An introduction to voluntary and community funding

There are over half a million voluntary and community groups in the UK. These groups range from small community groups to large national or international organisations. Over the past decade, there has been an increasing trend of public sector services being delivered by voluntary and community organisations on behalf of the government.

According to the most recent Treasury figures on the sector, voluntary and community income coming from the government is £3.5bn – almost one-third of the sector’s total income.

Where can voluntary and community groups get financial support?

Funding, mainly through grants, is a means of providing financial assistance to voluntary and community organisations. A lot of groups are largely dependent on the receipt of funding to keep going in the work they do or in setting up new projects. Grants are sometimes hard to come by and applying for them can involve a great deal of hard work but on the plus side they don’t have to be paid back as long as terms are met.

Where does funding come from?

Funding for voluntary and community groups is available from a variety of sources including:

  • Central government departments, regional bodies and local government.
  • The lottery.
  • Charitable trusts and foundations.
  • Private companies.

5 Steps to Funding Success

We have created a 5 step guide to community funding. Following these steps should help you effectively achieve the funding you need:

  1. Do you have a constitution?
  2. What do you need the money for?
  3. Finding Funding
  4. Getting your application in
  5. Keeping in contact

By addressing the above questions, you can begin to construct acogent case for investment funding.

Don’t forget you can get advice from your local CVS or in some cases your local council. It’s always worth getting in touch with these resources who may well be able to help.

Voluntary Sector Grants Guide

Useful Link

Funding Sources

Top Fundraising Platforms

Useful Link

Funding Sources 2

Third Sector Trading Guide

Funding success stories from England, Wales and Scotland

You may sometimes think that applying for funding is an arduous task, and that in reality no-one ever actually gets any money…

We are trying to dispel that myth by highlighting case studies that show examples of community groups that have successfully received funding from all manner of different sources.

We hope that some of these case studies will provide a little inspiration.

Funding success stories from England and Wales

Henfield Leisure Centre – Funding from Viridor

Viridor came to the rescue with a grant of over £20,000 when the men’s changing room facilities at the Henfield Leisure Centre, West Sussex, became in dire need of a makeover.

A registered charity managed by the Henfield & District Sports Association, the Centre at Henfield village, north of Brighton, had no spare funds for the total refurbishment it required totaling £60,000. With the first donation the centre was able to carry out part of the work and has also received a further £10,000 from Viridor towards the ladies facilities.

The Henfield & District Sports Association obtained funds under Section D of the Landfill Tax Credit System (LTSC) that involves maintaining public buildings and amenities within 10 miles of a landfill site. Due to the fact that they have been unsuccessful in funding applications to the Peter Harrison Foundation and the Foundation for Sport & Arts, they have also applied to Biffaward under the same LTCS for the remaining £30,000 and are awaiting a decision.

For further information about project, contact Geoff Pratt via the Henfield Leisure Centre on 01273 494984.

Young People’s Fund – Outset Youth Action

Outset Youth Action is a West Sussex wide volunteering organisation for young people aged 13-25. It has operated in West Sussex for nearly 30 years supporting and encouraging young people to participate in community volunteering activities that assist their development and access to opportunities as well as meeting the needs of local communities.

For the past year Outset Youth Action has extended its age range to pilot a scheme with year 6 and year 7 pupils to encourage their participation in community volunteering. This pilot scheme, funded by the West Sussex Strategic Partnership enabled Outset to forge links between its existing work in secondary schools into the feeder schools to help support pupils during their transition in education. By introducing the concept of volunteering at a young age it is Outsets intention to encourage more young people to sustain positive community participation.

On 16th January 2006 Outset Youth Action had notification of their success in being awarded a grant for £96,610 from the Young Peoples Fund to enable them to develop the Junior Outset Programme for a further two years.

Outset will therefore develop its work in Littlehampton and Horsham Districts working with primary and secondary schools to encourage students to volunteer and become active citizens. Outset has a team of Youth Ambassadors who will act as Mentors to younger students to demonstrate how they themselves have benefited from the experience of volunteering.

Outsets Youth Ambassadors will work with Year 6 students to encourage them to consider the benefits of volunteering not only for their school but also for their surrounding community. The Ambassadors will also work with year 7 pupils and encourage them to volunteer their time to create videos, leaflets and activities that describe their own experience of education transition to help support the year 6 pupils. The Ambassadors themselves will benefit from this project by developing skills and knowledge to support their career development in such fields as teaching and childcare.

All young people who volunteer with Outset receive a Certificate of Recognition for the skills that they have developed through volunteering and the time that they have given to others. Young people aged 16-24 can sign up to Outsets Millennium Volunteers Programme and receive the nationally recognised Award of Excellence for participating in 200 hours of volunteering in 12 months.

Funding success stories from Scotland

Angus Farming and Wildlife Advisory Group

Angus Farming and Wildlife Advisory Group has received £25,000 from the Tayside Biodiversity Partnership Fund and £5,000 from the Cairngorms Local Biodiversity Fund towards work to increase the numbers of barn owls in lowland Angus.

Forfar Day Care Centre has received £2,300 from the Lloyds TSB Foundation for Scotland towards replacing flooring in their premises.

The Quickstart Youth Capital Fund funded 9 groups in Angus to a tune of £213,000, including Montrose YMCA which received £8,000 towards external wall repairs to their building.

1st Houston Boys’ and Girls’ Brigade Pipe Band

1st Houston Boys’ and Girls’ Brigade Pipe Band, Renfrewshire received £1,400 awarded by Awards for All (Scottish Arts Council) 31/03/2006

This group provides opportunities for young people to learn piping and drumming skills. The grant is for contribution towards the purchase of a new box trailer, wheel clamp and hitch-lock.

