We re-opened today for new community project and building grant applications.

We are currently receiving over 90 applications per round for our project grant scheme and cannot stress enough that this is an extremely competitive process. You might meet the brief and pass our eligibility criteria, but with demand so high, it’s just not possible to fund all good applications and applications are therefore ranked.

Your application will be reviewed against our Grant Making policy and assessed on whether it meets our eligibility criteria and strategic priorities. Your application must be for a time-limited project, which focuses on the development of care and support services for older people and is based on evidence of demand for a service and best practice in its delivery (or testing a new and innovative method of delivery or a new service) and which can become sustainable within a planned period. We support the concept full cost recovery for projects so do please note that we will make a contribution towards the project’s overheads (such as the salary costs of a key member of staff and/or any associated IT, marketing costs etc. required to carry out the project). We’ll be releasing a blog piece with guidance on developing a full cost recovery model, if you don’t already have one.

Your application will be reviewed against the following criteria by our Community Grants Committee:

  • Clear articulation of what you plan for the project to achieve
  • Demonstration of evidence of need/demand, based on good practice
  • Clarity and credibility of plans for evaluation/information sharing
  • Clear, practical and achievable project plan
  • Value-for-money
  • Sets out how benefits are to continue to be delivered after the end of the project (sustainability)

Some of the common, generic issues we observed in the last round were:

  • Be realistic about what you can achieve, particularly if you are only applying for one year’s funding.
  • If you are proposing to run a service for older people from their 60s up to their 90s, it is unlikely that everyone will want or like the same things. Tell us how you will address this.
  • If your project is reliant on volunteers delivering the service, tell us what training and ongoing support volunteers will receive. How will you recruit volunteers and what experience have you had in doing so?
  • Are you the right organisation to be providing the service you are proposing? Have you looked at the local landscape and researched what other charities are doing? Tell us why you think you are the best placed organisation? For example, if you are looking to support older carers, do Carers UK provide this support already? If you are going to provide something different, tell us how your service is different. Even if they don’t provide what you are intending, it would most likely be worth linking up with them, as they are the national Carers charity.
  • Think about what will happen when the project comes to an end. Tell us how you have considered the long-term sustainability of the project.

For the building and physical infrastructure scheme, in particular:

  • Evidence the need for this new building/refurbishment. Have you consulted the local community, in particular, the older community? Is this filling a gap in local provision? If applicable, letters of support from local organisations/charities should be uploaded to demonstrate need.
  • Don’t assume that we know the local environment. Tell us what the situation is and how this new building/ refurbishment is going to enhance the local area.
  • Consider longer term revenue funding needed to support the project. How are you going to ensure this new/refurbished building is a success? Tell us your plans for securing financial sustainability.

Also available to read: