BCP Food and Energy Support Fund

DCF would like to thank the Department for Work and Pension's Household Support Fund scheme, for the funding being provided, and BCP Council in arranging this grant funding programme

BCP Food and Energy Support Fund

This Fund is now closed. 

This programme distributes part of the funds allocated by the UK government to BCP Council; the Household Support Fund.

Organisations that can apply:

  • Registered Charities
  • Constituted Community and Voluntary Organisations
  • Community Interest Companies limited by guarantee
  • Companies limited by guarantee that have a clear not-for-profit clause in their governing document and clear charitable or social objectives

Groups must be local to Dorset – we do not fund national charities but can fund local branches if they are managed separately and financially independent

To be eligible the organisation must have:

  • At least three unrelated people responsible for running the organisation (for registered charities these are your Trustees, for CICs/Social Enterprises these are your Directors)
  • A written constitution or set of rules that sets out the purpose and management of the organisation
  • A bank account in the name of the organisation with at least two unrelated signatories required for payments
  • An appropriate Safeguarding Policy and EDI policy


  • Schools are not eligible but we can fund PTA groups if they meet our eligibility guidelines
  • We cannot fund the promotion of religion or political causes – faith based organisations should advise whether their service/activity will include elements that are designed to influence people’s religious choices
  • We cannot fund public bodies to carry out their statutory obligations
  • We cannot fund animal welfare organisations
  • We cannot offer retrospective funding for items already purchased or work completed
  • Organisations with more than 12 months’ unrestricted reserves are usually not funded


Grants will be awarded to applicants that are delivering community initiatives that support BCP households impacted by the rising costs of living. Grants must be utilised from 1st July 2024 – 30th September 2024.  The scheme is intended to cover a wide range of support for vulnerable and low income households in the most need of support, including families with children of all ages, pensioners, unpaid carers, care leavers and disabled people, larger families, single-person households, and those struggling with one-off financial shocks or unforeseen events. Grant funded activities should help those who are struggling to afford household essentials including energy and water bills, food, and wider essentials.

We encourage applications from groups and organisations that are helping to support residents with:

  • Supporting Households with energy support, such as energy efficiency items that will help to reduce energy bills
  • Access to food, including providing free or low cost food, community meals, cooking equipment or food skills initiatives (e.g. cooking on a budget)
  • Access to other household essentials relating to energy and water (e.g. clothing, hygiene products, household cleaning products)
  • Supplementing the above support with signposting and advice to maximise income
  • Advice or support services addressing longer term needs and more sustainable impact, such as  support with income maximisation, debt, benefit and employment services
  • Early purchase and distribution of ‘warmth packs’ to support vulnerable households during the winter (e.g. warm clothing, blankets, energy efficiency measures such as draft excluders) – must be distributed by end of September
  • Other community initiatives that relate to helping with the cost of living challenge

All applicants should please note:

  • Grants for the provision of cash awards or white goods to households are not eligible
  • Food provision grants cannot be used to replicate or replace Free School Meals but families in receipt of Free School Meals are eligible as beneficiaries of funded services, where additional support is needed
  • There is no requirement for means testing to identify financial hardship but groups should describe their own approach to ensuring that beneficiaries are in need of support
  • Groups should describe how the service will compliment any existing services and demonstrate they are connected with other organisations serving the community, to ensure services are joined up
  • Where possible, groups should make beneficiaries aware of support available from:
  1. Citizens Advice: Household grants to help with food and fuel bills for eligible households, funded through the Household Support Fund 5.  Household Support Fund – Citizens Advice Bournemouth Christchurch and Poole (citizensadvicebcp.org.uk)
  2. Ridgewater Energy: energy efficiency improvements offered following home visits to provide free advice and installation of energy saving measures including cavity wall & loft insulations. Practitioner referral scheme for emergency boiler repairs or appliances available for eligible households. https://www.ridgewaterenergy.co.uk/projects-and-services/

What can I apply for

  • Grants of up to £8,500 are available
  • The grant period will be from 1 July 2024, to 30 September 2024 
  • Extensions cannot be granted and any unspent funds must be returned

We can support any costs associated with providing the funded activities including perishable and non-perishable goods, capital costs and equipment (e.g. additional fridges or storage at your organisation), staff and volunteer costs, venue hire, transport (e.g. to community meals or other activities), administrative costs, reasonable contribution to organisation overheads/core costs.

Further information about the Household Support Fund is available here

We welcome partnership bids from two or more groups co-delivering a project or to share a capital item.

Monitoring & reporting

  • All grants should be fully spent by September 30, 2024 
  • Due to government reporting deadlines, you will be asked to submit an online End of Grant Report by 11th October 2024

Pre-application support

Pre-application support is particularly encouraged for groups who have not applied to our grant programmes before but is available for anyone in need of advice about the application process, or if you are unsure whether your project/activity is suitable. Please email our Grants Manager to arrange a 20 minute phone call.

Please also contact us if you need the application form in an alternative format.

How to apply

This fund is now closed.

You will need to attach the following supporting documents to your online application (or send them via email) UNLESS you have already sent these documents in the last 12 months

  • A copy of your governing document, if not registered at Companies House /Charity Commission
  • A copy of a recent bank statement no more than 3 months old
  • A copy of your latest annual accounts, or in the case of new groups, please send a financial forecast or budget for your first year if you have one
  • Your Safeguarding policy and Equality & Diversity policy *our guidance notes may be helpful
  • (CICs operating more than 1 year should also provide their CIC 34 report, and those with micro accounts only should provide their Trading profit and loss accounts)

We encourage relevant groups to consider becoming members of the BCP Access to Food Partnership. The Access to Food Partnership works together across Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole to ensure that everyone can feed themselves and their family nutritious food all of the time. To learn more about the Access to Food Partnership go to www.bcpcouncil.gov.uk/accesstofoodpartnership.


* For support with policy development or reviews we recommend you contact one of the local support agencies for voluntary sector groups – Community Action Network offers free support to groups across the county of Dorset, and low cost training & events. Dorset Community Action  provides support to groups in the Dorset Council area.

Safeguarding policy – there are helpful online resources such as the Charity Commission’s guidance on Safeguarding and the NSPCC website. New groups or those without any current policy may find it helpful to watch this short video ‘Safeguarding adults in the voluntary sector’  introducing what Safeguarding is and why it is relevant for all voluntary sector groups, no matter how small or who you are working with.

We also recommend groups consider adding their details to the helpandkindness website, which provides a map of services in Dorset to help people find local support when they need it.

Equality & Diversity policy – we recommend this should include as a minimum: reference to the Equality Act 2010 and explicitly covering all protected characteristics, equal access to services & employment and ways you achieve this, preventing harassment or discrimination and how complaints are dealt with fairly.

In order for us to follow our decision-making process, the information given in your application will be shared with our independent panel members and/or donors as appropriate. Panel members are subject to a confidentiality agreement. Please see our Privacy Policy for more information on data sharing and storage.