Grants and other funding

There are some great local resources available if you are looking to set up or expand a community group or project.

On the council website there is a regular update on community funding which lists the national, regional and local funding that is currently available. It won’t capture each and every available fund, but is fairly comprehensive. It is split into four sections – key opportunities, capacity building, main small funds and lucky dip.

Also useful is the Capital Community Foundation’s (CCF) grants list for Lambeth. CCF both administer a number of grants, such as the various strands of the Lambeth Community Fund, and also signposting others.

Social Enterprise London have a long list of organisations that fund and support social enterprises. This covers start-up finance as well as other loans and grants and is well worth a look.

Lambeth Voluntary Action Council have Funderfinder and GrantsFinder which are computer software programmes that help organisations find trusts and funders that might support their work.

Lambeth Voluntary Action Council also has a Funding Advice Project to provide information, advice and support on all matters associated with fundraising to voluntary and community sector organisations based in Lambeth. Support is only available to small – medium organisations (i.e. those with 140 or less paid staff hours per week) and to organisations that are formally set up (i.e. a management committee and governing document in place). For support contact Aleya Chowdhury, Capacity Building Officer (Funding Advice), on 020 7737 9477 (Tuesday and Wednesday only) or email

Have you applied for any grants to support your projects? If so, please share your experience and tips for success in the comments below. It would also be good to hear if there are any other external funding sources that people know are available.

One Response to Grants and other funding

  1. Tim O'Connor says:

    There’s also some more funds that have been announced but haven’t been officially launched yet, but will be worth keeping an eye out for.

    First announced by central government in July 2010, the Big Society has relevant funding streams associated with it. A Big Society pilot scheme was announced which initially offered support to 4 ‘Vanguard’ boroughs (LB Sutton in London) although one of the 4 (Liverpool) subsequently dropped out. Details of funding available to the remaining 3 ‘vanguards’ or further opportunities to participate in the programme have yet to be confirmed. (Although reports in the press in May 2011 indicated the expected level of support to be in the region of £100k per area.)

    The Big Society Bank (now officially named Big Society Capital) may now not become operational until 2012. When open, it will offer funding to intermediaries who are then able to invest in frontline organisations. This could include loans to social enterprises and VCS organisations to help communities run their services or set up mutuals and co-operatives. (The Cabinet Office have confirmed that Big Society Capital will not make grants.) In the meantime, the Big Lottery Fund has been asked to establish an interim Investment Committee to start using dormant bank account money for the above purposes in 2011. (However, press reports have indicated that the funding likely to be available from the Big Society Bank is expected to be less than the now closed Futurebuilders programme which served a similar purpose.)

    The May 2011 ‘Giving’ White Paper has confirmed a number of forthcoming new sources of funding for VCS organisations. These include:

    Social Action Fund – This £10m programme will be used to support incentives for people to give ‘such as complementary currencies that offer people credit for volunteering.’ This fund will launch on 3 October 2011 and close to applications on 28 October 2011. It will be managed by the Social Investment Business (trading name of Futurebuilders Limited).

    Innovation in Giving Fund – Further £10m programme related to the above and managed by NESTA (National Endowment for Science, Technology & the Arts). Will fund projects that have the potential to increase rates of giving often using new technology. Grant awards of £50k and upwards are available for successful projects. The deadline for applications was 14 October 2011 – if there’s another round of funding we will flag it here.

    Transforming Local Infrastructure Fund – This £30m fund is designed to improve support for frontline civil society organisations by helping infrastructure organisations (e.g. ‘second tier’ like LVAC) to modernise and improve the relevance of their services. The programme will be administered by BIG and was launched in July 2011 with a 2 September 2011 deadline for Expressions of Interest.

    Community First Programme – This £80m fund is seen as a replacement for the previous ‘Grassroots’ grant programme for VCS orgs. It will include a £30m small grant programme for deprived areas and a national £50m endowment match challenge. The programme will be managed by the Community Development Foundation who were appointed in June 2011. The fund itself is expected to be launched later in 2011.

    Investment and Contract Readiness Fund – Announced by the Cabinet Office in July 2011after the above funds but complimentary to them, this £10m programme (to be launched in 2012) is intended to support VCS organisations to ‘become a mainstream option for public service delivery.’ This should enable organisations to compete for public sector contracts and access new types of social finance such as that offered by the forthcoming Big Society Capital.

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