Building and physical infrastructure grants for community-based organisations

We’ve spent the past few months reviewing our grant schemes and our application process and are now counting down to re-opening for new applications…

We will re-open to applications from community-based organisations to our project grants scheme  on 28th July, with a deadline of 29th September, 2017. The maximum amount for which you will be able to apply is £40k over 3 years.   There will be a single-stage application process, which will be managed via our new online Grants Management Portal.

We plan to send out notifications on 30th June to confirm that we have “gone live”.  At that point, you will be able to access details of the new schemes on the website.   The link to the application form will be made available when the project grants scheme opens on 28th July. If you haven’t left your contact details to receive this message, then please contact us via the contact form.

In the meantime, you can get “match fit” by reminding yourself of the basics of writing a good application. Our  grants team have provided their list of “ten top tips” for successful applications.

10 top tips for applicants for grants for community-based organisations

1. Make sure you’ve read about the Trust and our strategic priorities and eligibility criteria.  This may sound obvious, but it’s surprising how many applications we receive which fall outside of these.

2. Be clear about your vision and how you will achieve and sustain it. Organisations without a plan tend to be unsure of what they want to achieve and have last-minute scrabbles for funding. This is unlikely to provide future financial sustainability.  Think about what will happen when the funding comes to an end and consider how you will promote and protect the sustainability or legacy of the project.

3. We like to fund projects which have a clear need and/or are innovative.  We are looking for evidence that your project will not duplicate existing provision in your area/locality. Linked to this, we’re looking for how you will go about addressing an issue in a particularly creative or innovative way.  Simply stating that you need a new day centre or a volunteer co-ordinator is unlikely to be enough to be successful. You need to tell the story of how your project will tackle a problem in an effective way.

4. Show that you know what your community needs. Submitting an application without properly assessing community needs and finding out what you target groups want is one of the main gaps we see. You will need to prove that this need exists and demonstrate that you have undertaken relevant consultation/research. Don’t assume that simply knowing what the problems are will be enough.

5. Show how you have been gathering (or plan to gather) evidence of your impact. An annual report for your organisation is a good way of demonstrating your credibility and track record. Working with your local university, college or research agency on a longer term evaluation of your services is another great way of showing this commitment.

6. Show that you can build networks, communities of interest and consortia. Good relationships with mainstream agencies are important but with increasingly constrained public funding, developing partnerships and services with other voluntary and community groups in your area is important and will enhance your credibility if done well.

7. Ensure that your governance and financial management are working well.

8.  Think carefully about your budget.  Do not include any non-specific items, such as “contingency costs” or “miscellaneous”.

9. Allow yourself plenty of time for your application: everything takes longer than you think. Will you need input from your finance officer or sign-off from your Trustees? You will need to create an account on our Grants Management Portal to submit your application.  Check the deadlines and work back from there.

10. Assume that we are not familiar with your organisation. Often what you might think is perfectly clear may not be so clear to a new reader.  Ask someone not closely involved with the project to read your application before you submit it.  And don’t forget to proof read it.