Dorset Welcome Fund

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

Dorset Welcome Fund

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.

The second and final round of funding in 2024 opens on Monday 9th September and the deadline to apply is midday on Friday 11th October.



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.

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 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 signatories required for payments
  • An appropriate Safeguarding Policy and EDI policy

 New and emerging groups:

  • 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


  • 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
  • Grants cannot be used to award cash to individuals or households


The Dorset Welcome Fund Fund will award grants to local community groups, to support community action to help refugees/asylum seekers of any nationality arriving, residing or settling in Dorset. Activities should focus on supporting wellbeing, community cohesion and participation in community activities.

Examples of activities and services include (but are not limited to):

  • Community events and social activities to address isolation and support people to connect with other refugees and with the wider community
  • Existing wellbeing activities that have been adapted or targeted towards the inclusion of refugees/asylum seekers
  • Cultural heritage activities with children and young people, especially those who may return to the country from which they fled (e.g. Ukraine)
  • Services to support improved wellbeing or mental health
  • Advice and advocacy support
  • Activities supporting English language skills
  • Activities supporting routes into employment or volunteering
  • Supply of practical personal or household items to address hardship such as clothing, bedding, mobile phones

We can support new activities or existing activities. 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/asylum seekers setting in Dorset.

Grants cannot support activities that are supporting residents of Bibby Stockholm in Portland.  If your proposed activities include participants from Bibby Stockholm please apply instead for funding available from Dorset Council: Community Connection Fund

What can I apply for?

Grants of up to £5,000 are available. Applications for small amounts are very welcome.

(New groups who have been operating less than 6 months may apply for up to £2,000 only.)

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.

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

The second and final round of funding in 2024 opens on Monday 9th September and the deadline to apply is midday on Friday 11th October.

A link to the application form will be added here, on Monday 9th September.

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
  • (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)

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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