Neighbourhood Fund

Supporting local charitable causes.

Neighbourhood Fund

The Neighbourhood Fund supports local charities and community groups whose work addresses local issues, social problems, poverty and disadvantage due to age, illness, disability, isolation, discrimination or financial hardship. We are looking to support services that assist those in need, effect positive change and bring tangible improvements to their quality of life.

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:

1) 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).

2) Services that support those with mental health problems, including those with diagnosed conditions, those with general indicators of poor mental health and early interventions for children, young people and their families (addressing low self-esteem and personal aspirations, relationship difficulties, unhealthy coping behaviours and other issues).

The Neighbourhood Fund prioritises smaller groups and charities, therefore, applications made by organisations with annual expenditure over £250,000 will not usually be considered by the panel.

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. We expect successful applicants to receive grants by the end of February

We will fund reasonable capital costs (e.g. office equipment, sports equipment, tools etc) for your activities, however, an application for only capital items will be a low priority for funding.

Organisations that can apply:

  • Registered Charities
  • Constituted Community and Voluntary Organisations
  • Community Interest Companies (please see 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)
  • Organisations 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:

  • A management committee or board of Trustees/Directors with at least 3 unrelated people
  • 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
  • An appropriate Safeguarding Policy

Applications are invited from groups that are:

  • continuing to run services/activities that are delivering evidenced outcomes
  • replicating or expanding existing work in order to meet identified needs or increased demand
  • piloting a new area of work or testing new ways of working

Priority may be given to groups that:

  • involve service users in the design of services and invite feedback
  • are easy to access or have clear referral routes
  • reduce social stigma around particular issues


  • 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

How to Apply?

The Fund is now CLOSED

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.

If you are unsure about any of the above criteria or have any other queries, please contact our Grants Manager Ellie Maguire on 07592 032666 or at

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