Pound sign compressed


Northumberland CVA

Providing 30 years of support to the voluntary and community sector


June: Funding your activities


Summer tends to be a time for fundraisers in many voluntary and community organisations to take advantage of a lull in activities while schools are closed down and service users go off on annual holiday to polish off some applications for funding. Of course, for some other organisations this will be their busiest time and they may not have time to even read the criteria, let alone fill in complicated funding application forms.

Whichever group you fall into, a list of the top funding sources for community groups in Northumberland is sure to come in handy at some point, and my colleague Marc Johnson, our Development Officer for Funding (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.), has kindly put together a collection of 30 of them.


1: 1989 Willan Charitable Trust

This Trust funds charitable activities benefitting residents of Tyne & Wear, Northumberland, County Durham and Teesside. Priority is given to applicants which: Ease social deprivation and/or enrich the fabric of the local community and the quality of life of individuals within that community.

The 1989 Willan Charitable Trust’s grant making in the North East region is supported by the Community Foundation Tyne & Wear and Northumberland, which receives and vetts applications for the trustees. Full details of the application process, which is different to the Community Foundation’s usual process, can be found on the website. http://www.communityfoundation.org.uk/funds/the-1989-willan-charitable-trust


2: Arts Council England

‘Grants for the Arts’ is the open access funding programme for individuals and organisations that use the arts in their work. Grants range from £1,000 to £100,000. There are no specific deadlines for applications; applications below £15,000 receive a decision within 6-weeks and those over £15,000 within 12 weeks.

Full details are available online: http://www.artscouncil.org.uk/funding/grants-arts


3: Ballinger Charitable Trust

The Ballinger Charitable Trust was founded in 1994 and supports charities, voluntary and community organisations in North East England through the provision of grants. The focus of the trust is to: support the health, development and wellbeing of young people; support the elderly; promote cultural/arts projects based in the North East of England. There are no specific deadlines for applications and decisions are made on a regular basis. Although there are no set limits on the amount that can be applied for, the range of grants varies from a few hundred pounds to £500,000.

Full details and initial application form is available online: www.ballingercharitabletrust.org.uk


4: The Barbour Foundation

The Barbour Foundation was founded in 1988 and focuses on making grants to institutions who deal with community welfare, housing and social deprivation issues, mainly in the North East of England. Grant amounts range from a few hundred pounds to around £50,000, although there are no set limits.

The foundation does not have its own website and further details can be found on the Charity Commission website: http://beta.charitycommission.gov.uk/charity-details/?regid=328081&subid=0 . Application is by letter to:

Mrs A Harvey, PO Box 21, Guisborough, Cleveland, TS14 6YH


5: Banks, Building Societies and Financial Services

Most banks, building societies and other financial services, such as insurance companies, have grant giving foundations linked to them. Their approach to grant giving varies and it is worth a web search to see if the provider you use or your local branch has funding available. Some of the main funds include:


6: BBC Children in Need

Grants are given to projects that work with children and young people 18 years and under that experience disadvantage through: illness, distress, abuse or neglect; any kind of disability; behavioural or psychological difficulties; living in poverty or situations of deprivation

There are two grant programmes. The Small Grant fund provides grants of up to £10,000 per year for a maximum of 3 years. The Main Grant fund provides grants of over £10,000 per year for a maximum of 3 years. There is no upper limit but very few grants are made above £40,000 per year.

Full details are available online http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/articles/1N4ddmFHns8VPKjyp3PMYwn/apply-for-a-grant .


7: BIG Lottery Fund

The two main programmes to be aware of at the Big Lottery Fund are both responsive to meeting the needs identified by the community. Awards for All is the small grants scheme that funds local community-based projects in the UK. Grants of between £300 and £10,000 are available to help make a real difference in your community, for projects that last no more than 12-months. Reaching Communities is a large grant scheme, providing grants from £10,000 to £500,000 for projects that can last for up to 5 years.

