We work on a quarterly funding round basis, so applications are reviewed following the round’s upcoming application deadline. Some funds do not accept applications for every deadline, so you may have to wait to apply for a specific fund. Also, you can only submit applications for the funding round we are currently in so, for example, you cannot apply in the spring round to a fund that only accepts applications in the autumn round.
The main round deadlines for application forms and all supporting documentation are below. However, a small number of funds have different deadlines, therefore, please check the application details of your preferred fund before applying.
- Accepting applications between 2 November and 1 February
- Application deadline: 23:59 on 1 February
- Outcome received by the end of May
- Accepting applications between 2 February and 1 May
- Application deadline: 23:59 on 1 May
- Outcome received by the end of August
- Accepting applications between 2 May and 1 August
- Application deadline: 23:59 on 1 August
- Outcome received by the end of November
- Accepting applications between 2 August and 1 November
- Application deadline: 23:59 on 1 November
- Outcome received by the end of February
Open versus specific fund applications
If you think your project fits a specific fund’s eligibility criteria, you may choose to apply specifically to this fund. Some funds may also have fund-specific application forms so, if you wish for your project to be considered by a particular fund, this may be the preferred method of applying.
However, if you have checked that your organisation is ready to apply, but you are not sure or have no preference over the fund your application should be considered by, you can complete an open grant application form. Our Grants Team will then review your application and identify the most suitable fund.
To submit an open application for this funding round, please complete the form and submit your documents using the link in the Complete an application section by 23:59 on the nearest funding deadline, as outlined above. The following round’s open application form will be available after this round’s deadline has passed. If you start an open application in the current round, to submit in a later funding round, your progress will be lost after this round closes, as each funding round has a separate application form.
Step-by-step application process
1. Check that your organisation and project is eligible for funding
We only fund community-focused, not-for-profit organisations, which must be legally registered if their income is above £5,000. This includes the following:
- Registered, exempt, and excepted charities.
- Religious organisations if the project benefits the wider community and does not include religious content.
- Parish and town councils, village halls, and parochial church councils
- Charitable incorporated organisations (CIOs)
- Community interest companies (CICs)
- Social enterprises which have the Social Enterprise Mark
- Co-operatives and community benefit societies (formerly industrial and provident societies)
- Sports clubs that are either community amateur sports clubs (CASCs), affiliated with a national governing body (e.g., Badminton England) or have an income under £5,000.
We support projects delivered within Cambridgeshire by national organisations, as long as the funding is restricted to this area of benefit. A very small number of our funds accept applications from outside Cambridgeshire.
We accept applications for a wide variety of projects and charitable causes, and we can fund project related salaries, vehicle rental and capital items.
We do not fund the following:
- Organisational structures not listed above, or projects which are not charitable in focus
- Activities or projects which have already taken place
- Sponsored events, fundraising activities, or grant-making bodies or activities
- Improvements to land/buildings that are not open to the general public at convenient hours
- Projects promoting political activities or lobbying for causes
- The practice of religion or any projects that actively promote religion, a particular belief system or indeed the lack of a belief. This is due to such projects excluding some people from participating based on religious grounds.
- Animal welfare projects
- Overseas travel
- Purchase of vehicles
- Statutory obligations i.e., activities that replace government funding
In addition, we manage a limited number of funds which provide grants to individuals. However, applications must be made by a referring organisation.
2. Prepare the documents we require
We require certain documents to show that your organisation is up to date with the latest legislation, and so that we can check that you have the necessary framework in place to receive a grant from us.
Documents must be submitted with your application by the deadline for which you have applied. If your documents are not supplied with your application it may be declined immediately without further assessment.
All organisations are required to have the following documents, which should be regularly and recently reviewed, signed, and dated by a member of your management committee:
- A signed governing document specific to your organisation, such as articles of association or a constitution, which must confirm that you are operating not for profit. It must also contain a dissolution clause which outlines that your assets, after the satisfaction of any debts and liabilities, will be distributed to charitable organisations with similar aims and objectives to your organisation, should your organisation cease to operate.
