Small grant opportunities go begging

Grassroots Grants is an £80m three year programme aimed at local community groups, including those involved in local history and heritage related activities, which is funded by the Office of the Third Sector and overseen by the Community Development Foundation. It is due to end in March 2011. To find out which organisation runs the small grants scheme in your area go to the Community Development Foundation website ( then choose 'Grassroots Grants' from the list in the left-hand column. The grants are limited to a minimum of £250 and a maximum of £5,000.

Like all grants, to qualify you have to meet certain criteria and there is competition for the money, which is allocated to a wide range of projects. In Lenton, Nottingham, for example, the fund has recently awarded a grant to allow a number of panels to be created for our community café, which will show what the neighbourhood looked like before it was redeveloped in the 1960s. To qualify, your group will have to show the local funding agents (they vary from county to county) that it:

  • is a not-for-profit, third sector voluntary group, active in its local community for not less than 12 months prior to 31 December 2007;
  • has accounts showing an income of less than £20,000 per annum, taken as an average turnover for the last three financial years (or over the life of the group if it is less than three years old), net of any grants already received through the Grassroots Grants programme;
  • is volunteer led (i.e. with largely volunteer based input);
  • is connected with and/or meeting the needs of the local community;
  • has a governing document that shows the name, aim/purpose, objects, a dissolution clause for the organisation, a list of Trustees/Committee members, and Trustees/Committee member signatures.

In some parts of England, there is still money in the 2008/2009 budgets, which has to be allocated (and possibly spent) by 31 March 2009, so it's worth checking if you can get an application in quickly and spend the money immediately, all this assuming the funding agency's Grants Panel have a meeting before the end of March 2009. The good news is that you can apply for grants until late-2010. Although the funding is until 31 march 2011, you should allow yourself enough time to spend the money, should you be awarded a Grassroots Grant. It well worth looking into. Local history related groups have as good a chance as any.

13 February 2009

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