We are unsure if this grant programme will reopen to applications
Growing and Cooking Grants are available to support community-led food projects that make healthier food accessible for everyone.
It is a partnership between the Council and Somerset Community Foundation, assisted by the Somerset Council Healthy Lifestyles Team and Somerset Community Food.
This year we are particularly keen to receive applications from projects that promote, encourage or carry out cooking activities in the community.
Growing and Cooking Grants will support projects that involve:
- teaching and supporting people in your community how to shop and cook healthier
- serving balanced and nutritious communal meals
- growing food as a community effort
- educating local people about healthy food and nutrition
- using food, cooking and growing projects to help connect local people to each other
- building networks of community-led food projects.
How much can my group apply for?
Groups can usually apply for a grant of between £500 and £5,000, which would need to be spent within 12 months.
We can consider requests up to £10,000 to be spent over 24 months. If you would like to apply for more than £5,000 then please contact us, using the details at the bottom of this page, before starting an application.
We expect most grants to be around £3,000.
When can we apply and when will you make awards?
We are unsure if this grant programme will reopen to applications.
Which groups can apply for this money?
You can only apply if you work or volunteer for a group that:
- is based in Somerset (but not BANES or North Somerset)
- is run by a committee or board of at least 3 unrelated people
- has a governing document or set of rules
- has an appropriate level of free reserves. If this is more than 12 months running costs, then you should have a policy explaining why
- has a safeguarding policy (see our safeguarding policy expectations here)
- has a bank account in its name, which requires two unrelated signatories.
We welcome applications from groups that exist to promote community engagement and inclusion. We can award money to groups that are not registered charities, but the purpose of the funding must be charitable. This means we can give a grant to:
- community groups
- registered charities
- community amateur sports clubs
- community interest companies (CIC) limited by guarantee that have a clear asset lock benefitting local communities
- companies limited by guarantee that are not-for-profit with all surpluses re-invested back into the organisation
- faith organisations, where there is no promotion of religion
- community benefit societies
- local statutory organisations, like parish councils or schools.
What can my group use this money for?
You can use these grants for new or existing community-led food projects.
Among other things, this means you can use this money to:
- buy cooking equipment and food supplies for cookery classes
- improve disability access to your cooking or growing venue
- pay for people’s time to run courses or training programmes
- buy things like fencing, seeds, topsoil (peat free), or compost
- cover the cost of venues for cooking activities or community meals
- install water supplies, water harvesting equipment, small timber buildings
- fund some of your group’s core running costs, like insurance and utilities.
You may have other things in mind that you need money for, so if you’re unsure then please contact us.
What can’t my group use this money for?
We can’t give money to:
- individuals, sole traders or companies limited by shares
- pay for statutory duties
- activities that have already taken place or purchases that you have already made
- groups that give money to another group, rather than spend it on their own activities
- activities that are about animal welfare.
Please note that we cannot help you to buy land. We also can’t use this fund to support emergency food distribution via foodbanks.
How much money is available?
We have about £75,000 to give out and expect to make about 20-25 grants in total.
What sort of projects will you support?
Our aim for this fund is to make healthier food accessible for everyone.
There are different ways to do this, and we want to support a wide range of projects.
This might include things like:
- creating or developing a community garden, farm or orchard on unused local space
- school or nursery pupils raising seedlings and sharing them with a local care home
- cookery classes that build people’s confidence and skills to cook healthy meals on a budget
- building networks of community food projects to share ideas or produce
- developing local awareness of where our food comes from and the impact this has on the natural environment
- bringing people together to grow and eat as a community.
If you are an allotment group, you need to show in your application how you are linked to and involve the wider community.
Take a look at some of the projects that already exist in Somerset for more inspiration: Growing Grants – Inspiring Community Growing Projects.
Which groups are more likely to get some money?
