This Fund is currently CLOSED for applications. The next round will open November 2023 – January 2024.
The Neighbourhood Fund prioritises smaller community groups, therefore, applications made by groups with annual expenditure over £250,000 will not usually be considered by the panel.
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.
Groups with two or more current grants from DCF funding programmes are a lower priority for funding.
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
- 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 Neighbourhood Fund supports grassroots community groups delivering local services/activities that address a broad range of social issues. Grants help local groups to improve the lives of those most in need of support. We want our grants to support and reflect the diversity of our county and we welcome applications from groups supporting diverse communities including communities who may be facing discrimination.
Priority may be given to groups that work in partnership with other providers, involve service users in the design of services and invite feedback, and where the service/activities are easy to access with clear referral routes. We are looking to support services that effect positive change and bring tangible improvements to quality of life for Dorset residents.
In addition to the broad objectives of the fund outlined above, the Fund has two particular areas of interest and applications working in these areas may be prioritised:
- Services that support older people to lead more active, healthy and independent lives (addressing social isolation and loneliness, declining health, poor access to services and support for carers)
- Services that support people experiencing mental health issues, including those with diagnosed conditions and early intervention work (addressing low self-esteem and personal aspirations, relationship difficulties, unhealthy coping behaviours and other issues)
What can I apply for?
Grants of up to £5,000 are available.
The activities funded must start within 2 months of the award and groups have up to 12 months to spend the grant. Applications do not need to be for new services. We can fund the continuation of existing services that are delivering evidenced outcomes, the expansion or adaption of these services in line with local needs or increased demand, piloting new ways of working or launch of new services.
We will fund any costs relating to the work you deliver including core costs, service delivery costs and reasonable capital costs (e.g. office equipment, sports equipment, tools etc). Contributions towards large capital appeals are a low priority for funding.
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 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.
- Grants Manager, Ellie Maguire: 07592 032666 / email@example.com
How to Apply
This Fund is currently closed for applications. The next round will open November 2023 – January 2024.
You will need to attach the following supporting documents to your online application, or send them via email to firstname.lastname@example.org
- 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 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
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.