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Other Sources of Funding

A brief run down of other sources of funding for rural projects

Download a useful document here on finance and associated support for Voluntary Community and Social Enterprise development support, produced by Coop Culture. 

Prince’s Countryside Fund
The Prince’s Countryside Fund is open for applications from 7 September. The funding is intended to have a long term positive effect on rural communities, helping those that live and work there sustain the countryside, by tackling key rural issues:

  • Thriving Rural Communities
  • Rural Livelihoods
  • Farmers of the Future

Grants of up to £50,000 are available.  

Accessing Nature – Sita Trust
SITA Trust provides funds to not-for-profit organisations to undertake work that is eligible under the Landfill Communities Fund (LCF).
‘Accessing Nature’ provides funding for projects which improve physical access to a natural outdoor space resulting in increased opportunities for people to experience and enjoy wildlife. Awards are up to £50,000 and overall project costs must not exceed £100,000
The project must result in an increase in the number of people who visit the outdoor space to experience and enjoy wildlife.  
Just Growth – FEA (Funding Enlightened Agriculture)
Just Growth is a new funding programme designed to encourage the growth of community based food and farming projects. The aim of the programme is to support social enterprises that are producing food in an environmentally and socially just way.FEA is working in partnership with Community and Co-operative Finance (CCF) and the Esmee Fairbairn Foundation to deliver this project. They are looking for projects that farm in a way that nurtures and protects the environment, helps people take control of their food and enables more people to eat better food.

A key aim of the programme is to encourage community ownership and FEA will be looking for organisations that are owned and run by their community or that have strong co-operative principles embedded in their structure. The programme will be looking for up to 14 projects to fund and support over an 18 month period to December 2016. The minimum loan and grant amounts is £15,000 and a minimum of £15,000 will need to be raised from the community. The grant element of the package is capped at £20,000 but the loan and community finance element can exceed this figure.

Creative Local Growth Fund – Arts Council
The Creative Local Growth Fund is intended to recognise how arts and culture can contribute to local economic growth and will support arts and cultural organisations to contribute to local economic growth by helping fund activity to support the creative industries, tourism and a stronger cultural sector by levering in European Structural and Investment Funds (ESIFs) from Local Enterprise Partnerships. Applicants can apply for between £150,000 and £500,000. This is to serve as match for funding, possibly for ESIFs, with particular reference to European Regional Development Fund.
Skills and Opportunities Fund – Royal Bank of Scotland
The second round of applications to the Royal Bank of Scotland ‘Skills & Opportunities Fund’ opened on 24 August 2015. £2.5m has been committed to fund projects in charities, social enterprises, community groups, state-funded schools and colleges across the UK and Ireland. The focus for this funding is to support organisations that help people in disadvantaged communities develop, create or access the skills and opportunities they need to help themselves; skills that will enable them to get into work or start a business, now or in the future.
The country has been split into seven regions for the purposes of this fund, each with its own decision making board. Although all regions will be looking to fund projects that enable people to help themselves, each will have differing priorities recognising regional differences. Prior to applying for funding, applicants are advised to look at the relevant region’s priorities and make sure the application responds to them.
Protecting Playing Fields – Sport England
The Protecting Playing Fields funding programme is part of Sport England’s strategy which is focused on helping more people acquire lifelong sporting habits. It will invest in capital projects to either create new natural turf pitches or improve existing ones that need levelling or drainage works.  The programme is being delivered via funding rounds with approximately £4 million being awarded to projects in each round. The first six rounds of funding have benefited 399 projects. 
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.  Please see the website below for more information.
Big Potential – Big Lottery Fund
Big Potential, a BIG Lottery Fund grant fund, will deliver approximately £10m of grant funding over 3 years to eligible VCSE organisations (Voluntary, Community and Social Enterprise organisations) with the aim of improving the sustainability, capacity and scale of VCSE organisations in order that they may deliver greater social impact.  
The programme aims to raise awareness of the social investment market and support VCSEs who want to prepare themselves for social investment.
In July 2015, Big Lottery announced an additional ‘Big Potential Advanced Fund.’ It will be supporting organisations at a more advanced stage in their social investment journey, looking to raise larger investments of over £500,000 as well as win contracts over £1m. The new advanced route will be available to those that are clear about how social investment could work for them and can describe a potential deal or interest from investors and need help to close that deal. Grants of up to £150,000 will be available.
Big Potential’s website can be accessed here.