We expect lots of groups to apply and we will not be able to support everyone. We’re more likely to give you some money if your group:
- is based in a neighbourhood that is within the 20% most deprived nationally. You can find out if you are in one of these areas by putting your postcode into this tool. If you’re based outside of these areas then you can still apply, but we will give priority to more deprived neighbourhoods
- has thought about how your project could become sustainable in your community beyond the life of a grant, although we understand some projects will need more funding to continue
- can clearly explain why it is needed and in what ways it aims to promote inclusive community-led food initiatives
- is running a project that promotes, encourages or carries out cooking activities in the community.
What safeguarding checks do you do?
We take the safeguarding of children and adults at risk seriously. Every group that applies to us for money must have a safeguarding policy which is up-to-date and relevant to the people they work with.
We ask for a copy of your safeguarding policy when you apply. When we read it, we need to be able to understand your commitment to protecting the people you support, your staff, and your volunteers. We may need to ask you questions if there are things that we would expect to see in your policy that are missing. You can see our safeguarding policy expectations here.
How do I make an application?
You can apply for this money using our online application form. Click on the link at the bottom of this page.
You’ll be taken to a registration page. Read the instructions and then enter your email address. We’ll email you a link to an online form. If you don’t see an email from us after a few minutes, then please check your spam/junk mail folder.
You don’t have to complete the form in one go. Instead, you can complete some sections then click ‘save draft’ at the bottom of the page. Use the link in your email to return to the form at another time.
Our forms capture basic data on the applicant, delivery area, budget breakdown etc. and we then request applicants complete some narrative questions, which will include the following:
- What would you spend the money on if we gave it to you?
- How does this help to make healthier food accessible for everyone?
- What plans do you have to make sure everyone follows food hygiene standards?
- How do you keep everyone safe? This includes staff, volunteers and the people you work with. We want to understand your commitment to protecting your staff, volunteers and people you work with from any abuse. To see our safeguarding policy expectations please visit this page of our website.
- Who else are you working with to make sure this project helps those who need it the most?
- Will your project continue beyond this grant and, if so, how?
You may like to prepare your answers separately and then copy them into the online form.
You also need to attach the following documents alongside your application:
- your governing document or set of rules
- your most recent accounts
- the names and addresses of the people who run your group, if it is not registered with the Charity Commission or Companies House
- your safeguarding policy
- a bank statement from within the last three months. This can be a scanned paper statement, or a copy downloaded from an online account. We need to see the bank name, your group’s name, the address where statements go, the account number and the sort code. You may redact transactions if needed.
Apart from the bank statement, please do not provide the above documents if you have sent them to us within the past six months unless they have been amended during that time.
Finally, you must read the terms and conditions and click ‘submit’ to send your application to us.
Please contact us if you can’t use the online form, or you are unable to attach any of the documents. We’ll support you to make your application in another way.
If you cannot attach your supporting documents, then these can by submitted separately using the contact details on the application form. However, they must reach us by the deadline.
What happens to my application?
Every application we receive by the deadline will be looked at by Somerset Community Foundation. If you meet the criteria and have supplied all the supporting documents, then we’ll read your application and make a recommendation to the grants panel.
The grants panel will include people from Somerset Council, The Healthy Lifestyles Team, and Somerset Community Food. The panel will decide which applications will receive a grant.
What do I have to do if I get a grant?
We want to use this money to try and understand what works well in Somerset, so if you’re successful we will set up some opportunities for you to talk to other grantees and share ideas.
We will ask you to provide feedback within 12 months of your grant award. We will give you a link to an online End of Grant Report form to tell us how the money was spent and what you’ve achieved.
If you need some help then you should contact Sean Boland, who works for Somerset Community Foundation. It’s usually best to email him here to ask a question or to arrange a time to talk, or call 01749 344949 and ask to speak to Sean.
Training and technical support is available from the SCC Healthy Lifestyles Team (healthy food and cookery projects) and Somerset Community Food (growing and cookery projects). Sean will put you in touch with the best person if this is required.