This page contains all the information you need to apply to this fund. At the bottom of the page is a link to an application form. All the questions from the application form can also be downloaded as a word document.
The current round closes to applications on Friday 5 January 2024.
We’ve created our Main Grants so local groups can provide the extra support that some people need in our community.
That means you can ask us for money from our Main Grants if you work or volunteer for a group that supports:
- children and young people to 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
Whatever you ask us for, it must provide targeted support to people who face bigger challenges than most, so that they have:
- more choice and control over their own lives
- stronger personal support networks and the ability to get to where they need to go
If you are seeking funding for more general community benefit, The Somerset Fund is more appropriate for you. More information on The Somerset Fund can be found here.
We’re keen that the support you provide with our money is available and accessible to those who need it the most. That includes groups of people who have in the past not always benefited from our grants. This includes groups led by and for people who are:
- from minority ethnic communities
- deaf and disabled
How much money can I ask for?
You can ask for £1,000 to £5,000 from our Main Grants. Most grants are for about £3,000.
We have around £300,000 in total to give out this year.
When can I apply?
You can apply for this money at any time, but decisions are made at 4 panel meetings a year. You must apply by the deadlines below for your application to be considered at the next meeting:
- apply by 5pm on Friday 5 January to be considered at a panel meeting in early March 2024.
The next deadline following this will be Friday 12 April 2024 to be considered at a panel meeting at the end of May 2024.
Who can apply for this money?
You can only apply if you work or volunteer for a group that:
- benefits Somerset residents (but not BANES or North Somerset)
- is run by a committee or board of at least three 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 that meets our expectations
- has a bank account in its name, which requires at least two unrelated signatories.
We welcome applications from groups that exist to support people in their local community. 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, but not for the promotion of religion
- community benefit societies
- local statutory organisations, like parish councils or schools.
If you don’t have everything listed above, then Spark Somerset may be able to support you to put them in place. Or you could talk to another group, or your local parish or town council, who could manage a grant application for you.
What can I use this money for?
You can use this money for whatever you want if:
- it is within your charitable objects or stated purpose, and
- you can use it to support children and young people, adults with mental health problems or older people who face bigger challenges than most
This can include essential running costs, like rent, utilities, insurance, or staff time. You might call these your core costs. You can also use the money for the costs of delivering a project in your community.
Is there anything I can’t use this money for?
We can’t give money to:
- individuals, sole traders or companies limited by shares
- 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
- the promotion of religion. But we will give money to faith organisations for projects that deliver wider community benefits
- activities that are about animal welfare.
We can give money to these types of groups, but only in some cases:
- Social enterprises, like a Community Interest Company. Social enterprises must be limited by guarantee, and have objects and an asset lock that benefit Somerset communities.
- Statutory organisations, like a parish council or a school. Applications cannot be for statutory duties. This means we will not support educational activities for pupils that take place during the school day. We will also not give money for school facilities, classroom equipment or to train teachers. We would prefer Parent Teacher Associations (PTA) to ask us for money, rather than schools.
Is my group likely to get some money?
We can only give money to 2 out of every 3 groups that apply.
While we want to support a wide range of groups all over Somerset, some are more likely to be successful than others.
We’re more likely to give you some money if your group:
- is based in a place that is more disadvantaged, or
- is working with people who face multiple disadvantages, and
- has not received any other money from us in the last year.
You can put your group’s postcode into this website to find out more about disadvantages in your area.
This means we’re interested in things like:
- youth clubs, mentoring services and other projects to help younger people (aged 0-18 or up to 24 if they have additional needs) reach their potential or address challenges.
- therapeutic gardening or art groups, befriending schemes, peer support groups or another project that helps adults (aged 18-65) maintain their own health and wellbeing.
- friendship clubs and active living groups, transport schemes and other projects to help older people (usually aged over 65) age well and feel part of their community.
If you’re not providing the extra support that just some people need in your community, and are instead trying to bring your whole community together, then please apply to The Somerset Fund.
We prioritise applications that come from smaller organisations with annual running costs of under £500,000, and from organisations that are based in Somerset. This is because we believe larger organisations, and in particular national ones, have a greater capacity and skill for fundraising. If you are a national organisation that is looking to apply for funding for work in Somerset we recommend you contact us before starting an application. We would expect to see strong evidence of links to the voluntary and/or public sectors in Somerset and would need to understand why you want to work in our county.
Please note that if you have received money from us in the past and not reported back then we are very unlikely to give you another grant.
Do I have to write a report if you give me some money?
You need to spend your grant within 1 year and send us a short report. You need to complete the report online and it will look like the application form. We ask you to tell us how the money was spent, what difference it made, and if you had any problems. We also ask you to send us stories and photos if you can.
How do I apply?
You can apply to our Main Grants programme by filling out an online application form. This takes you to a registration page where you’ll need to enter your email address. The registration page can be reached by clicking on ‘apply here’ at the bottom of this page.
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.
If you would like to see what you must do before you start filling in the online application form, then this word document includes all the questions.
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.
Finally, you must read the terms and conditions and click ‘submit’.
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.
You are always welcome to call or the Grant Team on 01749 344949 (option 5) or email the team at firstname.lastname@example.org.