Before you apply for a grant
Please note: We’ll be pausing many of our programmes for groups and individuals from early March until mid-April, while we make some major changes to our website and internal system.
These updates will improve the application process, offering better functionality and creating a more effective user journey.
There are a few things you need to know about the grants we give to groups. We:
- Give most of our money to smaller groups based here in Somerset
- Will only be able to support you if you meet our minimum standards (from January 2024)
- Manage lots of different pots of money. You need to use the list below to decide which one you should apply to.
- Cannot support everyone who applies to us. We’re usually able to support 2 out of every 3 applications we receive.
- Will talk to you if you don’t know where to start.
The last point is an important one, as we don’t want you to waste your time applying for a grant if you are unlikely to be successful in getting it.
Our team really is here to help, so pick up the phone or send us an email. The contact details of a member of our Programmes Team are at the bottom of each page. Please contact us for guidance or if you have any questions regarding our grants.
What if my group has never had a grant before?
A grant is money you do not have to pay back. If your group is just starting out and you don’t know how grants work, then talk to our Programmes Team and they will talk you through it.
If you’re still setting up your group and have questions about how to register it, what policies you need, how to find volunteers and so on, then Spark Somerset may also be able to help you.
What we really want to do is give more money to groups led by and for people who’ve not benefited from our grants before. This includes groups led by and for:
- minority ethnic communities
- deaf and disabled people
- the LGBTQ+ community
Our grants for groups
Our Main Grants are for local groups so they can provide the extra support that some people need in our community. You can ask for a grant of between £1,000 and £5,000 from here if your group is applying for funding to support its work with Somerset residents (but not BANES and North Somerset), and provides targeted support to at least one of the following:
- children and young people to help them reach their potential and address the challenges they face
- adults with mental health problems to maintain their own health and wellbeing
- older people to age well and reduce isolation and loneliness
Discovery Community Fund
The Discovery Community Fund has been created to make Somerset the best possible place for adults with learning disabilities and autism. It provides grants to individual people and organisations to make this happen. There are 2 different types of grant:
- Small Sparks – up to £500 for individuals (open now)
- Inclusion grants
You can ask for a grant between £250 and £20,000 if your group:
- normally runs on less than £250,000
- works in a Somerset community that has been affected by the construction of Hinkley Point C (but not communities in North Somerset or BANES)
- can improve community wellbeing and quality of life through your work.
This is an ongoing programme with decisions made every 8 weeks.
Hinkley Point C Community Fund Open Grants
You can ask for a grant of over £5,000 if your group:
- is based in the county of Somerset (but not North Somerset or BANES)
- works in one or more communities that have been impacted by the construction of Hinkley Point C, or you wish to support people in your community to take advantage of its opportunities.
- will improve your community wellbeing and quality of life through your work
Oake Sunshine Fund
You can ask for a grant of up to £2,000 from here if your community or voluntary organisation, registered charity or social enterprise:
- Provides activities, services or facilities that benefit the residents of the parish of Oake, including the hamlets of Heathfield, Hillcommon, Hillfarrance and Oake.
Applications can be submitted at any time but will be considered at the next upcoming panel meeting in either the spring or autumn.
Closed Grant Programmes
The programmes below are currently closed. However, you can view previous grant guidelines by clicking through to the pages. Please note, these grant guidelines may change when/if the programme reopens to applications. Please make sure you read the new guidelines before you submit your grant application.
Our money is given out at the discretion of our trustees. That means there is no ‘entitlement’ to our grants in the same way there might be to some money that is given out by the Government.
We may not give you any money because you don’t meet the criteria of the fund, or because we don’t have enough money to award everyone a grant.
We’ll tell you why we’re not giving you any money, but there is no right of appeal.
A complaints process is available if you disagree with the way we run our grants service.