Funding for community groups | Oxfordshire County Council

Funding for community groups

How voluntary and community organisations can find and apply for funding opportunities

Need help putting a funding bid together?

Oxfordshire Community and Voluntary Action (OCVA) runs a free Funding Advice Service for voluntary and community organisations.


OCVA can help you find sources of funding, give advice about writing grant applications and are happy to review any application forms or letters you have written. They also produce the Guide to Funding Opportunities in Oxfordshire which covers a range of statutory and non-statutory sources of funding available to Oxfordshire groups. OCVA produces a monthly funding newsletter for members.

Find out more about OCVA’s services and other organisations that can give support when you are developing a project and looking for funding.

Oxfordshire Community Foundation

Oxfordshire Community Foundation supports any type of non-profit group that is taking action to make life better for local people, from urban to rural, everywhere in Oxfordshire. It awards grants of between £500 and £5,000.

Find out more about Oxfordshire Community Foundation

Community First Oxfordshire

Community First Oxfordshire can offer advice and support in specific areas such as village shops, community halls, rural transport, community planning and rural housing.

District councils

Oxfordshire County Council grant funding

  • Early Years and Childcare Grants

We offer a funding and grants programme that will support good outcomes for Oxfordshire’s children and families and will also help the council meet its strategic objectives, securing sufficient high quality early years and childcare provision for residents of Oxfordshire

Local funding opportunities 

European Social Fund community grants programme

Oxford City Council has received £387,000 of funding from the European Social Fund (ESF) to provide small grants to charities and other organisations that help disadvantaged and unemployed people into work or training.

The scheme is running from October 2016 to March 2018, during which there will be three rounds of funding. Individual charities and support organisations can apply for grants of between £5,000 and £50,000 at a time. 

Grants are intended to provide support to the hardest to reach communities and individuals in deprived communities across the county. For further information on eligibility and the scheme in general please visit Oxford City Council’s dedicated page.

Oxfordshire Community Action Groups - Funding Opportunities

CAG Oxfordshire contains a list of Oxfordshire funding opportunities which are relevant to environmental projects.

The list is updated regularly with new funding opportunities, so it is worth checking regularly.

Leader funding

•    £1.55m for Businesses in Rural Oxfordshire – Oxfordshire LEADER Funding
•    Oxfordshire LEADER Funding
•    Trust for Oxfordshire’s Environment

Delivering Impact programme focuses on poverty and deprivation

Our next Delivering Impact grant round, which closes on 26 October, focuses on poverty and deprivation.  We will award grants of up to £10K for work that is supporting vulnerable people to improve their employability through training, education or accreditation.  The ultimate aim of the grants within this round is to improve the physical, mental and emotional health of some of Oxfordshire's most deprived people. Core costs can be covered. Find out more and apply

Comic Relief Core Strength funding opens in Oxfordshire

Comic Relief and community foundations across the UK are administering a new £2 million investment into supporting small, community-led organisations. The Comic Relief Core Strength grants offer between £1,000 to £5,000 for essential core running costs.

In Oxfordshire, we will make between two and ten grants in our round of funding, which closes on 26 October. Applications from new groups will be prioritised so please forward this information on to any contacts you have. Find out more and apply

Small Grants Scheme – Foyle Foundation

This scheme is designed to support smaller charities in the UK, especially those working at grass roots and local community level, in any field, across a wide range of activities.  Applications are welcomed from charities that have an annual turnover of less than £100,000 per annum. Larger or national charities will normally not be considered under this scheme. Demonstrating ongoing sustainability is very important, particularly if the organisation has recently lost local authority or other regular funding. No multi-year funding awards will be made.

There are no deadlines for submission. Applications will be received at all times but it may take up to four months to reach a decision.

More about the Foyle Foundation Small Grants Scheme.

Community Buildings and Housing Grants – Locality

Any Town or Parish Council, Neighbourhood Forum or qualifying community group can apply for Pre-Feasibility grants (£1000 to £10,000) and Project Support grants (£5000 to £40,000) to help move a community building or community housing project to the point at which a Community Right to Build Order, or (in the case of community led housing projects only) a traditional planning permission application, can be submitted. These are revenue grants which means that they do not cover the capital costs of land acquisition or actually constructing a building.

Find out more about Community Buildings and Housing Grants.

Trust for Oxfordshire’s Environment

The Trust provides grants to support work on local projects, grants are available for non-profit organisations and must support at least one of the following key funding targets:

  • Promote and improve the biodiversity of Oxfordshire’s wildlife habitats.
  • Increase access to the local countryside and green spaces.
  • Promote and encourage energy efficiency, and stimulate the sustainable use of renewable resources.’