Inspired Facilities – Sport England
Inspired Facilities is a £110 million programme that funds the renovation and modernisation of local sports facilities.  To date Sport England have helped over 1,800 projects to improve and refurbish sports clubs or transform non-sporting venues into modern grassroots sport facilities. So whether you are a club, local authority, school or parish council Sport England could help you improve your facilities.
Grants are available from £20,000 to £75,000 (up to £150,000 for statutory bodies) for any organisation eligible to receive Lottery funding. Your application should show how your project will keep and, ideally, attract more people to sport and that your project is needed and wanted by the local community.
The next deadline for applications is 4 January 2016.
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.
It is hoped that this second phase of funding, which will be rolled out between April 2015 and March 2018, will once again inspire ambitious, 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.
The Arts Impact Fund – Arts Council
This fund aims to invest for artistic, social and financial return. The Arts Impact Fund will offer repayable finance to arts organisations working in England that can show how they are sustainable; have great artistic ambitions; and have a positive impact on society.
The Fund, created and funded by Bank of America Merrill Lynch, Esmée Fairbairn Foundation and Nesta, supported by Arts Council England and with additional funding from Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation, will offer repayable finance to arts organisations working in England that can show how they are sustainable; have great artistic ambitions; and have a positive impact on society.  It will provide repayable loan finance between £150,000 up to £600,000, and funding needs can vary. For example, an applicant may want to buy or refurbish a building or purchase equipment or need to pay salaries or buy in additional services to help the organisation generate more income, perhaps for a tour or exhibition.
There will be at least five funding rounds from April 2015 to April 2017.
The Preservation of Industrial and Scientific Material (PRISM) Fund – Arts Council
PRISM awards grants towards the costs of acquisition and conservation of items or collections which are important in the history and development of science, technology, industry, and related fields.
The PRISM Fund can offer grants of up to £20,000, or 90 per cent of the total project costs. All accredited museums are eligible except national organisations funded directly through central government.  Applications are also accepted from other charitable or public bodies engaged in the preservation of eligible material. This includes specialist libraries, public repositories and archives or libraries formally linked to local authorities or eligible bodies such as universities and religious organisations.
Applications can be submitted at any time of the year, and will be assessed subject to budgetary constraints. It is intended that a decision will be given within two months of receiving a full application.
Power to Change Initial Grants Programme – Power to Change Trust
The Power to Change is an independent charitable trust endowed with £150 million from the Big Lottery Fund to support community businesses across England.  Power to Change want to back people to build successful community businesses for the benefit of their local places.  The Big Lottery Fund announced its decision to make the endowment to the Power to Change in January 2015.
The Power to Change will fund successful community businesses with ambitious and innovative plans to transform local places, and inspire many more people to start, support and grow community businesses.
By the end of 2015 they aim to have provided £9 million of funding and support to businesses across England.  A majority of this funding will be awarded through the Initial Grants Programme (IGP), an initiative that has been specifically designed to help new and existing community businesses that are in a position to make a step change in their journey towards long term sustainability within the next six months.  In order to help organisations assess whether the Initial Grants Programme funding is suited to their current needs and stage of development, a set of six criteria have been published which organisations/ projects must meet to be considered for funding through the programme.
Grants will be from £50,000 to £500,000 and applications can be made from 12 May 2015 with around 70 organisations aimed to be supported in 2015.

It is intended that other funding programmes will be introduced from late 2015, including:

  • A fund for early stage community businesses
  • A fund to help community businesses that are looking to become sustainable in the long-term

Landfill Communities Fund – SITA Trust
SITA Trust provides funding for physical improvements to community leisure amenities through the Landfill Communities Fund. Not for profit organisations including charities, local authorities and councils can apply. Projects are supported that make physical improvements to community leisure facilities and historic buildings / structures in any of 100 funding zones around qualifying sites owned by SITA UK. Information on the location of these areas is available on the website.
Two funds are available to support improvements to community leisure amenities and historic buildings/structures. The Primary fund offers up to £50,000 to not for profit organisations wishing to improve facilities that benefit the general public. A Smaller Project Fund with no minimum amount offers support of up to £20,000 for vital projects with a shorter delivery timeframe.
The next deadline for applications to both funds is 12 October 2015.
Growth Programme: Grants for the Rural Economy – Defra
The European Growth Programme provides funding to help projects which create jobs and boost the economy in England. These grants are funded by the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development (EAFRD). The Rural Payments Agency (RPA) manages the grants, working with Local Enterprise Partnerships (LEPs) and local partners.