- Accounts for the past year. If you are a small unincorporated group, we will accept an income and expenditure document or something similar. If your organisation is less than a year old, please provide a list of your income and expenditure to date.
- A recent bank statement or paying-in slip, from the last 3 months, to verify your organisation’s banking details. This is required as evidence of the existence of the account. The document must show the bank name and logo, the account name, sort code and account number. Screenshots of online statements will not be accepted.
- Names of three independent/unconnected management committee members or trustees. To ensure your organisation has good governance and fair decision-making, we ask that management committee members or trustees are independent/unconnected. We also require the names of two cheque signatories (these may be the same management committee members already stated but the signatories must be independent of each other/unconnected). As described by the Charity Commission, a connected person means family relatives or business partners of a trustee, as well as businesses in which a trustee has an interest through ownership or influence. The term includes a trustee’s spouse or unmarried or civil partner, children, siblings, grandchildren and grandparents, as well as businesses where a trustee or family member holds at least one-fifth of the shareholding or voting rights.
Safeguarding and equality policies are no longer required for most applications. However, you will need to confirm that you have these policies in place and that you are clear about your approach to safeguarding and equality. We ask that these policies are reviewed on a yearly basis to ensure best practice.
Safeguarding and equality policies are still required for applications to the Cultivate Cambs Fund and the Thalia WB Community Fund. In addition to the above, you will need to submit the following:
- An equality policy which specifically identifies the nine protected characteristics and refers to recent Equality legislation (including the Equality Act 2010).
- A safeguarding policy for adults and children (either as a combined policy or two separate policies) which follows Cambridgeshire County Council’s safeguarding guidance and procedures, refers to recent safeguarding legislation (including the Care Act 2014), and has a named Designated Safeguarding Lead. Any reference to ‘vulnerable adults’ should be updated to ‘adults at risk’. There should be some reference to volunteers and staff undertaking DBS checks if these are required.
To ensure you have provided all documents, you may find the following document checklists helpful:
If you have received a grant from us in the past two years, you do not need to resubmit your documents, unless there have been significant changes in your organisation or if any of the requirements outlined above are not incorporated.
In specific circumstances, we may require additional documents to the above:
- If you are applying for a grant to purchase capital items or equipment which would cost over £500, we require three different quotes.
- If you are a community interest company, we require your CIC 36 form (if you have registered as a CIC in the last 12 months), or your latest CIC 34 Annual Report (if you have been registered as a CIC for over 12 months).
- If you are a co-operative or a community benefit society, we require your registration form submitted to the Financial Conduct Authority (if you have registered in the last 12 months) or a copy of your most recent AR30 form (if you have been registered for more than 12 months).
- If you are looking for funding towards a building or land that your organisation does not own, we will need to see evidence of a long-term lease.
3. Complete the application form
Our application form asks you for information on various aspects of your project, including:
- Contact details for the grant applicant and organisation
- Structure and staffing of the organisation
- Project location, beneficiaries, timeframe, and the full description of the project
- Issues and needs addressed by the project
- Budget for the project, including total project costs and the amount applied for
- All documents outlined in step 2
A small number of our funds may have fund-specific application forms which may ask additional questions. The relevant application form can be found by clicking ‘Apply’ on each fund’s page.
Application forms are to be completed online and you can save the form and return to it later via a unique link which we will send to you via email. However, the form must be completed by the end of the funding round in which it is created, otherwise it will be lost, because funds have a new form for every funding round.
You can choose a fund to apply to and identify it on the form, or you can leave it ‘unspecified’, which means that our Grants Team will take your application to the most suitable fund.
We work on a quarterly funding round basis, so the submitted application will be considered following the nearest funding deadline. Some funds do not accept applications for every deadline, so you may have to wait to apply for a specific fund. A small number of funds also have different deadlines. Details on the specific funding deadline(s) are available on each fund’s page.
