BCP Thriving Communities Fund

DCF would like to thank BCP Council for providing the funds for this programme, which are part of the UK Shared Prosperity Fund

BCP Thriving Communities Fund

This funding programme is now CLOSED.


This programme will distribute some of the funds received by BCP Council via the UK Shared Prosperity Fund.*

There are two grant types – groups can apply for one grant only, choosing which priority is most appropriate:

  • Volunteering & Social Action (grants up to £5,000)
  • Capital grants for Community Buildings (grants up to £3,000)

Both Fund Priorities align to the outcomes contained within the BCP Corporate Plan; Sustainable Environment, Connected Communities, Brighter Futures, Fulfilled Lives. The BCP Corporate Plan summary can be found HERE



Organisations must work in Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole and priority will be given to those based in the area. We do not fund national charities but can fund local branches if they are managed separately and financially independent.

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

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

Please Note: Groups who received a grant in the previous round may apply again, but should complete their End of Grant report by 5th April, so that we can see the impact of the previous grant.


  • 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 funded activities are designed to, or 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


Guidance for: Volunteering & Social Action grants

  • Grants of up to £5,000 are available
  • Successful grants will be awarded by end of April 2024
  • Grants must be fully spent by March 31, 2025
  • Extensions cannot be offered and unspent funds must be returned

The Fund is aiming to support local community groups delivering impactful volunteering and/or social action projects and activities, within BCP, that improve lives. We aim to award grants that will foster a sense of local pride and belonging, and support community-led projects. Activities may be for a particular geographical community or provide targeted support for ‘communities of interest’. Applications do not need to be for new activities.

We are looking to support activities that:

  • support and empower local people to work together to address shared challenges and social issues
  • are led by community members with lived experience of the issues being addressed
  • are volunteer led (involve a majority of volunteers or active participants over paid staff)
  • develop positive connections between people living in the same area or with shared experiences
  • use an asset based approach that values the knowledge, skills and abilities of local people and finds ways to effectively utilise them for the benefit of the community
  • deliver meaningful outcomes that bring tangible improvements to quality of life for BCP residents
  • are easy to access with clear referral routes

Examples of activities – local volunteer led social/support groups for people with shared experiences, youth activities that support young people to volunteer or take social action, learning opportunities supporting life skills, activities promoting health & wellbeing.

What I can apply for – any costs, excluding capital costs, that support the delivery of funded activities including; perishable and non-perishable goods, staff/volunteer costs including training & support, transport and venue hire, administrative costs, reasonable contribution to organisation overheads/core costs.

What I cannot apply for – capital costs, grants for the provision of cash awards to individuals or households

Please note – Groups benefiting from other funding from BCP Council such as Household Support Fund (HSF) or Holiday Activities & Food programme (HAF) may be a lower priority for funding. This includes groups funded via the BCP Food & Warmth Support Fund administered by Dorset Community Foundation

Guidance for: Capital grants for Community Buildings

  • Grants of up to £3,000 are available
  • Successful grants will be awarded by end of April 2024
  • Grants must be fully spent by March 31, 2025
  • Extensions cannot be offered and unspent funds must be returned

The Fund is offering small grants to support small capital improvements, for eligible community groups running community buildings in BCP that provide facilities for local community-led groups and activities. This includes community centres, hubs or village halls.

In your application it will be important to describe the kinds of community groups and activities that take place in your community building and how they support the needs in your local community. This might be by addressing isolation & loneliness, improving health & wellbeing, offering opportunities for life long learning, and opportunities for social connectivity and support.

What I can apply for – support small capital costs that will help you to maintain the building or enhance what you are able to offer within the community. This might include new furniture, white goods, refurbishment costs, small repairs or building enhancements, energy efficiency measures to reduce overheads, and other reasonable capital items. Installation costs are eligible, if reasonable and applicable.

What I cannot apply for – grants for general overheads, running costs or staff costs, contributions towards large capital appeals such as building extensions.

Please note – Groups benefiting from other funding from BCP Council such as Household Support Fund (HSF) or Holiday Activities & Food programme (HAF) may be a lower priority for funding. This includes groups funded via the BCP Food & Warmth Support Fund administered by Dorset Community Foundation

Monitoring & reporting

You will be asked to submit an online End of Grant Report by April 12, 2025.

Completion of an online End of Grant report is a requirement of funding, including how funds were spent, the number of participants and volunteers, the outcomes achieved (the difference made to the lives of participants and volunteers) and individual case studies. We are also interest in any challenges or learning during the grant period and its impact on your organisation.

You should have tools in place to measure and record the intended outcomes of the grant – the difference the activities have made to the lives of participants and volunteers. We do not expect complex or multiple methods – examples may include feedback forms/questionnaires, interviews or discussion groups, recording observations, attendance logs or other relevant data.

Pre-application support

Pre-application support is particularly encouraged for groups who have not applied to our grant programmes before. If you are in need of advice about the application process, or 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

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 6 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

This funding programme is now CLOSED.


*The UK Shared Prosperity Fund is a central pillar of the UK government’s Levelling Up agenda and provides £2.6 billion of funding for local investment by March 2025. The Fund aims to improve pride in place and increase life chances across the UK investing in communities and place, supporting local business, and people and skills. For more information, visit https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/uk-shared-prosperity-fund-prospectus


** 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.