From March 2015, the RPA is publishing ‘calls for applications’ under the Growth Programme. The calls for application invite applications for grants in specific LEP areas.   Calls for applications are currently open in a limited number of LEP 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 website states that calls for applications will open across the country “from June.” 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

If you wish to subscribe to a newsletter regarding this programme and other elements of the wider Rural Development Programme for England please follow this link.
Community Buildings 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.
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.
Planning Enforcement Fund – Department for Communities and local Government
This new time-limited Fund is available to local planning authorities in England, including National Parks.  The scheme provides a grant of up to £10,000 or 50% of its legal costs (whichever is the lesser) to local planning authorities to secure a Court injunction to prevent actual or apprehended breaches of planning control.  The scheme will run for the financial years 2014/15 and 2015/16 commencing in January 2015 and ending in March 2016.
Grants for War Memorials – War Memorials Trust
This scheme, funded by English Heritage and The Wolfson Foundation and administered by War Memorials Trust, is currently being reviewed.  As such, information may be subject to amendment in the near future.  A maximum of 75% of eligible costs are available up to a maximum grant of £30,000.  Eligible projects are:

  • Freestanding war memorials in England with no other functional purpose than as a war memorial (plaques, bridges and buildings, for example are ineligible)
  • Projects must be over £3,000 to be eligible

Eligible works include: urgent and necessary repairs and structural stabilisation; cleaning, under certain circumstances; works relating to ‘hard’ landscaping which form an integral part of the design of the memorial; reinstatement of lost elements which form an integral part of the design of the memorial when supported by historical evidence.
Ineligible works include: new war memorials; works to graves of any type; maintenance; alterations or additions to the original design; relocation; addition of names; cosmetic cleaning; work which has already started or been completed.
Annual deadlines are 31 March, 30 June, 30 September and 31 December.  The scheme is currently confirmed until 2015.

Childcare Business Grants Scheme – Government Equalities Office
The Childcare New Business Grants Scheme has been introduced to boost the provision of childcare in England and to incentivise entrepreneurship. It will encourage and support the starting up of new childcare businesses by providing a flat rate start-up grant of:

  • £500 for new childminding businesses setting up in England (those who are looking after one or more children to whom they are not related, on domestic premises, for reward and for a total of more than 2 hours in any day);
  • £1000 for new childminding businesses, as above, that will provide care for disabled children (applicants will need to demonstrate that they have incurred additional expenditure in setting up their business as a result of this);
  • £1000 for new nursery, out of school club, or childcare on domestic premises setting up in England.

The scheme was due to finish in 2014 but the government subsequently announced a further £2 million extension for the existing Childcare Business Grant scheme to cover 2015-16.

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. RCEF provides support in two stages:

  • Stage 1 provides a grant of up to approximately £20,000 to pay for an initial investigation into the feasibility of a renewable energy project.
  • Stage 2 provides an unsecured loan of up to approximately £130,000 to support planning applications and develop a robust business case to attract further investment.

