How to Apply
Check out our timetable and 10-step guide below to apply.
Before you apply, please note that 2 out of 3 applications to CCF across all of our programmes from 01/04/2021 – 31/03/2022 received funding but not all projects received the full amount they applied for. Please also be aware that our average grant size is £4,500. The most common rejections reasons are below.
1. Fund Oversubscribed
Whilst CCF is committed to raising funds for the county there is inevitably more need than amount of funding available. Sadly, not every good application will receive funding.
2. Does not meet the criteria
CCF publishes the criteria for each fund according to the Donor’s goals and remit whether it’s a particular beneficiary group, geography, maximum grant size, partnership etc. Applications which fail to address one or more of these criteria could be rejected as ineligible for funding or lose out to other applications who meet the criteria more strongly.
CCF publishes the type of organisations we cannot fund (direct to individuals or private limited companies for example). Organisations that we can fund need to evidence their structure and governance as described below. If the evidence provided is insufficient or missing then your organisation would not be considered ready for funding.
4. Incomplete Application
CCF publishes the documents required in support of your application. Failure to provide those or to answer questions relating to those and/ or any aspect of your application would mean your application was incomplete and would not progress.
5. Late application
CCF publishes deadline dates in numerous places on our website and in our email bulletins. For fairness and to ensure that applicants receive outcomes by the published dates, we are unable to accept late applications.
6. Retrospective funding
CCF cannot fund projects that have already taken place. You must have received and accepted the terms and conditions of an offer before work can begin or any funds paid out will need to be returned.
The CCF yearly deadlines are:
1 May, results announced by end of August
1 August, results announced by end of November
1 November, results announced by end of February
1 February, results announced by end of May
Step 1 - Check your group and project is eligible for a grant from CCF
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 (click for definitions) **including religious organisations if their project benefits the wider community and doesn’t include religious content.
- Parish and Town Councils, Village Halls, and Parochial Church Councils
- Charitable Incorporated Organisations (CIOs) and 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 such as Badminton England, or have an income under £5,000
- Community-focused not-for-profit organisations such as Friends of, Street Pride or Community Orchards as long as their annual income is not more than £5,000 and they are grant-ready (see next steps).
We support projects delivered within Cambridgeshire by national organisations, as long as the funding is ringfenced for the area, and a small number of our funds have further geographical requirements. The average size of grants awarded by CCF is £4,000 therefore we recommend exploring types of grants to apply for to see examples of previous grants awarded before submitting your application.
In addition, we manage the following funds which provide grants to individuals:
- Stay Well – heating costs grants for individuals in Cambridgeshire but not Peterborough (to be resumed)
- Cambridge Street Aid – grants for homeless or recently homeless individuals based in Cambridge City
- Harry Cureton Charitable Trust – grants for medical equipment for individuals with specific health needs
Details on how to apply for these grants can be found by clicking on the links above and applications must be made by referring organisations. If you cannot see the fund you are looking for then it will not be currently accepting applications.
We accept applications for a wide variety of projects and charitable causes, including 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 (i.e. Retrospective funding)
- Sponsored events, fundraising activities, or grant-making activities or bodies
- Improvements to land/buildings that are not open to the general public at convenient hours
- Projects promoting political activities, lobbying for causes
- The practice of religion or any projects that actively promote religion or particular belief systems (or indeed the lack of belief). This is because these activities could exclude people from accessing a project on religious grounds.
- Animal welfare projects or overseas travel
- Purchase of vehicles
- Statutory obligations i.e. activities that replace government funding
For guidance on best practice, visit the Charity Commission website.
Step 2 – Prepare the documents we require
We require certain documents to show that your group 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. These documents must be submitted with your application by the deadline for which you have applied. All groups 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 and must contain a dissolution clausewhich outlines that 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 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, to verify your organisation’s banking details (within the last 3 months). This is required as evidence of the existence of the account. Your proof of bank 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 and addresses of three independent 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 (unrelated and live at different addresses). We also require the names and addresses of at least two cheque signatories (these may be the same management committee members already stated but the signatories must be independent of each other).
Please note: Safeguarding and Equality policies are no longer required for general applications, although you will be required to confirm that you have these policies in place and are clear about your approach to Safeguarding and Equality. We ask that Safeguarding and Equality policies are reviewed on a yearly basis to ensure best practice. These policies are still required for applications to the Cultivate Cambs Fund or the Amey Community Fund.
Please download our helpful document checklists to help you ensure your documents will be accepted.