Read more about the work of the Trust for Oxfordshire’s Environment

European Growth Programme: Grants for the Rural Economy – Defra

This programme provides funding to create jobs and boost the economy in England and is funded by the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development (EAFRD).

From March 2015, the RPA is publishing ‘calls for applications’ under the Growth Programme, applications are currently open in a limited number of Local Enterprise Partnership areas, as part of an initial phase, before the programme opens fully. These calls will only include some of the grants listed below, depending on local priorities.

The grants that are available will reflect the priorities of each local area and may include:

  • Business development
  • Business start-up
  • Renewable energy
  • Small scale tourism infrastructure
  • Tourism co-operation
  • Food processing

Read more about the European Growth programme

European Innovation Partnership for Agricultural Productivity and Sustainability (EIP-AGRI)

Funding can be used to boost productivity in the livestock, arable, horticultural and forestry sectors and create ground-breaking new technology – unlocking innovation in the farming industry.

Grants worth between £5,000 and £150,000 will be available for projects for up to three years to encourage new farming techniques, and encourage farming and forestry sustainability.

Operational groups of two or more members made up of farmers, forest managers, researchers, businesses and NGOs from across the country are welcome to apply for grants.

Read more about Innovation partnership grants

Covenant Fund: Small Grants – Ministry of Defence

The Covenant Fund has £10 million each year to support the Armed Forces Covenant by funding projects which address the following priorities:
1. Community integration
2. The coordination and delivery of support to the Armed Forces community
3. Former service personnel in the criminal justice system

The fund is currently only open to grants up to a maximum of £20,000. 

Find out more about the Covenant Fund.

National funding opportunities

Royal British Legion

The Royal British Legion can provide support to serving and ex-Service people and their dependants who are suffering financially, including those who need urgent assistance to get through a temporary crisis, such as homelessness. They offer several grants that support a wide range of needs including employment, medical expenses, household equipment and adaptations, mobility aids and equipment, as well and women who served or the wives or widows of servicemen.

Deadlines vary.

Princes Countryside Fund

The Prince’s Countryside Fund provides more than £1m in grants each year (up to £50,000 each) to projects across the UK. They aim to fund innovative projects that support activity that results in a long-term positive impact on rural communities by helping the people that live and work in the countryside.

Deadlines and projects vary.

Changemaker – Santander

The Changemaker Fund has been created to support projects that help disadvantaged people to have confidence in the future by building skills and knowledge or innovative ideas that help communities prosper. It aims to help social enterprises, small charities and community groups to deliver projects in the UK that create innovative solutions to improve communities through the Crowdfunder platform.

Santander has £200,000 to support Changemakers who turn to the Crowd to make great ideas happen. Up to £10,000 per grant may be awarded to successful applicants.

Community-led buildings grant – Localities

Two grants are available for the different stages of a Community-led buildings project. Both grants apply to community-led buildings and community-led housing projects.

Pre-feasibility Grant (£1,000 - £10,000): When you have identified a possible community-led building project and are assessing the way forward – looking at costs, how you will manage the project, legal concerns and more.

Applications for grant for 2017-18 can be submitted from 1 February 2017 until 31 January 2018. Expenditure through a grant must be completed within six months or before 31 March 2018, whichever falls sooner.

Project Support Grant (£5,000 - £40,000): To help you pay for the advice you need to progress your community-led building project to the point of submitting a Community Right to Build Order.

Applications for grant for 2017-18 can be submitted from 1 February 2017 until 31 January 2018. Expenditure through a grant must be completed within six months or before 31 March 2018, whichever falls sooner.

Big Lottery Fund

Big Lottery Fund is responsible for delivering 40% of all funds raised for good causes by the National Lottery. Funding is awarded to community groups and projects that improve health, education and the environment.

Awards for all

Awards for All is a Big Lottery funded programme aimed at local communities. It awards grants of between £300 and £10,000 in a simple and straightforward way.

The Heritage Lottery Fund

The Heritage Lottery Fund sustains and transforms a wide range of heritage through innovative investment in projects with a lasting impact on people and places. Funding can be used for museums, parks, historic places, archaeology, natural environment and cultural traditions. There are a range of different grant programmes, with grants from £3,000 to over £5million.

National Lottery - Good Causes

National Lottery Good Causes allocates funding through 12 independent organisations, each with specialist knowledge of their sectors. Each is independent of Government but has to follow guidelines when deciding who should receive National Lottery funding.

Sport England

Sport England offers different funding programmes which are open to a wide range of organisations. Funding is available for sports clubs, voluntary and community organisations, local authorities, schools, colleges and universities.

WREN (Waste Recycling Environmental Ltd)

WREN (Waste Recycling Environmental Limited) is a company limited by guarantee and a non-profit making Environmental Body (EB) registered to fund projects which are eligible under the Landfill Communities Fund.

