consideration of collaboration and joined-up working. This creates better outcomes for people, efficiencies and a better chance of sustainability. Who else out there is doing similar work? 

When writing your community grant application, be clear and assume that someone reading the application has no background knowledge of your organisation and project. Avoid using jargon and unclear acronyms that are sector-specific. 


Q: Do all applicants need to demonstrate future sustainability?

A: In the main, yes. This can be achieved in several ways:

  • Sustainability through income generation, partnership working, building relationships
  • A clear indication of actual applications or intention of applying to other funders to diversify income streams
  • Building case for support and evidence to enable strategic discussions with the relevant public sector partners like CCG, LA, PCC 
  • At the very least, applicants should demonstrate that they are pursuing a ‘mixed funding’ model, like one that doesn’t solely rely on our funding going forward. This could include a membership model or a way beneficiaries donate a small amount of money over the year
  • It might not be funding generation that can lead to sustainability. There may be a focus on growing the volunteering base to continue activities or securing a venue to work from at better rates. Any efforts that can be shown to demonstrate any additionality from a previous request is favourably considered

Repeat funding will be considered on a case-by-case basis and require a clear demonstration of sustainability options that have been pursued.


Q: Will you fund core costs?

A:Yes -provided your work meets our priorities. Core costs are related to running an organisation or project and include salaries, overheads, and day-to-day running costs. We recognise that core costs are incurred in the delivery of good services. The costs incurred need to be suitably broken down within the budget section of the application form.

Core costs can include:

  • Management – costs associated with governance; user engagement; consultation; monitoring & evaluation, required to deliver the project
  • Research and development – innovation / developing new ideas; quality assurance; staff training/development
  • Support services – phone; IT; finance and audit; marketing; premises; travel and subsistence including volunteers

Any overheads should be proportionate to the project itself. For national organisations we will not cover head office-related overheads. If you are applying for core costs, you need to be able to demonstrate your plans to diversify income streams to consider ways this could be funded in future.


Q: Will you fund construction capital costs?

  • Construction (capital) costs will be considered on a case-by-case basis, considering the impact of the project based on our priorities and match funding and future sustainability 
  • Depending on our stake in the build, we may specify using local builders and inclusion of an offer work experience or apprenticeships. However, this would be proportionate to the size of the grant. For example, if we were a smaller funder in a wider bid, while we’d express a preference to use local builders we would not make this a prerequisite of funding. However, if we were the majority funder, we may do. 
  • Any application related to construction costs will need to be supported by a comprehensive future sustainability model 
  • If we have invested in construction costs, we will not consider future applications by the same project or organisation for future running costs 
  • Environmental sustainability is important, and there would be an expectation to build sensitively and sustainably according to legislation 
  • Upon submitting stage two of a large grant for construction costs, the applicant is asked to provide:
    • - Confirmation of match funding for the build
    • - A business plan
    • - At least three recent and signed letters of support from direct beneficiaries
    • - Evidence of community consultation i.e. results of consultations or surveys
    • - Schedule of occupancy/activity for example existing regular groups using the facility, average user numbers per group and frequency of each group activity
    • - Site plans or drawings of the facility


Q: Are there any items you don’t fund?

A: We will not fund:

  • Activities that have already happened
  • Activities run by a company limited by shares
  • Anything that promotes or advances religion
  • Anything that promotes or advances a political stance
  • Projects linked to animal welfare
  • Travel abroad
  • Activities that benefit one individual
  • Activity or services which the government national or local is obliged to pay for by law
  • Contributions towards general fundraising appeals


Q: Can the applicant receive a wage from their application?

A: Yes though we’d look to ensure that the wage was proportionate to the overall grant and in line with similar roles. For bigger VCFSE organisations and grants, we need assurance that salary benchmarking has been completed.


Q: What is your approach to repeat funding?

A: Grants can be made over one or two years

We understand tackling deep-rooted problems takes time, so we may sometimes fund over a longer period. However, our interest in supporting work in the longer term has to be balanced against our need to encourage new groups and new thinking. This means our funding can’t continue indefinitely. 

Repeat funding will be considered on a case-by-case basis. Any community grant application for repeat funding needs to include a robust evaluation of the work funded previously, analysis of the continuing or perhaps changing the need to support the application, and a clear demonstration of sustainability options that have been pursued. 


Q: Can I have more than one grant at the same time in a year?

A: You can have up to two grants running simultaneously and receive two grants within one year.


Q: Can I get any help completing my community grant application?

A:Yes, absolutely. We have dedicated Capacity Builders who can support you in completing your application. They work on an area basis, so please get in touch, and we will connect you with the Capacity Builder for your area.


Q: Can I get a word copy of the application form to work on?

A: Please email us to request a word copy of the application form.

You will still need to submit your final application online, but if you prefer to work from a word document, we can provide you with this. 


Q: If I have been previously unsuccessful, can I reapply?

A: You cannot reapply with the exact same application – you will receive the same response. 

You will have received feedback from us regarding the outcome of your application. In some cases, you may be able to adhere to the feedback, improve your application and reapply for the same project, in which case we advise you to work with a Capacity Builder on your reapplication. 

If you are applying for a new or different community project and it is eligible for our funding, you can apply again to our fund.