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 provides a variety of grant programmes that help community groups and charities in Oxfordshire improve people’s lives.

They operate three main grant programmes, as well as running programmes on behalf of other funders, as shown below. To decide which programme is most suitable for your group, you should consider the scale and ambition of the work you are applying for money for, and whether your work fits with OCF’s priorities. Dates for each grant round through to the end of 2020 are given on each individual programme page.


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

  • Youth Opportunities Fund

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 

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.

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

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:

The funding priorities for April 2018 to March 2019 include:

  • Armed Forces Covenant: local grants and digital development
  • Armistice and Armed Forces Communities: supporting local communities to consider the Armed Forces Covenant and its relevance today in the context of the World War 1 commemorations

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

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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 up to £12,000 and a small grants programme for awards of under £4,000 operate throughout the year.

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.

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.

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

Neighbourhood Planning Grants – Locality

Locality will continue to deliver the Neighbourhood Planning Support Programme over the next four years, from 2018-2022. The programme builds on the 2015-18 programme and any support that you have previously received will be taken in to account. The programme will provide anyone working on a neighbourhood plan with support from the Locality team, AECOM and other partners/specialists through:

  • a basic grant of up to £9,000
  • additional grants for eligible groups with an extra £8,000
  • technical support through expert partners AECOM and other specialists

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.

Find out more by using the Government funded grant finder