Early Help Fund

 Grants between £10,000 and £25,000 per year to provide the support families need before a challenge becomes a crisis. Next deadline: 20 March 2020


We want Somerset families to get the support they need before a challenge becomes a crisis.

We will help community groups to provide that support by awarding grants of between £10,000 and £25,000 per year for up to three years.

Grants will be awarded to groups that can show us how they can build the resilience of families in Somerset.

When we talk about resilience, we mean the ability to bounce back from adversity, beat the odds, and do better than you think given the circumstances.

The Somerset Early Help Fund is a partnership between Somerset County Council and Somerset Community Foundation.

Who can apply?

The Fund is open to community groups, registered charities and social enterprises that are supporting, or would like to support, families in Somerset.

We expect to award all of our grants to groups based in Somerset.

We will only award a grant to a larger national organisation if there are strong connections to our county.

To apply, your group must have a:

If you already receive funding from Somerset County Council for similar work, please contact us for a conversation before you write your bid.

Who can’t apply?

We cannot award grants to statutory organisations, commercial companies or individuals.

We will also not support:

How much is available?

The Somerset Early Help Fund totals £200,000 per year.

Groups will be awarded grants of between £10,000 and £25,000 per year for up to three years.

That means the largest grant you can apply for is £75,000.

We expect the average award to be around £15,000 per year.

How long are grants for?

You can apply for funding for between one and three years.

Annual payments will only be made upon receipt of a satisfactory interim report.

What do we want to fund?

We want to fund groups that can build the resilience of families with children aged 0-19.

That means you must work directly with families and support them to improve the outcomes for their children.

The families you work with will be experiencing complex problems. This may include mental health issues such as depression or anxiety, negative relationships, alcohol or drug dependency. However, these issues will not meet the eligibility criteria for statutory support.

As part of your work we expect you to connect families to the resources and opportunities that already exist in their neighbourhood.

This is important, as we do not want families to become dependent on your group’s support in the long term.

We can award a grant to pay for:

You can also request a contribution to your group’s overheads. You may call these your core costs.

A grant can be used to support a successful project that you already run, or a new project.

If you apply for a project you already run, then you must explain what you have achieved so far.

Measuring the difference your work makes to families is an important part of the Somerset Early Help Fund.

We therefore plan to work with groups who are awarded a grant to create an impact measurement framework for early help.  This will be challenging, so we want to find organisations who understand the issues and are keen to find a solution.

How do I make an application?

You can apply for a grant from Monday 10 February to Friday 20 March.

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 contact us.

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.

The supporting documents you must provide are:

If we have any questions about your application we will contact you between Monday 23 March and Friday 10 April.

A panel made up of representatives of Somerset County Council and Somerset Community Foundation will meet in late April.

The panel will consider your group’s:

The panel will also consider your project’s:

We expect to make awards around the whole of Somerset. This means the panel will also consider the location of all the groups who have applied and try to avoid any duplications.

You may therefore want to talk to other groups who might apply and talk about how you can coordinate your projects.

We will let you know the panel’s decision by the end of April.

Your project can therefore start at the beginning of May, or at a later date if you need to recruit staff.

We expect your project to start no later than 1 July2020.

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.

The contact for the Somerset Early Help Fund is Andy Ridgewell who is a Programme Manager at Somerset Community Foundation. If you have any questions about the Fund then please contact Andy on andrew.ridgewell@somersetcf.org.uk or on 01749 344949.

Apply for a grant

The Early Help Fund is supported by Somerset County Council. 


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