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Volunteer to help us get money to small charities and community groups that need it most

About us and the role:

What: We’re looking for a volunteer grants panel member. We're asking for a commitment of around 6 unpaid days per year, plus expenses if you need them.

Deadline to apply: 21 May 2021

We give out over £1 million every year to small charities and community groups in Somerset. We give this money out as grants.

Many groups apply to us for money, and we’ll never have enough for everyone.

Making decisions about which groups get some money and which don’t is one of the most important things we do.

We want you to help us make those decisions.

Our volunteer grants panel

A group of volunteers meet 4 times a year to decide who gets some of this money.

We call this a grants panel.

We’re looking for people to join a panel that will have about £250,000 to give out each year in grants of between £1,000 and £5,000. This money is mainly for small charities and community groups in Somerset that support:

• children and young people
• older people
• better mental health.

Volunteers work together to make the best decisions they can with the money we have.

This isn’t easy, but we’ll support you to make your decisions. We’ll also give you some training before you start.

Our panels represent our communities

We welcome applications from people of all ages and backgrounds. Whether you have lots of experience making decisions like this or want to take your first step, we would love to hear from you.

At the moment our panels don’t always represent all of Somerset’s diverse communities. We would especially welcome applications from people with disabilities, minority ethnic people, or LGBTQ+ people.

We are committed to increasing opportunities for people to contribute to their local community. This means we will respond positively to your individual needs during the recruitment process.


What do I need to become a volunteer grants panel member?

Everyone who joins our panel knows different things and has lived different lives. It’s these differences that help the panel make good decisions.

You don’t need experience of sitting on a panel and you don’t need any qualifications or work experience.

What you do need is:

• a passion for Somerset
• some knowledge of the amazing work done by small charities and community groups
• a willingness to work with others to tackle some difficult decisions
• some free time to read about the things people are asking for money for before a meeting
• flexibility to attend panel meetings
• basic computer skills
• to be at least 18 years of age.

We can pay expenses to help you take part. This might include travel costs to attend a meeting or childcare.

When would you need me?

There are 4 meetings a year.

We hold meetings at different times of the day, including evenings and weekends. We hope this makes it easier for you to take part.

At the moment we’re not meeting face-to-face because of the coronavirus. People join our meetings from their home using Zoom. We hope to start meeting people face-to-face again soon.

But even when we meet face-to-face there will always be an option to join using Zoom. If you’ve not used it before, Zoom is a video conferencing tool. We send you a link. You turn your camera on if you feel comfortable.

A week before the meeting we’ll send you information about the small charities and community groups that have asked for money.

It’s important that you have the time to read this information and come to the meeting with your ideas.

How do I join?

To take part, we’d like you to fill in a short form online. In the form you’ll need to:

• provide some basic contact details so we can get in touch with you
• write some answers to 3 questions.

Please be aware that if lots of people want to volunteer to join the panel, not everyone will be able to take part. If this happens we’ll talk to you about it.

Click here to apply.


Finally, if you’d like to have a chat about this voluntary role then please email Andy Ridgewell on or call 01749 344949.



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