Community grants

Grants are an important form of funding that enable voluntary and community groups to provide services that make a difference to communities and people's lives. You don't need to be registered as a charity to apply for funding, but you must be a not-for-profit organisation.  

Applying for a grant

A good starting point before applying for a grant is to do some business planning, whatever size your organisation is, to identify what funding you need and for what purpose.  It may be to sustain your organisation, to grow and develop, or to run a specific project.  

You'll need to be able to demonstrate to funding bodies how the money will help your organisation to develop and also about your plans for sustainability when the grant's ended - this is often called an 'exit strategy'.

Four main stages in applying for funding

  1. Preparation: drawing up your strategy
  2. Application: there's more to this than filling in a form; find out as much as possible about the funding body as you can. See the links below to websites of some of the main grant giving organisations.  Look at the kind of projects they've funded recently.
  3. Receipt: when you've sent your application, you'll usually get a letter that sets out what the funding body expects in return for the grant, and any conditions attached.
  4. Project delivery: most funders will require monitoring information to show them how you're spending the grant, so make sure you've set up a monitoring framework as part of your project.

The South Yorkshire Funding Advice Bureau has published some useful information sheets to guide you through the process of applying for funding:

Organisations offering support and advice

The following organisations provide support to voluntary and community groups on funding, capacity building and a range of other matters:

  • Voluntary Action Barnsley provides its member groups with a full range of services from start up advice, recruitment of volunteers, HR management, accountancy and payroll through to training.

  • South Yorkshire Funding Advice Bureau helps voluntary and community organisations to get the funding they need. They provide advice, information and training to help South Yorkshire organisations develop their fundraising knowledge, skills and confidence.

  • Barnsley Volunteer Centre is quality accredited by Volunteering England to offer brokerage services to the public, who want to volunteer and give advice and support to develop non profit making organisations and charities wishing to involve volunteers.

  • Enterprising Barnsley works directly with local businesses to  provide a range of services including HR, recruitment, financing, franchising, green energy, inward investment and business development.

  • Funding Central is a free website for charities, voluntary organisations and social enterprises, providing access to thousands of funding and finance opportunities, plus resources, so you can develop sustainable income strategies appropriate to your needs.

  • National Council for Voluntary Organisations is the main organising body for the voluntary and community sector in England. 

  • National Association for Voluntary and Community Action provides information to support local voluntary and community action.

  • The Charity Commission registers and regulates charities in England and Wales.

How we can help

With over 8,000 grant giving bodies in the UK, working out which funding to apply for can seem like a daunting process.

We can help your voluntary/community group find and apply for grants or other funding and advise you on how to set up your project monitoring. 

Grant giving organisations

These organisations provide support and grants to voluntary and community groups; visit Funding Central to search for other funders. 

Web links

Alcohol Education and Research Council (a charity that tackles alcohol related harm by funding community projects) Coalfields Regeneration Trust (grants to improve the qualify of life in former mining communities) European Social Fund (grants of up to £15,000 to support activities that engage people in hard to reach communities) Lloyds TSB Foundation (community programme for investment and enabling)
Allen Lane Foundation (supports general charitable causes) Commission for Rural communities (funding for schemes to improve the environment) Foyle Foundation (grants for charities for projects supporting arts and learning) Nationwide Foundation (grants and social investments to help people with housing needs)
Arts Council England (funds art activities that engage people in arts) Community Development Foundation (CDF) (the leading national organisation in community development and engagement) Glass House Community Led Design (supports public involvement in designing the built environment) Prince's Trust - (England & Wales) (development grants to help people access learning, training or employment)
Awards for all (a lottery grants programme that funds small, community-based projects) Daiwa Anglo-Japanese Foundation (small grants and awards for arts) Government Funding (funding finder that searches 16 central government departments as well as European and regional sources) Ron Pickering Memorial Fund (funding for sports groups and scholarships)
Barrow Cadbury (committed to bringing about socially just change) East Peak Innovation Partnership (covering Penistone, North Sheffield and Denby Dale, offers grants for community-led rural development) Green Flag Award (Keep Britain Tidy grants for projects) SITA Trust (supports community and environmental improvements projects)
Big Lottery Fund (gives grants to organisations ranging from small local groups to major national charities) Energy Saving Trust (help for community schemes to set up community energy projects) Groundswell (homelessness and social exclusion grants) South Yorkshire Community Foundation (grants for groups that help to improve lives in communities)
Black Environment Network (provides grants to enable ethnic participation in communities) English Heritage (find a volunteering opportunity at a site near you) Henry Smith Charity (grants for groups supporting carers, vulnerable adults and disadvantaged groups) The Architectural Heritage Fund (funding for rescuing neglected buildings and using them as community resources)
British Council (grants for study, travel and work either abroad or in the UK) Ernest Cook Trust (grants for charities to benefit children and young people) Hilden Charitable Fund (homelessness, refugee and other community grants) The Cooperative Charitable Foundation (support for community groups and joint working to improve communities)
Britten Pear Foundation (grants for music) Esmee Fairbairn Foundation (social investments and grants for arts and projects for young people) Joseph Rowntree Charitable Trust (a Quaker Trust funding charitable work on equality and justice) The Garfield Weston Foundation (supports charities with arts, youth, community, health and environment projects)
Cabinet Office (a range of funding opportunities for groups and organisations) European Commission (funding for a range of projects) Kings Fund (funding for health care projects) The Royal Society (grants for science, education and industry)
Church Urban Fund (grants to reduce poverty and break down social barriers) European Cultural Foundation (grants to maximise the impact of culture) Lankelly Chase Foundation (grants for projects on homelessness, substance misuse, mental illness or domestic abuse) Tree Council (supports projects to get people involved in conservation)
Clore Duffield Foundation (funding for cultural learning, arts and heritage and social care) European Investment Fund (provides risk finance to small and medium sized enterprises) Lennox and Wyfold Foundation (grants for a wide range of charitable causes)  Voluntary Action Barnsley (helps with all aspects of running a voluntary or community organisation)