Clyde Valley Rovers Amateur Football Club

Clyde Valley Rovers Amateur Football Club, Renfrewshire, received £2,094 awarded by Awards for All (Sport Scotland) 26/05/2006.

This group provides the facilities and opportunities for members to participate in the sport of football. The grant is for strips, bags, goalkeeper gloves, training and match balls, football pump, ball sack, cones, training ladders, training poles, pole bag, hurdles and tournament costs.

Erskine Writers Group

The Erskine Writers Group also successfully applied for funding, and some background to their application and group is given below.

The Erskine Writers Group applied to Awards For All for funds last year with the help of Alex Hewetson, our Community Council Liaison Officer. Alex guided the group through the application process and the hard work paid off when they received funding. Formed in 1990, the group now has more than 50 members. They meet in the Bargarran Community Centre each Tuesday between 1.30pm and 3.30pm, and each session runs from September to the following May. Many of the groups first-time writers have been published and have won awards. Each year there is a new and varied syllabus, involving guest speakers, workshops, competitions and readings of the members own work. The groups secretary, Helen Baxter, said: “Writing for the market is a craft that has to be learned and members benefit from listening to the experiences of visiting authors. Paying for these visits is expensive. Now thanks to Awards For All, we have been given funds to buy equipment and to pay realistic costs for visiting writers.”

Johnstone Castle Learning Centre

Johnstone Castle Learning Centre, Renfrewshire, received £210,307, awarded by the Lottery, April 2006.

This project seeks to increase access to community learning opportunities and activities for people in Renfrewshire, by enabling voluntary representation in local decision making structures and encouraging volunteering in the area. The grant will provide funding for staff salaries, travel, training and office equipment.

Paisley Patchers, Paisley Renfrewshire

Paisley Patchers, Paisley Renfrewshire received £2,500 awarded by Awards for All (Scottish Arts Council), May 2006.

This group aim to promote interest in the art of patchwork and quilting through meetings, lectures, workshops and exhibitions. The grant will be used to purchase a laptop, software, training, screen and a digital camera.

St. John’s Youth Group, Stevenston, Ayrshire

St Johns Youth Group in Stevenston, Ayrshire decided to access funding to take 8 young people, 3 leaders and a nurse to help Father Martin Chambers on the Mission in Ecuador during October 2006.

The Youth Group wanted to take the older members of the group to work with the poor and needy residents of the shantytown of Nueva Prosperina, Gauyaquil, Ecuador alongside Father Martin Chambers. This trip will be a challenge and life-changing experience for the young people and leaders.

Funding received to date includes:

  • Moffat Charitable Trust: £5,000
  • Awards for All: £4,000 (Open4Funding)
  • Local Action Fund: £1,689 (Open4Funding)
  • Our Lady of Mercy Fund: £500 (Open4Funding)
  • Diocese of Galloway: £500
  • Hunterston B Station: £300
  • Fraser Travel: £50
  • Fundraising (local community): £1,000
  • Donations (St Johns Parish Community): £1,000
  • Community Learning & Development: Free Conversational Spanish Classes
  • Adult & Youth Services

The Group will continue to fundraise prior to the trip in October 2006

On their return the group will present a powerpoint presentation on their experiences during their work on the Mission.

Angus Disabled Ramblers

Angus Disabled Ramblers received £3,496 from the Lloyds TSB Foundation for Scotland to purchase two power chairs.

Friockheim Bowling Club

Friockheim Bowling Club received £1,000 from the Amy Barnet Skea Trust, a local trust that donates money to groups in the Arbroath area.

Kingsmuir Hall

Many projects require a cocktail of funding. Heres an example of how a village hall in a small rural community managed to fund their project.

Like many village halls, Kingsmuir Hall, near Forfar had no insulation and only electric heating radiators, resulting in a very cold hall between periods of use as the cost of continual heating was prohibitive. After researching various systems an air source heat pump heating system was considered the most appropriate as it provides constant heat and hot water at a low cost

Kingsmuir Hall received grants to install the heat pump at a cost of £21,000. At the same time they raised funds for improvements to the hall including the insulation of windows, doors and walls which cost a further £45,000.

Grants for the project were received from:

  • Scottish Community and Householder Renewables Initiative £24,887
  • Awards for All £10,000
  • Gannochy Trust £8,000
  • Energy Savings Trust(capital projects) £7,007
  • Robertson Trust £7,000
  • Donations £6,180
  • Angus Council £3,200

Plashmill Renewed

This newly formed group received a start up grant of £497 for hire of premises for meetings, publicity material and travel expenses.

This modest grant has enabled the group to move forward with ambitious plans to save and develop an important linen mill building in the Angus village of Letham that was threatened with demolition. Meetings have been held with the local community and an exciting development plan has emerged. They encouraged 400 people in the local area to become Friends of Plashmill.

It was clear from the start that the building would have to pay its way. A survey of the energy producing potential of the adjacent burn showed that Plashmill could produce all its energy needs from that source and in addition, earn some income from selling surplus energy to the national grid.

There are plans to create a renewed mill on the basis of an existing and changing technological exhibition showing up to date machines and appliances actively producing renewable energy, attracting visits from educational establishments and the general public. Renewable energy sources on display will come from water, wind, ground heat, solar water heating and photovoltaic panels.

The body of the building will become a café and community facility.

The next stage is an application to Awards for All for architectural plans, a feasibility study, and planning approval costs.