Designation Development Fund – Arts Council

The 2016-18 round of Designation Development Fund is investing £1.4 million to support projects that ensure the long-term sustainability of Designated museum collections, and which maximise their public value and the sharing of best practice across the sector. This is intended to enable greater audience enjoyment with collections which play a vital role in England's cultural life. 

The successful organisations will use this money to improve their collections for the benefit of their audiences, improving enjoyment, understanding and engagement.
The Designation Scheme identifies the pre-eminent collections of national and international importance held in England's non-national museums, libraries and archives, based on their quality and significance. These inspiring collections represent a vital part of the national cultural and artistic heritage.

Grants for War Memorials – War Memorials Trust

War Memorials Trust administers a number of grants schemes which between them cover the whole of the UK.  Currently programme funders include the Department of Culture, Media and Sport, Historic England, Historic Scotland and War Memorials Trust. Grants are currently available up to 75% of eligible costs with a normal maximum grant of £30,000.

War Memorials Trust seeks to help all war memorial custodians, whatever the nature and size of their war memorial by facilitating repair and conservation projects. 

Annual deadlines are 31 March, 30 June, 30 September and 31 December.

European Structural and Investment Funds - Department for Communities and Local Government

A variety of funds under the European Structural and Investment Fund (ESIF) are currently available in different parts of the country. ESIF includes money from the European Social Fund (ESF), European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) and European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development (EAFRD).

Deadlines for applications vary.

Find out more about the European Structural and Investment Funds.

Grants for the Arts Libraries Fund – Arts Council

The aim of this fund is to inspire innovative partnerships between libraries and arts organisations, and encourage library users and those living locally to take part in artistic and cultural activities. Public libraries can apply for grants of between £1,000 and £100,000 covering activities lasting up to three years.

The fund opened to applications on 1 April 2015 and will run until 31 March 2018.

Find out more about the Grants for the Arts Libraries Fund.

Third Sector Loan Fund – Social Investment Business

This fund is managed by Social and Sustainable Capital and seeks to invest between £250,000 and £3 million in charities and social enterprises across the UK.  The Fund can support organisations across all social sectors, focused on improving the economic and social well-being of individuals, particularly those who are vulnerable and disadvantaged.

More about the Third Sector Loan Fund.

First World War: then and now – Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF)

This programme provides grants of £3,000 to £10,000 for communities to mark the Centenary of the First World War. HLF also provide grants of more than £10,000 for First World War projects.

There are no application deadlines for this programme – apply anytime. Your application will be discussed at a monthly advisory meeting at your local Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) office.

More about First World War: Then and Now grant scheme.

Help the Homeless Grants

Help the Homeless makes grants to charitable organisations with the aim of returning homeless people to the community and enabling them to resume a normal life. Small and medium sized registered charities (with a turnover of under £1 million per annum) can apply for grants for capital costs, generally up to £5000.
The quarterly deadlines for grant applications each year are the 15th of March, June, September and December

Read more about the Help the Homeless Grants.

People’s Postcode Trust Small Grants programme

Not-for-profit organisations, social enterprises, charities and others in England and Scotland can now apply for between £500 and £20,000 to deliver a project of up to 1 year in length.

Open to the South of England, Scotland and Wales.

Read more about People’s Postcode Trust Small Grants programme.

Reaching Communities England – Big Lottery

Reaching Communities funding is for projects that help people and communities most in need. Grants are available from £10,000, upwards and funding can last for up to 5 years. Reaching Communities can fund salaries, running costs, a contribution towards core costs and equipment.

Read more about the Reaching Community England Programme.

Reaching Communities Buildings – Big Lottery

The buildings strand of Reaching Communities provides funding for land and buildings projects costing more than £100,000. It can also provide revenue funding to help to get the building running and deliver project activities

To ensure that this funding makes the biggest difference to those most in need, it is targeted at buildings or sites based in the most deprived ‘Lower Super Output Areas’ in England.

Read more about Reaching Communities Buildings.

Heritage Enterprise – Heritage Lottery Fund

Heritage Enterprise supports enterprising community organisations across the UK to rescue neglected historic buildings and sites and unlock their economic potential.

You can apply for a grant from £100,000 to £5million.

Read more about Heritage Enterprise.

Sharing Heritage – Heritage Lottery Fund

The Sharing Heritage programme is for any type of project related to national, regional or local heritage in the UK. Applications can be made for a grant from £3,000 to £10,000. The fund is available to not-for-profit organisations or partnerships led by not-for-profit organisations wanting to explore, share and celebrate their community’s heritage.
This is a rolling programme and applications can be submitted at any time.

Read more about Sharing Heritage.