In specific circumstances, we may require additional documents to the above:
- If 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
If you are applying for the Cultivate Cambs Fund or the Amey Community Fund we will still need to receive:
- An equality policy which specifically identifies the nine protected characteristics and makes reference to recent Equality legislation (including the Equality Act 2010)
- A safeguarding policy for adults, children, or adults AND children which follows Cambridgeshire County Council’s Safeguarding guidance and procedures, makes reference 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)
If you have received a grant from CCF in the past 2 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.
Step 3 – Complete the application form
Our application form asks you for information on various aspects of your project:
- Contact details for grant applicant and organisation
- Structure and staffing of organisation
- Project location, beneficiaries, timeframe, and full description of the project
- Issues and needs addressed by project
- Budget for project including total project costs and amount applying for
- All documents detailed in Step 2
A small number of our funds have fund-specific application forms which can be found here types of grant to apply for.
Application forms are to be completed online and you can save the form and return to it later by accessing the link to your form which we will send in a confirmation e-mail.
You can choose a fund to apply to and identify it on the form, or you can leave it ‘unspecified’ and the CCF team will take your application to a fund which is suitable in terms of budget, location, etc.
We work on a quarterly funding round basis, so applications will be considered for the next funding deadline. Some funds do not accept applications for every deadline, so you may have to wait to apply for a specific fund, and a small number of funds have different deadlines. The CCF yearly deadlines are:
- 1st May, results announced by end of August
- 1st August, results announced by end of November
- 1st November, results announced by end of February
- 1st February, results announced by end of May
Step 4 – Assessment Calls and Internal Panel
If your application requires further clarification, one of the CCF team may call you to find out more about your project and discuss any queries that we have. Our team has plenty of experience working with local community and voluntary groups and know what the donors expect and want to fund. There may be follow-up tasks from the telephone assessment, either to comply with our procedure or to provide additional information for specific donors.
Complete and eligible applications are reviewed by an internal panel of volunteers and Trustees in line with CCF strategic priorities.
Step 5 – A fund panel considers which projects will receive funding
Fund panels consider which projects will receive funding according to the fund’s priorities and available balance. They may decide to fully or partially fund a project. Your application may be taken to several fund panels. Most of our funds receive more applications than the funding available.
Step 6 – Outcomes, successful and unsuccessful, are announced by email
Successful applicants are sent a grant offer letter with Terms and Conditions which confirms how the grant is to be spent, what project reporting will be required and what happens to any unspent funds. A signed (2 signatures) must be returned with contact details of someone with whom CCF can arrange a visit and/ or speak to about end of project reporting – we know they may not be the same person. The sooner you return this, 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 fundng or to organisations who can help them become ‘grant ready’ depending on the reason that they were unsuccessful. Please see the list at the top of this page for the most common reasons applications are unsuccessful in securing funding from CCF.
If you experience any significant changes to your project, budget or timeframes from this point onwards it’s really important that you inform the team at CCF as soon as possible so they can advise how to proceed and help avoid any unnecessary risks.
Step 7 – CCF visits some projects or asks for an interim update (optional)
If you have received a grant of £4,499 or above, or this is your first grant from CCF, a staff member or volunteer from CCF might visit the project to see how it is developing and talk to you about how you’re getting on. Some programmes (usually that offer payment in instalments) or very large awards ask for interim project reporting but that will be made very clear from application stage. Even if we don’t visit your project, please let us know how you’re doing and what you’ve achieved, including via social media.
For more information on visits and sharing your learnings please click here.
Step 8 – Grant recipient completes end of project reporting
Around a month after the end of the project, grants recipients are required to complete an end of project reporting form online. This is accessed via a unique link sent to you on receipt of your signed offer letter. The link allows you to tell CCF if all of the money has been spent and what on, what activities were carried out and how many people benefitted. You can also upload photos, feedback and case studies using the same link OR if you are already producing a report for this project internally or for another donor, you can upload that as well.
CCF uses these in reports and social media to shout about the work that the groups we support do and to encourage more donations. For more information about sharing your learnings via project reporting please click here.
If you did not spend all of your grant money, you must contact CCF as leftover money above £100.00 must be returned.
Step 9 –Learnings from Monitoring Reports and Feedback
CCF reviews your monitoring to see how well the aims of the project were achieved and what learnings you can share. We also look for case studies, photographs and quotes to share through our annual reports, with our donors and wider networks. If we have any questions about your monitoring reports we will contact you for more information.
For more information about sharing your learnings please click here.