Grants between £250 and £5,000 for projects and organisations tackling disadvantage in Somerset. Next deadline: 15 May 2020.
Somerset Community Foundation manages over 84 different funds on behalf of individuals, companies, and local government. Most of the grants that are made from these funds are called Foundation Grants. They are awarded every three months by a panel of local people.
Who can apply?
We want to make grants to a wide range of groups. We are particularly keen to support grassroots voluntary groups, local charities and social enterprises based in Somerset. We do not normally offer grants to large UK-wide charities, but we might do so where there is a strong relationship to Somerset.
Please note that we do not award grants in the unitary authorities of BANES or North Somerset. Applicants from those areas should contact Quartet Community Foundation.
You do not have to be a registered charity to apply, but the work you ask us to support must be legally charitable. You must have:
- a bank account in the name of your group.
- a governing document.
- a management committee / board of local people.
We also require groups that work with children or vulnerable adults to have a safeguarding policy.
We will ask you for a copy of a recent bank statement, your most recent accounts, a copy of your governing document, the names of the people on your committee, and your safeguarding policy (if appropriate) as part of your application. You may like to get these documents ready before starting. New applicants will also be asked to supply a referee.
More guidance is available for groups that:
- have been awarded grants from the Foundation in the past.
- are social enterprises, including CICs.
- run village halls and other community buildings.
- are statutory bodies, such as parish councils or schools.
We strongly encourage you to read this additional guidance if it applies to your group and to contact us if you have any queries.
Who can’t apply?
We cannot normally support the following:
- Individuals (see grants to individuals)
- Sponsorship and fundraising events
- Animal welfare
- Groups that have more than 12 months running costs in unrestricted reserves
- Promotion of religion (including repairs to buildings used solely for worship)
- Activities that are a statutory duty or are not charitable
- Activities that have already taken place
- Projects where funds are distributed to a third party
- Projects that take place outside Somerset, unless they benefit Somerset residents
How much is available?
Grants are usually made between £250 and £5,000. The average grant size is £2,400.
We occasionally make grants for more than £5,000. If you would like to apply for more than £5,000 then we would recommend that you contact us first to discuss your application.
In the last year, we have made over £500,000 of grants to groups.
How long are grants for?
We expect most of our grants to be spent within 12 months of the award date. We’ll ask you to submit a short report back to us within six weeks of the end of your grant. Reminders and a report form will be emailed to you.
In some instances, a grant may be awarded over two or three years. In such instances, a short interim report is requested at the end of each year.
What do we want to fund?
While we will consider a wide range of applications, we are particularly keen to award grants to:
- support grassroots voluntary groups (usually with a turnover of under £50,000) with funds for their core costs, for capital purchases, and for specific projects.
- support small-to-medium-sized charities and social enterprises (usually with a turnover of under £1 million) with funds to help improve efficiencies and effectiveness.
- Support the growth of grassroots VCSE organisations in the most disadvantaged areas across the country, while recognising the additional risks this may involve.
Somerset Community Foundation manages over 80 different funds to make its Foundation Grants. For 2017 approximately 80% of our funding is restricted to the following areas:
- Supporting vulnerable, isolated and lonely older people and their carers.
- Supporting communities affected by rural disadvantage, particularly as it relates to transport.
- Improving the life opportunities for disadvantaged children, young people and their families.
- Supporting people living with, or recovering from, mental ill-health.
Our remaining funds are unrestricted and can therefore be considered for other areas of work.
How do I make an application?
Applications for a grant can be submitted at any time. However, most of our decisions are made at a quarterly grants panel meeting. The deadlines for our meetings in 2019/20 are:
- 7 February 2020
- 15 May 2020
- 14 August 2020
- 13 November 2020
We encourage all applicants to use our online application form, which can be accessed using the link below. This form allows you to save draft versions of your application and return to it later (via an email link sent to your inbox).
However, if you require a paper version of the application form then please call us on 01749 344949.
The form requires you to complete a series of questions about your group and your project, including your budget. You will also be asked to provide a referee (if you have not received a grant from us in the last three years) and upload supporting documents.
We aim to award grants within six weeks of a decision being made. This time is required as we also consult with our donors who decide whether they wish to contribute to the grant from their particular fund. We encourage you to take this time into account when you make your application to us.
Unfortunately, we cannot make a grant to every applicant. Your application may be for an important project in your local community, but we may simply not have enough money available to award you a grant. If your application is turned down, we will tell you why it was unsuccessful, but there is no right of appeal. However, a complaints process is available if you have a complaint about the application of our principles and processes.