The fund is being delivered on behalf of the government by the Waste and Resources Action Programme (WRAP). Applications will be reviewed on a monthly basis and there is no set deadline for bids
Urban Community Energy Fund
The Urban Community Energy Fund (UCEF) is the urban counterpart to the RCEF and was launched on 13 November 2014.  UCEF is a £10m fund to kick-start renewable energy generation projects in urban communities across England. Community groups will be able to access grants and loans to support renewable energy developments.
Grants of up to £20,000 are available for the more speculative, early stages of a project’s development, such as public consultation and preliminary viability studies.
UCEF will also provide loans of up to £130,000 to develop planning applications and a robust business case to attract further investment. This is intended to help projects become ‘investment ready’, that is, at the right stage to secure a bank loan or another form of investment.
The deadlines for applications are the last Friday of every other month – January, March, May, July, September and November.
Reaching Communities England – Big Lottery Fund
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. If you think you need more than £500,000 you must call Big Lottery before applying to discuss why you believe a larger project is appropriate. There is no upper limit for total project costs.  Reaching Communities can fund salaries, running costs, a contribution towards core costs and equipment.  Reaching Communities can also fund up to £100,000 for land, buildings or refurbishment capital costs.
All projects must address one or more of the following outcomes:

  • People have better chances in life, with better access to training and development to improve their life skills,
  • Stronger communities, with more active citizens, working together to tackle their problems,
  • Improved rural and urban environments, which communities are better able to access and enjoy,
  • Healthier and more active people and communities

There is a two stage application process.  After submitting a Reaching Communities Stage One application form, applicants will be told within 6 weeks whether the project is one that might be considered for funding. If successful, the applicant will be sent a Stage Two application form. Applicants will usually have four months to complete this.
Reaching Communities Buildings – Big Lottery Fund
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 (for revenue funding or funding for a land and buildings project of less than £100,000, see Reaching Communities England).
Funding is available for building grants up to 2015 and there are currently no deadlines for applications. However, the programme is regularly reviewed and applicants are encouraged to apply as soon as they are ready.  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.

On-Farm Anaerobic Digestion Fund - WRAP
The On-Farm Anaerobic Digestion (AD) Fund has been developed to help farmers in England get financial support to build small-scale AD plants on their farms
The fund is being delivered on behalf of the government by the Waste and Resources Action Programme (WRAP). WRAP understand that the main barriers to developing AD on farms are: access to finance; availability of reference sites for technologies and case studies; demonstration of the benefits of AD; the potential high cost of technology.
To address these barriers and encourage the uptake of small-scale on-farm AD in the UK WRAP has developed a programme to help farms access finance, provide case studies and demonstration information and provide support for farmers who want to use AD on their farm.  The fund will be available to farms in England, that have access to slurries or manures; and who wish to build AD plants producing up to 250k/W of power.
The scheme is split into two parts:

  • A business plant grant up to £10,000 to investigate the environmental and economic potential of building an AD plant on the farm.
  • A capital loan up to £400,000 (or a maximum of 50% of the project cost). This is available for AD plants producing up to 250kW of power.

There is a rolling programme for applications.
Heritage Project Grants – Heritage Lottery Fund
The Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) funds projects which focus on heritage.  HLF offer a range of different grant programmes with grants from £3,000 to over £5million. In assessing applications, HLF take account of the broad range of outcomes for heritage, people and communities that projects will achieve.  HLF programmes include:

  • Start Up Grants – grants of between £3,000-£10,000 to help create a new organisation to look after heritage or engage people with it. This grant can also support existing groups taking on new responsibilities for heritage.
  • Grants for Places of Worship – historic places of worship are often at the heart of communities. Grants from £10,000–£250,000 can fund urgent structural repairs and help to make them better places for everyone to visit.
  • Parks for People – for projects related to historic parks and cemeteries in the UK. You can apply for a grant from £100,000 to £5million. Applications go through a two round process and must be submitted by either 28 February for a decision in June or by 31 August for a decision in December.
  • Transition Funding – available to organisations in the UK who want to achieve significant strategic change (through acquiring new skills or knowledge, or new models of governance, leadership, business and income) in order to become more resilient and sustain improved management of heritage for the long term.  To apply you must be a previous recipient of an HLF grant.  You can apply for a grant of more than £10,000 and up to £100,000.
  • 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.
  • Sharing Heritage – 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.
  • Our Heritage – 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.  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.
  • Heritage Grants – HLF’s open programme for any type of project related to the national, regional, or local heritage in the UK. You can apply for a grant of over £100,000. Heritage Grants applications go through a two-round process. This is so that you can apply at an early stage of planning your project and get an idea of whether you have a good chance of getting a grant before you submit your proposals in greater detail.
  • Young Roots – 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.

For information on all HLF programmes visit the website.