Funding for charities

Find grant funding, public sector funding and commissioning and procurement opportunities for charities and community groups in Leicester and Leicestershire.

Find funding for your charity

Search through the funding below to find opportunities for Voluntary, Community and Social Enterprise (VCSE) organisations of all shapes and sizes across the city and county.

If you have funding opportunities you would like us to advertise on this page, please send them to helpline@valonline.org.uk.

Funding opportunities

Grants, awards and other sources of funding available to VCSE groups. Find out which opportunities your group may be able to apply for.

  • Leicestershire & Rutland Community Foundation – Wesleyan Foundation Large Grants *Now Open*
    Clock IconDeadline 19/10/2021 12:00 am
    Grants available from £2,000 - £10,000 for Education, Health, Social and Other Priorities. Deadline 19 October 2021 Wesleyan look for projects that resonate with their values.  This section will help you to understand types of projects Wesleyan has a focus on funding, as well as the outcomes they wish to achieve: Education – projects that address positive social mobility, disadvantage and raising Initiatives that develop individuals’ skills and employability are also of high importance. Health – projects that address mental and physical wellbeing and create opportunities for (please note that this fund prefers to fund higher level issues rather than preventative / lower level interventions) Social – Wesleyan wish to champion projects that develop conscious inclusion, so will prioritise projects that bring the community together. Other priorities – Projects that can demonstrate an ongoing sustainability, both from a financial and an environment perspective. In addition, projects which build in an element to help reduce an organisation’s carbon footprint.
  • Winter Holidays Activities and Food Programme
    Clock IconDeadline 22/10/2021 5:00 pm
    Documents available until 22/10/2021
    Applications to deliver the Winter Holiday Activities and Food Programme are now open! Leicestershire County Council, working with Active Together (formerly Leicester-Shire and Rutland Sport), are coordinating the Department for Education funded Holiday Activities & Food Programme across Leicestershire. Leicestershire County Council will be awarding grants to Leicestershire schools, voluntary and community sector organisations and other out of school/holiday activity organisations to provide free holiday provision for children eligible for benefits-related free school meals over four days in winter 2021 (Monday 20th December – Thursday 23rd December).
  • Triangle Trust – Young Offender Employment Projects
    Clock IconDeadline 26/10/2021 12:00 pm
    The Triangle Trust is currently accepting applications from across the UK for projects that work with young people with criminal convictions (up to the age of 25 years) to find meaningful and secure employment. Your average annual income over the past 3 years must be less than £1,000,000 and you must be a registered charity or an organisation set up with clear social purpose. Grants of up to £60,000 over 2 years are available for projects
  • SHIRE Community Grants Programme 2021-22 – Round 2 Open for applications
    Clock IconDeadline 27/10/2021 12:00 am
    Round 2 Opens: Weds 1st September 2021. Deadline for Round 2 Applications: Weds 27th October (5.00pm) Decisions to be made and communicated to applicants: November 2021 Voluntary, Community & Social Enterprise (VCSE) Sector organisations, along with Town & Parish Councils, will be able to apply for a range of grants for community based projects and activities that are specifically focused on improving the lives, health and wellbeing of vulnerable and disadvantaged people and communities in Leicestershire. Eligible organisations can apply for one of five different types of SHIRE Community Grants in 2021-22: Small Grants (maximum £3,000) Large Grants (minimum £3,001; maximum £10,000) Capital Grants (minimum £1,000; maximum £10,000) Match Funding (minimum £3,000; maximum £10,000) Partnership Grants (minimum £5,000; maximum £25,000) The timescales for Round 2 of the SHIRE Community Grant programme for 2021-22 are as follows: If you think your organisation may be eligible for a SHIRE Community Grant in 2021-22, please email the Grants Team to discuss your application for funding in more detail, prior to applying. Further information about the SHIRE Community Grants programme for 2021-22, including detailed Guidance Notes, and online application forms can be seen on the Leicestershire Communities website.
  • Thomas Wall Trust – Now accepting applications
    Clock IconDeadline 29/10/2021 12:00 am
    Grants up to £5,000 available for UK registered charities for specific projects or core activities that equip disadvantaged people aged 18 and over with the necessary communication skills for employment. Proposals are particularly welcome which target people experiencing multiple deprivation or other groups demonstrably facing major hurdles to employment, such as women, people with physical, mental, or learning disabilities, refugees and asylum seekers. Applications are currently being accepted for the November 2021 meeting. There is a two-stage application process. Stage one is to complete an online Expression of Interest form (available on the Trust's website) which requires some basic contact details and a description of what the funding is required for. Stage two is by invitation only and involves completing a more in-depth application form and to submit a Project Plan, budget, latest set of financial accounts and any relevant policies.
  • Asda Foundation: Bringing Communities Back Together Fund – Phase 2
    Clock IconDeadline 01/11/2021 12:00 am
    The Asda Foundation has launched phase 2 of its Bringing Communities Back Together Fund. The fund aims to reunite communities, celebrate togetherness, and support groups as Coronavirus restrictions begin to ease across the UK. Through the Bringing Communities Back Together fund, grants of between £250 and £1,000 are available to either get activities back on track such as gardening clubs, lunch clubs and recreational activities; or hold a get-together event such as a welcome back party or community celebration; or a combination of the two. The types of groups that can apply include PTAs, local community groups, charity, Community Interest Group, sports group, not-for-profit, elderly clubs, lunch clubs, arts and crafts groups, other hobbyist clubs, etc. Applications forms are available from Asda stores and applicants have until the 1st November 2021 to submit their applications in store to an Asda Community Champion
  • Together for Our Planet – The National Lottery Fund
    Clock IconDeadline 18/11/2021 5:00 pm
    To coincide with COP26, The National Lottery Community Fund has announced a new funding programme. Community groups can apply for grants from £1000 - £10,000 to take action on climate change. Projects should reflect what matters to your community and can be small in scale. They could cover an area like: food, transport, energy, waste and consumption or the natural environment
