As an independent funder, an important part of our role is to support work which is untried, tests new approaches but has clear objectives. We favour work which could change the way issues are tackled in our society and which could have lessons for others beyond the funded organisation.
We receive many more applications than we can fund and for this reason have a two-stage application process to reduce the time and effort you spend making your application.
It may help to look at examples of recent grants before you apply.
We will consider applications in the fields of arts, health and wellbeing, education in its widest sense, and those that cover social issues. Our focus is to connect communities, building bridges between marginalised groups and mainstream society, and to enable individuals to reach their full potential. Within these broad criteria, we have a number of areas of special interest:
- Young people’s improved mental health;
- Arts as a tool to achieve social change;
- Improved quality of life for carers and for older people.
We particularly welcome applications addressing these issues but will consider applications in other subjects which meet our broader criteria.
Characteristics of the organisations and projects that we fund
We look for all of the following characteristics in the organisations and projects that we fund:
Wider than local application and awareness of the bigger picture
We favour organisations and projects which could change the way issues are tackled in our society and which could have lessons for others beyond the funded organisation. We look for good ideas that other people can learn from, creative ways of tackling entrenched or new problems, and ideas which have potential to be replicable. As a result, we are more likely to fund projects which are untried or in their early-to-mid stages of development than established, long-running services. The organisations we fund will demonstrate an awareness of what is going on in their field nationally and how their work complements what else is available. They will be able to tell us why they are best placed to deliver the proposed activity.
Real expertise and sector knowledge
The organisations we fund will be experts in their field. They will have a good understanding of the needs of their client groups and how to support people to bring about change. They will demonstrate capacity for listening and responsiveness to beneficiaries and partners. They will be thoughtful and creative in their thinking about how to meet those needs. We will assess whether plans to deliver the work are realistic and achievable. We will also look at the financial aspects and what might happen beyond the life of the grant.
Commitment to demonstrating results and sharing learning
The organisations we fund will be able to explain why they believe their activities will lead to positive change for users and how they will gather evidence to demonstrate this. We favour organisations which think carefully about how to evaluate their work and which plan to share their learning widely. If the work could be funded on an ongoing basis by statutory agencies, we want to understand if the evidence is sufficient to meet the needs of potential commissioners.
Strong leadership, management and track record
We want to see that funded organisations are well governed and managed, that they have good finance and risk management systems, and that they have the necessary skills and expertise to deliver their objectives. We also believe in backing good people and will favour organisations led by capable and committed people who are ambitious for their organisations and their users. We want to see a track record.
Direct benefits to vulnerable and disadvantaged people
We prefer to fund work which brings clear and direct benefits to vulnerable and disadvantaged people. This means that we are more likely to fund front-line organisations and will only fund second-tier or research organisations for projects which have a demonstrable benefit to end users.
What sort of organisation can we fund?
We fund charitable and not-for-profit organisations. We target our funding towards issues and organisations which do not enjoy widespread public support. Large, national organisations or ‘household name charities’ are unlikely to receive a grant unless they are the only organisation in a position to tackle a particular problem. We do not fund statutory bodies such as hospitals, local authorities, government departments or schools.
What sort of grant can we make?
We will consider funding salaries and project costs (including a reasonable contribution to overheads or on-costs) for up to three years. We do consider grants towards an organisation’s core costs but we only tend to award these when an organisation is making a step-change in the way that it works or tackles a particular issue and where a core grant will provide greater flexibility during the transition period.
Typical grant size
Our grants typically fall in the range of £10,000 - £20,000 per annum for up to three years. We prefer to fund alongside others as we are unlikely to be able to fund your project in full. We will also consider the size of your request relative to your overall turnover. Small, newer organisations in particular are unlikely to receive a larger grant from us if that would equate to more than 10% of total income, unless it is towards and organisation’s first paid post. Please consider all of these factors when deciding how much to ask for.
We consider that organisations with high levels of unrestricted reserves are in less need of our funding. This means that organisations with more than nine months’ running costs in unrestricted reserves are less likely to receive support. At the same time, organisations with tiny reserves or an overall deficit will need to convince us that their organisation is viable and they are taking action to increase reserves.