Our Heritage – Heritage Lottery Fund

The Our Heritage programme is for any type of project related to national, regional or local heritage in the UK. Applications can be made for a grant of more than £10,000 and up to £100,000.
Under this programme, HLF fund applications from not-for-profit organisations, private owners of heritage (including individuals and for-profit organisations) and partnerships.
This is a rolling programme and applications can be made at any time.

Read more about Our Heritage.

Young Roots – Heritage Lottery Fund

The Young Roots programme is for projects that engage young people with heritage in the UK. Applications can be made for a grant of more than £10,000 and up to £50,000. Under this programme, HLF fund partnerships of heritage and youth organisations to help young people shape and deliver their own projects in safe environments.
This is a rolling programme and applications can be made at any time.

Read more about Young Roots.

Lloyds Bank Foundation

Lloyds Bank Foundation offers programmes designed to help charities to support people experiencing multiple disadvantages to make positive and lasting changes at critical points in their lives.

Read more about the grants available through Lloyds Bank Foundation

Ernest Cook Trust

The Ernest Cook Trust (ECT) gives grants to registered charities, schools and not-for-profit organisations wishing to encourage young people’s interest either in the countryside and the environment, the arts (in the broadest sense), or in science, or aiming to raise levels of literacy and numeracy. A large grants programme for awards of over £4,000 and a small grants programme for awards of under £4,000 operate throughout the year

Read more about the Ernest Trust grants.

Premier League and The FA Facilities Fund – Football Foundation

The FA Facilities Fund provides grants for building or refurbishing grassroots facilities, such as changing pavilions or playing surfaces. The funds are provided by the Premier League, The FA and the Government (via Sport England) and delivered by the Foundation. Grants are available to football clubs, schools, councils and local sports associations.

Read more about the Premier League and the FA Facilities Fund.

Rural Community Energy Fund

The Rural Community Energy Fund (RCEF) supports rural communities in England to develop renewable energy projects which provide economic and social benefits to the community. The fund will provide up to approximately £150,000 of funding for feasibility and pre-planning development work to help projects become investment ready.

Read more about the rural community energy fund.

Parks for People – Heritage Lottery Fund

Parks for People is for projects related to historic parks and cemeteries in the UK. You can apply for a grant from £100,000 to £5million. Parks for people projects need to contribute towards ten identified outcomes under the headings of heritage, people and communities.

Read more about the Parks for People Fund.

Big Potential - Big Lottery

Big Potential is a BIG Lottery Fund grant programme that will deliver approximately £10m of grant funding over 3 years to eligible voluntary and community sector organisations, with the aim of improving the sustainability, capacity and scale of these organisations in order that they may deliver greater social impact.

Eligible organisations will be able to access specialist one to one support from the Big Potential programme partners before making an application for grants between £20,000 and £75,000 to undertake more in-depth investment readiness work with one of Big Potential’s approved providers.

Read more about the Big Potential grant fund.

Countryside Stewardship

Countryside Productivity and Environmental Stewardship schemes – Defra
The Rural Development Programme for England provides money for projects to improve agriculture, the environment and rural life. Funding goes to schemes to:

  • improve the environment
  • increase the productivity of farming and forestry
  • grow the rural economy

Find out more about the Countryside Stewardship

Neighbourhood Planning Grants – Locality

Funded as part of the Department for Communities and Local Government’s Neighbourhood Planning and Community Right to Build support programme, grants are available to help Parish Councils and other groups to prepare Neighbourhood Plans. As part of the £22 million programme, grants can be used to pay for events to engage the local community, print leaflets and to pay for specialist planning expertise. The support programme runs to 2018.

All groups writing a neighbourhood plan or neighbourhood development order will be eligible to apply for up to £8,000 in grant. Groups facing more complex issues can apply for specific packages of technical support where needed, and may also be eligible for further £6,000 in grant.

A rolling programme of applications is underway and is expected to be operated throughout the year.

Find out more about Community Buildings and Housing Grants.

The Paul Hamlyn Foundation – Youth Fund.

The Youth Fund will provide core funding to organisations within the youth sector. The Foundation understands that, in order to achieve the greatest positive impact in the lives of young people you work with or for, you need to achieve a balance of stability, continuity and flexibility.

The fund is for organisations which have the potential to grow their impact by:

  • Replicating a programme or service.
  • Widening the reach of an idea or innovation.
  • Spreading a technology or skill.
  • Advancing policy or enhancing its implementation.

The Paul Hamlyn Foundation also wants to support those organisations which work with young people in a way that recognises and builds on their strengths and potential. This fund is available only for those already taking this approach.

Read more about the Paul Hamlyn Foundation.

Last reviewed
26 March 2018
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