  • Sport England Return to Play: Small Grants Fund
    Clock IconDeadline 31/12/2021 12:00 am
    Documents available until 30/11/2021
    The fund has been launched to give additional help to the sport and physical activity sector during the coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic. The Return to Play: Small Grants will provide grants of between £300 and £10,000. It will help community sport respond to the challenges posed, such as having to deliver in smaller groups, having the correct hygiene and safety equipment and giving training to club volunteers.
  • Volant Trust Covid-19 Response Fund
    Clock IconDeadline 31/12/2021 12:00 am
    The Volant Trust is accepting applications from registered charities, community interest companies, community organisations or social enterprises in the UK and internationally that demonstrate a strong focus on alleviating social deprivation and helping vulnerable groups who have been particularly impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic. Funding is available to support running and core costs as well as for medical equipment and the production or distribution of PPE will also be considered. There are no funding levels indicated at the award of grants will be at the discretion of the Trustees.
  • Lloyds Bank Foundation 2021 Funding
    Clock IconDeadline 31/12/2021 12:00 am
    Small and local charities helping people overcome complex social issues can now apply for two-year unrestricted grants of £50,000. At least 25% of all funding this year will be allocated to charities led by and for Black, Asian, and Minority Ethnic communities, building on the Foundation’s commitment to racial equity as outlined in their strategy. The funding will be open year-round, meaning charities can apply at a time that suits them and will not be restricted by deadlines.
  • BBC Children in Need Main grants programme
    Clock IconDeadline 31/12/2021 11:00 am
    BBC Children in Need are continuing their commitment to fund organisational costs for groups working with children and young people and delivering positive impact. The funder gives grants for organisations supporting children and young people aged 18 years and under experiencing disadvantage through: • Illness, distress, abuse or neglect. • Any kind of disability. • Behavioural or psychological difficulties. • Living in poverty or situations of deprivation. Small Grants are up to £10,000 pa. Whereas main grants are for over £10,000pa. Organisations can apply for £10,001 or more, per year. However, you can not apply for more than £40,000 per year. They are highly unlikely to award above £100k in total. Organisations may only apply for a Main Grants or a Small grant in this round, not both.
  • KFC Foundation Community Grants Programme
    Clock IconDeadline 28/02/2022 12:00 am
    Grants up to £2,000 are available to support grassroots organisations providing safe social spaces, mentoring, work, or social skills for young people aged 11 to 25 years old in the UK. The funding is intended for projects and activities which: Benefit young people aged 11-25 years old. Support those in a position of social disadvantage (i.e. care leavers, those experiencing homelessness, young carers, young parents, young people at risk of or with experience of the criminal justice system). Provide spaces that allow young people to feel safe and secure, helping to unlock talent and build life skills, provide mentoring, and improve their chances of gaining meaningful employment. Ultimately empower all young people to fulfil their potential and build a positive future. Will demonstrate positive results within 12 months of the receipt of funding.
  • Severn Trent Community Fund
    On 1 June 2020 Severn Trent re-opened their community fund, whose aims are about community wellbeing. This funding is not a specific covid-19 fund response. The proposed  project must be in the Severn Trent region  and the community it is benefitting must be Severn Trent customers. Funding is available in 3 categories: £2k to £10k, £10,001 to £75k and £75,001 to £250k.
  • Leicestershire & Rutland Community Foundation – Making Local Life Better Fund
    Grants between £500 and £3,000 are available to local charitable groups for small local projects that benefit the communities of Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland. Funding is intended for projects supporting, involving, or set up by local people in Leicestershire and Rutland to improve the quality of local life and life chances. This is a rolling programme and groups can apply at any time.  National charities applying must to be able to demonstrate that they have a local branch. This would include a local bank account, finances, and demonstration of fundraising and delivery in the local area only.
  • Leicestershire & Rutland Community Foundation – Wesleyan Foundation Small Grants
    A rolling programme with grants available up to £2,000. Education – projects that address positive social mobility, disadvantage and raising Initiatives that develop individuals’ skills and employability are also of high importance. Health – projects that address mental and physical wellbeing and create opportunities for (please note that this fund prefers to fund higher level issues rather than preventative / lower level interventions) Social – Wesleyan wish to champion projects that develop conscious inclusion, so will prioritise projects that bring the community together. Other priorities – Projects that can demonstrate an ongoing sustainability, both from a financial and an environment perspective. In addition, projects which build in an element to help reduce an organisation’s carbon footprint.
  • Charity Link Small Grants Scheme
  • The Coalfields Food Insecurity Response Fund – Phase 2
    The Coalfields Food Insecurity Response Fund Phase 2 is now open for new applications. Priority will be given to organisations that are supporting the most vulnerable with Grants up to £2,500 available. Examples of the type of services we would like to support are as follows (please note this list is not exhaustive): • Food banks • Food parcels schemes • Meal preparation services (such as packed lunches, meals on wheels, soup kitchens etc.) We anticipate a high demand for this funding and this is a rolling application process with no application deadline. The programme will close when all of our funds have been allocated. Decisions will be made on a weekly basis via the contact details applicants provide on their application form and all decisions will be final.
  • Small Sparks Fund – Hinckley & Bosworth Borough
    The Small Sparks Fund offers community grants of between £500 to £3,000 to kickstart new projects within the VCS network (volunteer & community sector) or to boost the impact of VCS groups across Hinckley and Bosworth Borough. Funding will be allocated on a first-come-first-served basis as a rolling programme.

