This grant programme is currently closed. However, you can view previous grant guidelines below. 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.
We expect this grant programme to re-open to applications in the spring of 2024.
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 Somerset Fund is here to support the places, spaces, events and activities that bring your whole community together.
This means you can ask us for money from The Somerset Fund if you work or volunteer for a group that has an annual income of under £100,000 per year and runs a:
- village hall or community centre
- park, play area or green space
- sports club
- community shop
- art, culture, or heritage group
- community transport scheme
Whatever you ask us for, it must connect people in your community so that they have:
- a range of different activities taking place that reflect local needs
- an opportunity to discover what they have in common with others.
We’re keen that people from across your community can take part in the things we fund. We’re also keen that the people who make decisions in your group represent the community they serve.
How much money can I ask for?
You can ask for a grant of between £250 and £2,500 from The Somerset Fund. Most grants are for about £1,500.
We have around £100,000 in total to give out this year.
When can I apply?
You can apply for this money at 2 points in the year. You must apply by 4pm, Friday 3 November and your application will be considered at a panel meeting in late November. We will let you know the outcome of your application in early December.
The Somerset Fund will then re-open to applications in spring 2024.
Who 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 annual income of less than £100,000 per year
- 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 bring your whole community together
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 or service in or for 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
- national organisations and groups based outside of Somerset
- 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 can 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 or not?
We can usually give money to 2 out of every 3 groups that apply.
While we want to support communities across 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 more rural, and
- is actively works with other groups so that everyone in your community can benefit, 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 funding things like community spaces, including halls and parks, as well as events, clubs and activities.
If you’re not trying to bring your whole community together, and are instead providing the extra support that just some particular people need in your community, then please apply to our Main Grants.
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 similar to 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?
When The Somerset Fund is open to applications you can apply by filling out an online application form via a button at the bottom of this page. This takes you to a registration page where you’ll need to enter your email address.
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 – click here to see our safeguarding policy expectations
- 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’ and the very bottom of the online form.
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 email our Grants Team if you have a question, or if you are not sure if this is the right place to apply for money.
Call us on 01749 344949 and ask to speak to Sean or Kirsty in the Grants Team, or email the team at email@example.com.