To find out more about the BIG Lottery and all its funding programmes, please visit their website at www.biglotteryfund.org.uk


8: Catherine Cookson Charitable Trust

The Catherine Cookson Charitable Trust receives royalties from the sale of books and other materials written by the prolific author, these royalties enable the trust to donate around £1m each year. The Trust supports a wide range of activities including education and training, environment and conservation, arts and culture as well as general charitable purposes. The Trust’s principal aim is to identify and meet the local needs of the area in which Dame Catherine was brought up and resided. In particular the Trust supports work with young or disadvantaged people. Grants awarded are between £250 and £100,000.

Full details are available on the Trust’s website – http://catherinecookson.com/


9: Comic Relief

Comic Relief’s vision is ‘A Just World Free from Poverty, where everyone is safe, healthy, educated and empowered’. They have four programme areas:

  • Investing in children and young people to be ready for the future
  • Empowering women and girls so they’re safe and free to lead the lives they choose
  • Improving health and wellbeing of vulnerable and disadvantaged people
  • Building stronger communities in areas of disadvantage, deprivation and poverty

They do not have an open funding programme and instead issues calls for specific projects. Details of call for applications can be found on their website http://www.comicrelief.com/grants/initiatives


10: Community Foundation Tyne & Wear and Northumberland

The Community Foundation Tyne & Wear and Northumberland manages a variety of different funds that are intended to support local groups who 'deliver valuable opportunities, support and help to the people in their communities' in Tyne and Wear and Northumberland. Funding is available for general running costs, specific projects or activities, or for the costs of capital developments or equipment.

You can make a general application at any time, which could be considered by a range of funds managed by the foundation, or make an application in response to a specific call for applications. The average grant size is around £4,500 but many grants are much lower than this. Full details are available on the Community Foundation’s website - http://www.communityfoundation.org.uk/


11: E C Graham Belford Charitable Settlement

The E C Graham Belford Charitable Settlement makes grants to smaller charities throughout Northumberland. The charity awards around £100,000 per year to charities in Northumberland with the maximum grant size of £10,000.

Application is by letter and contact details are available on the Charity Commission page: http://beta.charitycommission.gov.uk/charity-details/?regid=1014869&subid=0


12: Garfield Weston Foundation

One-off grants are available to charitable organisations in the UK for a wide range of projects in the Arts, Community, Education, Welfare, Medical, Youth, Religion, and Environment. The Foundation funds a wide range of charitable projects, including contributions to running costs. On average, approximately 1,500 charities across the UK benefit each year from grants made by the Foundation ranging from the smallest community and volunteer projects through to large national organisations.

There are no limits to the size of grant and each application is considered on its own merit. Typically the Trustees prefer to see that a significant proportion of a project’s costs have been secured before considering an application and that a robust fundraising strategy and business plan are in place. More information is available on the Garfield Weston Foundation‘s website https://garfieldweston.org/


13: Greggs Foundation

The Foundation’s major grants programme is called the ‘North East Core Fund’. This fund makes grants to organisations to support core running costs. Grants of up to £15,000 per year for up to three years are available and the programme tends to support organisations that work in the most disadvantaged neighbourhoods in the North East of England, or organisations that support otherwise disadvantaged people, particularly those that support the following priority groups: People with Disabilities; Homeless people; Voluntary Carers; Older and isolated people.

The ‘Local Community Project Fund’ is offered to organisations supporting people in need. Any not-for-profit organisations can apply, although larger organisations with a turnover in excess of £300,000 are unlikely to be successful.  The maximum grant is £2000 and all projects must support a community of interest, i.e. people who are: Disabled or suffering chronic illness; Living in poverty; Voluntary carers; Homeless; Isolated older people; Other demonstrable significant need.

The ‘Environmental Grants’ programme aims to improve peoples’ lives by improving the environment. Grants are for a maximum of £2000. More details on all funds can be found at https://www.greggsfoundation.org.uk/grants.


14: Hadrian Trust

Grants are to help social welfare and charitable organisations working to improve the lives of people in the North East of England. Applications are considered under the following headings: Social Welfare; The Disabled; Youth; Ethnic minorities; Women; The Elderly; Arts; Environment; Education.

