Dorset Welcome Fund

Supporting local community groups offering activities and services to welcome and support refugees of any nationality who are arriving, residing or settling in Dorset

Dorset Welcome Fund

This Fund is currently CLOSED for application. We are awaiting confirmation whether further rounds will be available in 2023


We would like to thank all contributors to this Fund including Dorset Council and BCP Council. Other local organisations or residents who would like to contribute to the Fund should visit our appeal page.


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.

We can fund work taking place in the Dorset Council area and BCP. However, for work taking place in the BCP area, there is a priority for services supporting Ukrainian refugees.

Organisations that can apply:

  • Registered charities
  • Constituted community and voluntary organisations
  • Community Interest Companies (must be limited by guarantee – please also check additional guidance for CICs in appendix 1 of our full grant-making policy here)
  • Social Enterprises (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 3 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 cheque signatories required for payments
  • An appropriate Safeguarding Policy

 New and emerging groups (those operating less than six months):

  • New and emerging groups who do not currently meet the above eligibility rules may apply for a grant if they can identify an established voluntary sector organisation that is willing to accept grant funds on behalf of the group and take responsibility for the use of the funds – please ask this organisation to email us to confirm
  • New and emerging groups may be required to attend relevant training (working with refugees and Safeguarding) as a condition of the grant award – costs covered by us


  • 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
  • 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


The Dorset Welcome Fund Fund will award grants to local community groups, to support immediate community action to help refugees of any nationality arriving, residing or settling in Dorset. For work taking place in the BCP area, there is a priority for services supporting Ukrainian refugees.

We anticipate funding a range of activities and services such as (but not limited to):

  • Supply of practical personal or household items to address hardship such as clothing, bedding, mobile phones
  • Community events and social activities to welcome refugees, address isolation and support people to connect with other refugees and the wider community
  • Befriending support
  • Advice and Advocacy support
  • Mental health services
  • childcare to support parents to attend ESOL or other appointments

Grants cannot be used to award cash to individual refugees or refugee families.

If your activities will also support asylum seekers please tell us in your application. Services should primarily be targeted to meet the needs of refugees but it may be relevant for social activities to also welcome asylum seekers rather than being exclusive to refugees only.

Applications do not need to be for new activities or services but we can only offer funding to existing activities where those activities are being explicitly adapted in order to welcome refugees and meet their needs appropriately. Groups who have not worked with refugees before may be required to attend relevant training as a condition of the grant award – costs covered by us.

Priority may be given to groups that work collaboratively with other providers and where the services/activities are easy to access with clear referral routes. We are looking to support services that bring tangible improvements to quality of life for refugees setting in Dorset.

 What can I apply for?

Grants of up to £4,000 are available – or up to £1,500 for new groups who have been operating less than 12 months.

Two or more groups considering submitting an application for a partnership project should speak to the Grants Manager before applying as partnerships may be able to apply for a higher amount.

We anticipate that demand for funding will be high so we ask you to be as reasonable and proportional as possible in your request.

The activities funded must start within two months of the award and groups have up to 12 months to spend the grant.

We can fund any reasonable costs relating to the delivering the activities or service you describe such as equipment costs, volunteer costs, translation services, transport costs, small capital items and perishables (e.g. crafting supplies, food/refreshments). We can also fund items or expenses that may be needed in order to improve accessibility e.g. relevant equipment, accessible transport, childcare costs. Contributions to large capital appeals cannot be considered.

Grants cannot be used to award cash to individual refugees or refugee families.

Monitoring and reporting

 You should have tools in place to measure and record the intended outcomes of the grant. 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.

Completion of an online End of Grant report is a requirement of funding, including how funds were spent, the outcomes achieved (for beneficiaries and/or your organisation), learning during the grant period and individual case studies where relevant.

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 currently CLOSED for applications

You will need to attach the following supporting documents to your online application, or send them via email to

  • A copy of your constitution/governing document, if not registered at Companies House or the Charities Commission
  • A copy of a recent bank statement no more than three 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

Apart from the bank statement, you do not have to send these if you have already sent these documents in the last six months.


* 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.

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