Frequently Asked Questions

To be funded by Cambridgeshire Community Foundation, a project must have a charitable purpose. Please refer to the definition of charitable and other FAQs below.

What is Charitable ?

The Charities Act 2011 defines a charitable purpose, explicitly, as one that falls within the following list of thirteen descriptions of purposes and is for the public benefit:

  • The prevention or relief of poverty
  • The advancement of education
  • The advancement of religion
  • The advancement of health or the saving of lives
  • The advancement of citizenship or community development
  • The advancement of the arts, culture, heritage or science
  • The advancement of amateur sport
  • The advancement of human rights, conflict resolution or reconciliation or the promotion of religious or racial harmony or equality and diversity
  • The advancement of environmental protection or improvement
  • The relief of those in need, by reason of youth, age, ill-health, disability, financial hardship or other disadvantage
  • The advancement of animal welfare
  • The promotion of the efficiency of the armed forces of the Crown, or of the efficiency of the police, fire and rescue services or ambulance services
  • Any other purposes currently recognised as charitable and any new charitable purposes which are similar to another charitable purpose.
I do not know where to start. Who can help us?

You can get advice on making applications and putting together policies and procedures from your local CVS.

Cambridge CVS provides advice, support and training to voluntary groups in Cambridge, South Cambs and Fenland.

Peterborough Council for Voluntary Service (PCVS)

Voluntary & Community Action East Cambs

Hunts Forum of Voluntary Organisations

How do I know which fund to apply for?

You do not need to worry about applying for a specific fund. When we receive your Online Grant Application Form, with details of your proposed project, we will match it against the most appropriate fund(s).

How do I know if my group will be considered for a grant?

To be considered for a grant, a group must be grant ready.  By this we mean the group must have the following:

  1. A management committee of at least 3 independent people
  2. An appropriate governing document, which confirms amongst other things that you are operating not for profit and with a dissolution clause which outlines what happens to any assets should your organisation cease to operate
  3. If you are an unincorporated voluntary body and have annual income over £5,000 you will need to have registered with the Charity Commission before applying for a grant
  4. An Equality Policy
  5. A Safeguarding Policy if children or adults at risk are currently involved, or could become involved in in any activities or events run by your organisation
  6. Up to date accounts which summarise your annual income and expenditure
  7. To explain how, if you have run at a deficit over past year or more, you can be sustainable going forward
  8. To be in need of a grant and not able to cover cost out of unrestricted reserves
  9. Procedures in place to correctly track payment of expenses based on expenditure incurred and operate a payroll as appropriate.    Payments for volunteers for their time or round sum allowances are not permitted. 
  10. To have a Bank or Building Society Account requiring at least 2 independent cheque signatories

In addition:

  • If you have received a grant from CCF in past 24 months, all required monitoring to have been satisfactorily completed and submitted to CCF on time
  • If you are applying for funds towards maintenance or improvement of a building or an area of land that your organisation does not own, a long-term lease will be required

If you cannot meet the requirements listed, please contact your local Council for Voluntary Service for advice BEFORE submitting an Online Grant Application Form. For advice regarding leases, you should contact a solicitor.

How many grant requests can I make at one time?

We do not invite groups to have more than two Grant Applications under consideration at any one time.

If our project fits one of your core programmes does this mean we will get a grant?

Even if your project fits our core grant programmes, we may not have suitable funds available in the timeframe you require them.

Do you give grants to individuals?

A limited number of our funds make grants to individuals.  For example:

Our Stay Well fund makes grants up to £300 for vulnerable individuals/families facing fuel poverty to contribute towards their heating bill.

Our Children's Fund makes awards of £100- £150 to help disadvantaged children (0-18 yrs) in Cambridgeshire within families on very low income and facing other factors such as the aftermath of domestic violence, mental health issues or addictions.

The Harry Cureton Charitable Trust offers help for the relief and treatment of illness, the rehabilitation from illness, health education and palliative care around Peterborough.

Do we have to be a registered charity to apply for a grant?

No, you do not have to be a registered charity but you do need to be formally constituted, have accounts (or projections if you are a new group), and have policies on equal opportunities and safeguarding children and vulnerable adults if appropriate.

We fund a whole range of community and voluntary sector groups whose purposes are charitable, but who are not set up as a registered charity. 

Please note - If the annual income of your group is more than £5,000, you will need to register as a charity before we will consider you for a grant.

We had a grant recently, do we need to submit all the documents again?

If you have received a grant from CCF, within the past two years, you do not need to resubmit your documents, unless they have been updated or changed.

When can my group apply for a grant?

Online Grant Applications can be submitted at any time.  However most of our panels meet on a quarterly basis and some panels meet every 6 months, so you need to bear in mind that we will not usually be able to respond to an immediate need for funding.

You should allow a minimum of 6 weeks between submitting your application and the start date of your project.

Follow CCF on twitter (@cambscf) or 'like' us on Facebook to receive reminders about deadlines for certain funds.

Sign up for our grants bulletin to be kept informed about new funds, forthcoming deadlines and process updates.

What documents do I have to send in with my grant request?

Each request will required the following information:

  • A signed copy of your organisation’s set of rules / terms of reference / constitution
  • The names and addresses of management committee members, with cheque signatories identified
  • Bank statement (to allow us to verify your organisation’s bank details)
  • Your Equality Policy
  • Your Safeguarding Policy (Children and/or Adults)
  • Your organisation’s accounts for the past two financial years
  • Three different quotes for any capital items over £500

Please note: If you are a Community Interest Company (CIC) you will also be required to submit:

  • CIC 36 Form (if you have registered as a CIC in the last 12 months)
  • Your latest CIC 34 Annual Report (if you have been registered as a CIC for more than 12 months)
What can we apply for?

You can apply for ongoing running costs as well as one off revenue or capital costs.

Please note: Three different quotes for any capital items over £500 are required.

What do you not fund?

We never fund:

    • Activities not considered to be charitable
    • Groups that do not operate in accordance with best practice (for example groups must have a governing document equal opportunity policy, 3 or more independent members of management committee, etc)
    • Registered charities whose submissions to the Charity Commission are not up to date
    • Unincorporated bodies - voluntary groups that have income above the threshold for registration (of £5k per annum) with the Charity Commission but who have not registered with the Charity Commission
    • Groups that have been turned down by the Charity Commission
    • Statutory responsibilities (i.e. projects which should be funded by a statutory body)
    • Sponsored events or fundraising for other beneficiairies
    • Improvements to land/buildings that are not open to the general public at convenient hours
    • Projects promoting political activities
    • Animal welfare
    • Projects lobbying for a particular cause or action
    • Deficit or retrospective funding (i.e. grants for activities which have already taken place)
    • Overseas travel
    • Organisations that state their purpose to be the promotion of a religion
    • Other grant making charities 

In addition to the above, we can only fund the following from a small number of funds:

    • Projects outside Cambridgeshire
    • Individuals
    • National or regional charities with no independent office in Cambridgeshire
    • General contributions to large appeals
    • Medical research and equipment
    • Grants for more than one year
Can we apply for a grant if we have already spent the money?

No. You must not commit any money before you have received your offer letter and accepted the conditions, as retrospective funding will not be offered.

We did not spend all of our grant. Can we spend it on other items?

No. You must contact CCF and let us know how much you have left over and why and any changes must be agreed in advance.

Will you come and see our project?

We have an active team of volunteers who may arrange a visit as an opportunity for you to meet with a representative of CCF and discuss the expectations we have for monitoring reports,  and for you to ask any questions which will be forwarded to our Grants Team.

How many grants can we have at one time?

Only in exceptional circumstances will we offer a group a further grant if the group already has two current grants, i.e. with monitoring still to be provided.

What happens if we submit no, or poor, monitoring?

If the monitoring you submitted for a previous grant over £1,000 was rated poor or very poor (you will have received feedback) or you have failed to submit monitoring for a previous grant, this will be shared with the panel considering any further applications and will influence the likelihood of receiving further grants.