Wessex Water Environment Fund

Dorset Community Foundation is pleased to deliver this funding programme in partnership with Wessex Water, supporting charitable and community activities that improve local biodiversity or have a positive impact on the local environment for local people.

Wessex Water Environment Fund


Applicants must be based and working in Dorset or Ringwood.  We do not fund national charities but can fund local branches if they are managed separately and financially independent.

Applicants must  have an annual income of less than £500,000. This programme is targeted at organisations where a small amount of money can make a significant difference, so we will also consider your access to other sources of funding and prioritise where it can make the biggest impact.

You cannot apply to the Wessex Water Foundation Environment Fund if you are currently receiving Partners Programme funding from Wessex Water, or if you received a Wessex Water Community Fund grant last year. You cannot apply to more than one Community Foundation at the same time for a grant from the Wessex Water Environment Fund.

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
  • Schools and parish councils may also apply if they can demonstrate community benefit.

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

We do not normally fund organisations which hold more than 12 months of annual expenditure in unrestricted reserves, unless it is clear why these reserves cannot be used to cover the cost of the activity.


  • Water refill points
  • General landscaping and planting
  • Applications from individuals
  • 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
  • Activities which are a statutory responsibility
  • We cannot fund animal welfare organisations (except activities that directly relate to improving local biodiversity)
  • We cannot offer retrospective funding for items already purchased or work completed
  • General appeals including for capital building projects
  • Arts or sports projects with no significant community or charitable element
  • One-off events with no significant community or charitable element
  • Medical research, equipment, or treatment
  • Activities that raise funds for other organisations


The Wessex Water Environment Fund supports charitable and community activities that improve local biodiversity or have a positive impact on the local environment for local people.

Applications must demonstrate one of more of the following outcomes:

  • Involving communities in environmental activities that benefit their local area
  • Restoring, maintaining or enhancing the local natural environment
  • Engaging people in supporting the local natural environment

Priorities for this programme are:

  • Reduction in water use
  • Improving environmental sustainability in the local area*
  • Improvements in local biodiversity

* For example, this can include activities aimed at reducing waste, recycling and using reusable alternatives, growing own produce, using less energy.

The main focus of this programme is on achieving positive outcomes for the environment and on activities that have a direct environmental impact. If your activity is primarily about outcomes for people, such as mental health and wellbeing, then it would be more appropriate to apply to the Wessex Water Community Fund, which opens in the autumn.

Please note, water refill points are not eligible.

Please note, some projects involving practical work may require permissions, licences or specialist advice; please make sure you have checked whether your proposals could affect protected sites or species and demonstrate in your application how this has been accounted for. For further guidance on what to consider please CLICK HERE

What can I apply for?

You can apply for up to £2000 towards a project/activity covering a period up to 12 months.

You can apply for a grant towards core costs and/or project costs that will help you to make improvements to the local environment. For example, you can apply for a grant towards equipment, salaries and/or overheads. What’s important is that it will help achieve one or more of the above outcomes and at least one of the priorities.

Examples of previous grants

  • Restoration and maintenance of a wildlife pond
  • Local litter picking activities
  • Community tree planting event
  • Creation or enhancement of a community garden e.g. installation of rainwater harvesting solution
  • Community beehives and planting bee friendly pollinating corridors
  • Education project aiming to change personal behaviours relating to environmental sustainability

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.

All successful applicants will be sent an End of Grant report form at the end of their funded work. This form asks for details of how the grant was spent and what was achieved.

PLEASE NOTE: Funded groups will be required to use the Wessex Water Foundation logo in any PR, publicity or promotional materials relating to the funded activities.

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

You will need to attach the following supporting documents to your online application, or send them via email to grants@dorsetcf.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 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 6 months.

To apply please CLICK HERE


* 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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