Grants usually range from £500 to £2,000 and may be for a specific project or part of a project, purchase of equipment or as a contribution to running costs. The Trustees meet on a quarterly basis and letters of application need to be with them three weeks before the meeting date. Details are available on the Hadrian Trust’s website: https://www.hadriantrust.co.uk/


15: Heritage Lottery Fund

The Heritage Lottery Fund offers a range of different grant programmes, with grants from £3,000 to over £5million. In assessing applications, the outcomes for heritage as well as the people and communities that a project will achieve will be taken into account. The most community-based programmes are:

  • Sharing Heritage - Explore your community’s heritage with a grant of £3,000–£10,000. Applying through this programme is straightforward, with a short application form and a quick decision.
  • Young Roots - Apply for a grant of £10,000-£50,000 to help young people aged 11 to 25 to explore their heritage, from green spaces, museums, and historic sites to language, local memories and youth culture.
  • First World War: Then and Now - Explore the heritage of the First World War with grants of £3,000–£10,000. This programme has a short application form, and is suitable for everyone, including first-time applicants.

Find detail on all grant programmes at: https://www.hlf.org.uk/looking-funding/our-grant-programmes


16: The Joicey Trust

This trust provides support to registered charities to carry out charitable projects within Northumberland and Tyne and Wear. Grants range up to £10,000. Most grants awarded are under £2,000.

Trustees meet twice a year and applications need to be submitted by 30th November and 31st May in order to be considered by the trustees at their meeting, which can be two months later than the deadline. More information on the application procedure can be found on their website - http://www.thejoiceytrust.org.uk/


17: Landfill Communities Fund

The Landfill Communities Fund is a tax credit scheme that offsets some of the negative impacts of living near a landfill site. The following three funds are available in specific parts of Northumberland and each have their own criteria.


18: LEADER Programme

LEADER is an area-based approach that ensures development is appropriate for that area. LEADER views local people as the main asset of rural areas and empowers them to decide what is best suited to their own environment, culture, working traditions and skills. The overall goal for LEADER is to improve the quality of life in rural areas.

There are 3 LEADER areas in Northumberland – Coast & Lowland; Uplands and North Pennine Dales. Each LEADER project must support one of the following: Increasing farm productivity; Micro and small enterprises and diversification; Rural Tourism; Provision of rural services; Cultural and heritage activity; Increasing forestry productivity. For more information visit http://www.northumberland.gov.uk/Business/Grants/Grants-Funding.aspx


19: Lottery Distributors

The National Lottery provides funds to Arts Council England, Big Lottery, Heritage Lottery and Sport England, and there are other Lotteries which provide funding for good causes:

People’s Health Trust is funded by the 51 society lotteries that are managed by the health lottery. They provide funding to address health inequalities and create fairer places in which to grow, live, work and age. They provide funding for specific local areas within Northumberland. The maximum grant is £50,000 over two years. Find more information at https://www.peopleshealthtrust.org.uk/.

People’s Postcode Lottery awards funds through a number of different trusts:


20: Northumberland County Council

Northumberland County Council provides or manages a range of potential funding sources:

  • Community Chest – We are awaiting guidance and dates for the Community Chest which we expect to launch soon. The previous scheme supported one-off initiatives that are seen as valuable to the area and are not able to secure mainstream funding from the council or other sources. The maximum grant was £10,000
  • Members’ local improvement schemes – Each County Councillor has an annual budget of £15,000 for local projects in their area. This is predominantly for capital projects.
  • Housing Developer Fund - Section 106 agreements are sometimes entered into with housing developers to fund sport and play in some areas of Northumberland.

Visit the County Council’s website for full details: http://www.northumberland.gov.uk/Business/Grants/Grants-Funding.aspx


21: Protected Landscapes (National Park & AONB)

Northumberland National Park and the Northumberland Coast Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty both have funding available to help people care for, enjoy and understand the special characteristics of the areas.


