We received just under 70 applications from organisations across the UK in response to our most recent call, differing greatly in scope and making the process extremely competitive: we receive many more good applications than we can possibly fund. To make the process as fair as possible, at least two assessors score each application against an agreed set of criteria and then we rank them according to their scores.  Our expert Community Grants Committee then meet to discuss the applications in detail to calibrate the scores and ensure consensus.

The main criteria we use in the assessment are whether:

  • you’ve described clearly what you plan to achieve (outcomes and impacts) and thought about the risks
  • you’ve demonstrated evidence of need/demand and/or based your intervention on good practice
  • the plans for evaluation/information-sharing are clear and credible
  • there’s a clear, practical and achievable project plan
  • it’s value-for-money
  • you’ve set out how the services/benefits are to continue to be delivered after the grant funding has ended (sustainability).

We identified the following common issues in the last round of applications:

  • not researching the locality or beneficiary need to determine if there is a need and/or whether the proposed project would address that need. There were a number of projects which set out the need well, but the intervention proposed did not appear to be the right approach to address the need or was not evidenced well;
  • a lack of information on long-term viability or financial sustainability. It is important for applicants to show that they have thought about how they will go about achieving this;
  • a lack of clarity around exactly what the service or project would provide and/or the impact it would have on the beneficiaries;
  • a lack of evidence to support the proposed intervention. If a pilot has been carried out, tell us about its successes but also what you learned and what you’ll be doing differently as a result;
  • a lack of clarity between the proposed intervention and expected outcomes.  It’s really helpful if you can help us to understand what your project sets out to accomplish and the links between these expected outcomes and the activities you will be carrying out;
  • while the application was presented as a project, it was either not new or a repetition of something which had been previously funded with no discernible difference in scale or scope.

For the Building and Physical Infrastructure scheme in particular:

  • we need to be satisfied of the evidence of need. If you’ve consulted the local community, please tell us. Is this filling a gap in local provision? Letters of support from local organisations can be helpful as a way to demonstrate need;
  • we recommend that you show us in your project plan that you have considered any risks and have contingency plans to address them;
  • as the fund available for this scheme is relatively small, do please consider whether a grant from us is the most appropriate form of funding for your project. There were a number of worthy causes that were unsuccessful because alternative forms of finance appeared to be available.

You can read more about our schemes here: