The most important element of many community projects is gaining and securing an ongoing commitment of people’s time, skills and enthusiasm. That said, many projects also require an amount of funding to start off and this will often involve an application to a funding provider. These providers can be national, regional or local and will deal with a huge range of community projects.
The Worcestershire Partnership has developed an online resource aimed at helping community groups and other organisations secure funds. This is a great place to start your search for funds.
There are other local sources of funding available and further information can be found by following the links:
- BIG Lottery Funding
- New Homes Bonus (Wychavon District Council)
- Wychavon Community Grant Scheme
- Trusthouse Charitable Trust
- Rooftop Community Fund
- Welcome to Our Future
Other local funds – remember that some parishes can hold their own very local sources of funding which may be suitable such as Parish Lands schemes or other area specific charities.
Community organisations such as Community First can help and give advice to community groups and Parish Councils searching for funds for projects. Their website is a good starting point for this and can be found here. However, to start things off we have put together a few top tips to consider when applying for funds.
Top tips for applying fo funding
Most funders will ask for evidence that the project is needed and community consultation is an important way of getting this. Advertise consultation events well and let people know what you are doing them for. Often combining a consultation with another event, such as a village fete, is a good way of ensuring that plenty of people get the opportunity to input and have their say. Sometimes providing incentives is a good way of increasing the numbers of responses to a consultation. For example, every response gets put into a prize draw to win a free meal at the local pub or restaurant. Remember that often different parts of the community attend different events so you may need to hold two or three different events to get a good number and representative range of responses.
If you need more information on your local area then the Knowing Wychavon Communities report is a good place to start.
Tailor your application
Each funding organisation will have different requirements and reasons for giving. It is important to understand the aims and objectives of the organisation to which you are applying to have the best chance of being successful. Spend some time making sure that your project suits the eligibility criteria and avoid cutting and pasting wherever possible. Also don’t be tempted to adjust your own project too drastically to fit the eligibility criteria as this could dilute your initial idea.
Many funders are keen to fund start up costs, an initial injection of money that will get the project running. Try to make sure that your project is not completely reliant on external funding to run and ideally that the project can become self sustaining. For example a subsidised lunch club might become fully self sustaining once established and valued within the community.
Remember “in kind” support
Not many funders will cover all the costs of a project and there will often be an expectation that you will provide some contribution yourselves. This could be a financial contribution or “in kind” support. “In kind” support means that the hours and skills and resources (such as venues and facilities) provided by volunteers and other partners can have a financial cost attributed to them which can act as a contribution towards the project costs. Where possible try to keep a log of the hours contributed by volunteers from the start of the project as this could make a real difference to the success of any funding application.
Understandably, funders will want to know what impact your project will make on your community. Outcomes will vary from project to project but try to ensure that they are both challenging and realistic and bear in mind the funders key aims. It is always tempting to be over ambitious when it comes to outcomes but most funders would prefer projects to over achieve against a realistic target than under achieve on an unrealistic one.