22: R W Mann Trust

The Trust’s objectives are wide ranging but it exists mainly to help improve the lives of people and communities in the North Tyneside, South Northumberland and East Newcastle area of the North East. The Trustees may award grants outside these areas if they believe that a project or group offers exceptional value and is within the Tyne and Wear and South Tyneside areas.

Grants made have varied between regular annual contributions, small one-off donations and grants for capital projects. The Trust has made grants of between £100 and £10,000 but the average size of grant awarded is £1000.

Visit the trust’s website for more details: http://www.rwmanntrust.org.uk/


23: The Rothley Trust

The Rothley Trust gives small grants to assist groups with charitable work in the north east. The Trust focuses on the needs of children and young people in areas of disadvantage. It also supports community development and the groups which help people with disabilities. The trust meets on a quarterly basis to consider applications.

Application is by letter. Please see the website for details on what to include when making an application: www.rothleytrust.org.uk


24: Sir James Knott Trust

The aim of the Sir James Knott Trust is to help improve the conditions of people living and working in the North East of England. Grants are awarded in the following areas: Arts and Culture; Service Charities; Public Services; Housing; Heritage; Health and Sport; Education and Training; Environment; Community Issues and Events; and Maritime.

Applications for funding under £1,000 may be made all year round and will be presented to a Trustee usually within four to six weeks. For funding over £1,000, applications must be submitted for consideration at Trustee meetings, usually held in spring, summer and autumn. For the ‘Under £1,000’ scheme the average grant is £500 and for the ‘Meeting’ grants the average is £4,500. Full details are available on the Sir James Knott Trust’s website http://knott-trust.co.uk/.


25: Sport England

Sport England distributes money from the National Lottery. As you would imagine, they fund both elite and amateur sport in England but have recently started to fund projects that help people to get active even if it isn’t directly through sport.

You can keep up to date with the open programmes by visiting their website (some funds are ongoing and some have deadlines): https://www.sportengland.org/funding/funding-key-dates/


26: The Stuart Halbert Foundation

The Stuart Halbert Foundation was set up in 2010 to commemorate the important role that Stuart Halbert played in the evolution of Kilfrost into a global business. The criteria of the fund are to provide support for: People; Animal welfare; Armed forces; Local community.

Grant giving has reduced in recent years. Full details can be found on their website: http://www.stuarthalbertfoundation.org.uk/


27: Supermarket Charity Funds

Most supermarkets have funds that they give to charities. Some of this giving is through causes and charities that the supermarket choses but the majority have an application procedure:


28: Town & Parish Councils

Some Town and Parish Councils have their own community grant scheme with set deadlines, criteria and application forms, whilst a larger number respond to requests from the community or further afield. It is always worth keeping in contact with your local council and finding out how they provide community grants and when they make decisions. The Northumberland Association of Local Councils has a directory of Town & Parish Councils https://northumberlandalc.uk/councils


29: Trusthouse Charitable Foundation

Grants are available to charitable and not-for-profit organisations in the UK for projects that address issues of health and disability; community support; and arts education and heritage. Grants are available at a range of different levels depending on the type of project and the size of organisation. The maximum grant is £50,000. More details are available on the Trusthouse’s website - http://trusthousecharitablefoundation.org.uk/


30: Wind Farm Community Benefit Schemes

There are three organisations that manage grant programmes on behalf of windfarm operators:


The resources page of our website holds a collection of factsheets that can help you to create a fundraising strategy for your organisation and make sure you are ready for funding. Check them out at www.northumberlandcva.org.uk/resources.

Northumberland CVA hosts regular Funding Fairs across of the county, which give community groups the opportunity to have discussions with a range of national, regional and local funders in an informal and relaxed environment about their project. We advertise these events on our website and in our regular fortnightly VCS Support Services e-bulletin. You can join our mailing list via our home page.

If you’re a voluntary and community organisation based in Northumberland and you’d like some advice on finding funding for your activities, why not contact Marc at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or call 01670 858688.