Grants for community-based organisations

Following our review of our Community Grants programme, we have decided to make some changes.

The challenge

Our annual awards budget for our Community project and building grants scheme is £0.5M – not insignificant, we know, but still relatively small given the demands on it.  We were regularly receiving in excess of 100 applications each time we opened.  With funding for only four or five projects per application round, it meant that the success rates were well below 10% and we did not think this was fair on the many applicants who had spent a good deal of time making good applications to us but we had to reject owing to the budget constraints.

What we’ve decided to do

Some of the innovative special initiatives we’ve been privileged to participate in during the last two or three years have taught us a lot about the wider support needed from funders to go alongside the money and about the networks, covening power and access to capabilities our position gives us.

We do wish to maintain our dual role in providing funding for both academic and clinical research and high quality community-based initiatives within the scope of or charitable objectives. We are only a small team though (we try to keep our overheads low so that we can distribute as much of our available funding as possible) and this means we need to be practical about how much of this additional support we are realistically able to provide.

We have therefore decided to focus our resources for the next plan period on just two or three programmes which have the potential for demonstrating good practice, contributing to achieving systemic change and developing an evidence base.

The first of these will be an exciting new £1M programme across England* to promote young people’s engagement with care homes for older people through My Home Life’s Care Home Friends & Neighbours framework and we will be administering grants on behalf of the #iwill Fund.  We have become the latest match funder with the National Lottery Community Fund (enabling us to double our community support budget) to enable us to do this.

The programme was formally launched in early 2020 and two grants have been awarded to the pilot areas – The Linking Network in Bradford and Alive Activities in Bristol.  In October the programme will roll out into 10 other areas.

Why the #iwill programme?

We are well aware that the #iwill Campaign focuses on youth social action.  Our thinking was two-fold.

Firstly, the#iwill Campaign aims to form a habit for life in young people to volunteer and become involved in community action.  There has been a lot of emphasis of late in the research on the benefits to older people of volunteering. Impact on the physical health of older people receives particular attention, as it does in research into the effects on mental health and wellbeing. Several studies suggest that volunteering can help protect against cognitive ageing, all of which are entirely consistent with our objectives.  So by supporting today’s young people to develop such a habit, we aim to give them the tools to give them a better chance of a healthier later life.

Secondly, it provides the opportunity to support a fantastic organisation called My Home Life, which promotes quality of life and delivers positive change in care homes for older people, to make available its successfully piloted Care Home Friends and Neighbours scheme more widely across England.  This aims to make it easier for care homes to open their doors and develop relationships with their local communities and help residents to feel that they belong.

Find out more about this programme.

We’ll be announcing our other programmes as they come on stream.  For the moment, any of our successful community-based project or building grants award recipients whose grant was approved after 31 March, 2017, may be able to access small grants of up to £5k from our remaining Capability Grants budget on a first come, first served basis, assuming eligibility and a fundable proposal.  Please contact us directly if you wish to discuss this.

Where can I find funding for my community project now ?

You may wish to take a look at GrantNav from 360 Giving, which collects data from over 100 charitable funders, as a starting place to research potential alternative supporters for your community-based project.

Support for current DMT award-holders during COVID-19 crisis.

Links to funding support for community-organisations during COVID-19 crisis.




*We are a UK-wide funder but this particular programme will be restricted to projects in England, in line with our matched funder’s remit.

The Dunhill Medical Trust
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6 New Bridge Street
London EC4V 6AB

Telephone: 020 7403 3299