Commissioning and Procurement Opportunities

Public sector contracts to deliver services to the community, suitable for larger groups, or smaller groups working in partnership.

  • Prevention of Young People becoming NEET and Facing Long Term Unemployment
    Clock IconDeadline 22/10/2021 12:00 pm
    Leicester City Council, working in partnership with Leicester and Leicestershire Enterprise Partnership Ltd (LLEP), invites tenders for the provision of a programme targeted at the prevention of young people becoming NEET and facing long term unemployment. To counteract a complex set of circumstances that can lead to a young person becoming NEET, a blended and supported programme with early interventions and signposting to LLEP areas of job growth or stability is required which will offer a realistic pathway to some young people in the greatest of need. This programme will engage 30 young people at risk of becoming NEET and facing long term unemployment in the Leicester and Leicestershire area.

General Funding Advice

  • COVID-19 financial support from the government

    The Chancellor has set out a package of temporary, timely and targeted measures to support public services, people and businesses through this period of disruption caused by COVID-19. For more information visit gov.uk

  • How to bid for government contracts as a consortium guidance

    On 8 September 2020 the government published guidance on how organisations can bid for contracts as a consortium, including the relevant requirements set out in the invitation to tender (ITT). A consortium in this context is two or more suppliers coming together to bid during a procurement. There is no limit to the number of members that may be in a consortium and consortia bidding is welcome. The full guidance can be found here.

  • How to bid for government contracts as a small to medium enterprise (SME) effectively

    On 8 September 2020 the government published this guidance. It provides steps SMEs can take when bidding for government contracts so they can compete with larger companies. The contents of the guidance covers: Where to find tender opportunities, What to plan before you bid, Writing your bid, Checking your bid, How the tender process works, After you bid and Further information.The guidance can be found here.

  • Crown Commercial Service: Simplified Bid Pack - Split Terms

    On 29 September 2020 the crown commercial service replaced its ‘Invitation to Tender’ pack with a simplified version. This may be of interest to VCSE organisations who bid for contracts from the crown commercial service or want to understand procurement processes generally. The guidance includes, Framework General Terms and Conditions, Framework Schedule templates, Call Off General Terms and Conditions and Call Off Schedule templates. See guidance here.

  • Cabinet Office and Crown Commercial Service: Public Procurement Review Service reports

    On 2 October 2020 the government updated its research and analysis to include the Public Procurement Review Service (PPRS) Progress Report for 2019-20. PPRS sits within the Cabinet Office and allows government suppliers and potential government suppliers to raise concerns anonymously  about potentially poor public sector procurement practice. The Progress Report highlights the main trends that the service has seen from 6 April 2019 to 5 April 2020. The research and analysis report can be found here.

  • Crowdfunder: 100% free fundraising for those starting up a new business after being affected by coronavirus

    Crowdfunding is a different way to raise money for good ideas. The latest campaign by Crowdfunder says:

    “If 2020 taught us anything, it’s that nothing in life is certain. But sometimes, when you’re down – the only way is up. We have thousands of new business startups raising money and creating their crowd at the same time. Crowdfunding helps you validate your idea, build your customer base before you start and raise the funds you need to make that leap. You’re ready. We’re ready. Let’s make your startup happen.“

    Details of how crowdfunding works, startup stories, and the link to start your crowdfunding can be found here.

  • Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS) for SMEs

    The temporary Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme supports SMEs with access to loans, overdrafts, invoice finance and asset finance of up to £5 million and for up to 6 years. The scheme will be delivered through commercial lenders, backed by the government-owned British Business Bank. There are 40 accredited lenders able to offer the scheme, including all the major banks. Find out more