4. Assessment calls and internal panel
If your application requires further clarification, a member of our Grants Team may call you to find out more about your project and discuss any queries that we may have. Our team has plenty of experience working with local non-profit organisations and we know what the donors expect and want to fund. There may be follow-up tasks following the telephone assessment, either to comply with our procedures or to provide additional information for specific donors.
Complete and eligible applications are then reviewed by an internal panel of volunteers and trustees, in line with the Foundation’s strategic priorities.
5. A fund panel considers which projects will receive funding
Fund panels then decide which projects will receive funding, according to the fund’s priorities and available balance. The fund panel may decide to fund a project fully or partially. In the latter case, your application may be taken to several other fund panels. You may then receive funding from multiple funds, or your project may remain partially funded.
Unfortunately, the total funding requested in applications often exceeds the total funding available, so even excellent applications may not always be funded.
6. Outcomes are announced via email
Successful applicants are sent a grant offer letter with terms and conditions which confirm how the grant is to be spent, what project reporting will be required and what happens to any unspent funds. A signed copy (requiring 2 signatures) must be returned with contact details of someone with whom the Foundation can arrange a project visit and/or speak to about end-of-project reporting. This does not have to be the same person. The sooner you return the signed offer letter, the sooner we can pay out the grant.
Unsuccessful applicants will be notified and may be encouraged to apply to the next funding round, signposted to alternative sources of funding, or to organisations which can help them become ‘grant ready’, depending on the reason why their application was rejected.
7. Delivering your project
It’s time to run your project!
Changes to your project
If you experience any significant changes to your project after receiving your grant offer letter, it is important that you inform us as soon as possible, so that we can advise you on how to proceed. In particular, you must inform us of any ‘material changes’, which refer to significant changes to any of the following:
- Project expenditure
- Project outcomes
- Serious financial, governance and/or safeguarding issue(s) your organisation faces.
If you are unsure whether the issue or change which has arisen is a ‘material change’, please err on the side of caution and speak with our Grants Team, by emailing email@example.com or calling 01223 410535.
Displaying our logo
If you have received support from us, we would be grateful if you could display our logo on relevant project materials (e.g. promotional posters) to help to raise awareness of the support we offer.
8. We may arrange a project visit, or you may be asked for an interim project update
If you have received a grant of £4,499 or above, or this is your first grant from the Foundation, a volunteer or member of staff might visit the project to see how it is developing and talk to you about how you are getting on.
Some programmes that make very large awards, or offer grant payments in instalments, may ask for interim project reporting. This will be made very clear at the application stage. Please view our reporting guidance for further information.
Even if we do not visit your project, we would really like to hear updates on how your project is going and what you have achieved. Please tag us in your project updates on social media and feel free to email us project photos and updates. We would be happy to share them through our channels to spread awareness about your amazing work.
9. Completion of the grant report at the end of your project.
Around a month after the end of the project, grants recipients are required to complete an end-of-project reporting form online. This can be accessed via a unique link sent to you upon receipt of your signed offer letter. The link allows you to tell us if all the money has been spent and what on, what activities were carried out and who benefitted from them. You can also upload photos, feedback and case studies using the same link.
If you are already producing a report for the project internally or for another donor, you can upload that as well.
If you did not spend all of your grant, you must contact the Foundation at this stage, as leftover funds above £100.00 must be returned.
Our Grants Team will review your monitoring to see how well the aims of the project were achieved and we will note any learnings you share that might help us improve how we support projects in the future.
We also look for case studies, photographs, and quotes to share with our supporters and wider network, including through our website, social media, and reports. Our fund holders also receive reports about the projects that their fund has supported. This raises awareness about the impactful projects we are proud to support in our community, as well as helping us raise more funds to support more projects in the future.
For more information on sharing your impact, including project reporting, please visit our reporting guidance.