Grants

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.

Communities Fund, DCLG

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.

Communities Fund

Community Asset Fund, Sport England

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.

Community Asset Fund

Funding Central

Funding Central is a free website will help you search under particular themes. It will also keep you up to date with new opportunities tailored to your needs.

Funding Central

Association of Charitable Foundations (ACF)

The Association of Charitable Foundations is primarily an information and support organisation for grant-making trusts and foundations in the UK.

The Association of Charitable Foundations

Directory for Social Change

The Directory for Social Change produce several pay to register search engines which provides access to a wide range of funders including trusts, government funds, company giving and grants for individuals. Please find the links to these sources below.

Directory of Social Change

Funding Information

Funding Information is an online pay-to-register website with a database of grants, contracts and loans from charitable trusts and foundations, Government, National Lottery, Europe and companies Funding is available to social enterprises; charities; voluntary and community organisations; social businesses; cooperatives/mutuals; un-constituted community groups.

Funding Information

Grants Online

Grants Online is a comprehensive funding information service. It provides information on grant funding opportunities from the European Union, UK Government Agencies, the Lottery as well as Grant making Trusts and Foundations.

Grants Online

J4bgrants

J4bgrants is a free-to-register website with a database of European, UK Government and other sources of grant funding. The site is available to:

  • social enterprises
  • charities
  • voluntary and community organisations
  • social businesses
  • cooperatives/mutuals
  • unconstituted community groups.
J4bgrants

Big Lottery Fund

Big Lottery Fund offers grants to community and voluntary groups and charities from £300 to more than £500,000. They also make available information to identify the most suitable funding programme for different types of projects.

Big Lottery Fund

Power to Change

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.

Power to Change

Awards for All, Big Lottery Fund

Awards for All gives groups a quick and easy way to get small Lottery grants of between £300 and £10,000. They want to fund projects which address the issues, needs and aspirations of local communities and people.

Awards for All

Big Assist Programme, Big Lottery Fund and NCVO

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.

Big Assist Programme

Reaching Communities, Big Lottery Fund

Reaching Communities funding is for projects that help people and communities most in need. Grants are available from £10,000 upwards and funding can last for up to five years. They can fund salaries, running costs and can contribute towards core costs and equipment.

Reaching Communities

Heritage Lottery Fund

For heritage building projects, investigate the Heritage Lottery Fund. The Heritage Lottery Fund provides grants to help sustain the country’s heritage – from museums and historic places to archaeology, natural environment and cultural traditions.

Heritage Lottery Fund

Sport England

Sport England focuses investment on organisations and projects that will grow and sustain participation in grassroots sports, create opportunities for young people to excel in sport and support local authorities to unlock local funding.

Sport England

Arts Council

The Arts Council England is the national development agency for the arts in England, distributing public money from the Government and the National Lottery.

For further information about Big Lottery Funding please see the lottery funding finder by clicking on the link below.

Arts Council

Biffa Award

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.

Biffa Award

The Coalfield Regeneration Trust

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.

http://www.coalfields-regen.org.uk/

Community Foundations

Community Foundations are one of the UK’s biggest non-statutory community grant-makers. UK Community Foundations manage funds donated by both individuals and organisations. You can find your nearest community foundation through the Community Foundation Network website.

Community Foundations

Esmée Fairbairn Foundation

The Esmée Fairbairn Foundation is one of the largest independent grant-making foundations in the UK. Their aim is to improve the quality of life for people and communities in the UK both now and in the future.

Esmée Fairbairn Foundation

Ernst Trust

Ernst Trust gives grants to registered charities, schools and not for profit organisations wishing to encourage young people’s interest in the country, the environment, the arts, or aiming to raise levels of literacy and numeracy.

Ernst Trust

Football Foundation

The Football Foundation provides grants and funding, to deliver programmes for new and improved community sports facilities in towns and cities across the country.

Football Foundation

Hilton in the Community Foundation

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.

Hilton in the Community Foundation

Nesta

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.

Nesta

Lloyds Bank Foundation

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.

Lloyds Bank Foundation

Rural Community Energy Fund

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.

Rural Community Energy Fund

SUEZ Communities Trust

SUEZ Communities Trust supports community and environmental improvement projects through the Landfill Communities Fund and Scottish Landfill Communities Fund.

SUEZ Communities Trust

Skills and Opportunities Fund – RBS

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.

Skills and Opportunities Fund – RBS

Social Investment Business

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.

Social Investment Business

The Tudor Trust

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 Tudor Trust

Veolia Environmental Trust

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.

Veolia Environmental Trust

Tesco Bags Of Help

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.

Tesco Bags Of Help

Greggs Foundation

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.

Greggs Foundation

People’s Postcode Trust

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.

People’s Postcode Trust