How to apply

The following 10-step guide explains the process of applying for a grant from CCF:

Step 1 - Check your group and project is eligible for a grant from CCF

We only fund community-focused not-for-profit organisations, which must be legally registered if their income is above £5,000. This includes the following:

  • Registered, exempt, and excepted charities
  • Parish and Town Councils, Village Halls, and Parochial Church Councils
  • Charitable Incorporated Organisations (CIOs) and Community Interest Companies (CICs)
  • Social Enterprises which have the Social Enterprise Mark
  • Co-Operatives and Community Benefit Societies (formerly Industrial and Provident Societies)
  • Schools
  • Sports clubs that are either Community Amateur Sports Clubs (CASCs), affiliated with a National Governing Body such as Sport England, or have an income under £5,000

If a group already has two live grants from CCF, we are unlikely to fund them again until the existing projects have finished. We support projects delivered within Cambridgeshire by national organisations, as long as the funding is ringfenced for the area, and a small number of our funds have further geographical requirements. The average size of grants awarded by CCF is £2,000 - £3,000, therefore we recommend visiting our fund pages to see examples of previous grants awarded before submitting your application.

In addition, we manage the following funds which provide grants to individuals:

  • Stay Well – heating costs grants for individuals in Cambridgeshire but not Peterborough (to be resumed)
  • Street Aid – grants for homeless or recently homeless individuals based in Cambridge City
  • Harry Cureton Charitable Trust – grants for medical equipment for individuals with specific health needs

Details on how to apply for these grants can be found on the individual webpages for these funds, and applications must be made by referring organisations.

We accept applications for a wide variety of projects and charitable causes, including ongoing running costs, salaries, overheads, and capital items. We do not fund the following:

  • Organisational structures not listed above, or projects which are not charitable in focus
  • Activities or projects which have already taken place (i.e. Retrospective funding)
  • Sponsored events, fundraising activities, or grant-making activities or bodies
  • Improvements to land/buildings that are not open to the general public at convenient hours
  • Projects promoting political activities, lobbying for causes, or promoting a religion
  • Animal welfare projects or overseas travel

For guidance on best practice, visit the Charity Commission website.

Step 2 – Prepare the documents we require

We require certain documents to show that your group is up-to-date with the latest legislation, and so that we can check that you have the necessary framework in place to receive a grant from us. These documents must be submitted with your application by the deadline for which you have applied. All groups are required to have the following documents which should be regularly and recently reviewed, signed, and dated:

  • A governing document specific to your organisation, such as articles of association or a constitution, which must confirm that you are operating not-for-profit and must contain a dissolution clause which outlines what happens to any assets should your organisation cease to operate.
  • An equality policy which identifies protected characteristics, makes reference to recent Equality legislation (such as the Equality Act 2010), and has a named Equality lead
  • A safeguarding policy for adults, children, or adults AND children which follows Cambridgeshire County Council’s Safeguarding guidance and procedures, makes reference to recent Safeguarding legislation (such as the Care Act 2014), and has a named Safeguarding lead
  • Accounts for the past two years – if you are a small unincorporated group, we will accept an Income and Expenditure document or similar
  • A recent bank statement or paying-in slip, to verify your organisation’s banking details
  • Names and addresses of three independent management committee members, with at least two cheque signatories identified. In addition, all signatories must be unrelated and live at different addresses.

In specific circumstances, we may require additional documents to the above:

  • If applying for a grant to purchase capital items or equipment which would cost over £500, we require three different quotes
  • If you are a Community Interest Company, we require your CIC 36 form (if you have registered as a CIC in the last 12 months), or your latest CIC 34 Annual Report (if you have been registered as a CIC for over 12 months)
  • If you are a Co-Operative or a Community Benefit Society, we require your registration form submitted to the Financial Conduct Authority (if you have registered in the last 12 months) or a copy of your most recent AR30 form (if you have been registered for more than 12 months).
  • If you are looking for funding towards a building or land that your organisation does not own, we will need to see evidence of a long-term lease

If you have received a grant from CCF in the last two years, you do not need to resubmit your documents unless there have been significant changes in your organisation.

Step 3 – Complete the application form

We have two main application forms, one for Small Grants (£2,499 and under) and one for Large Grants (£2,500 and over). You are asked for information on various aspects of your project:

  • Contact details for grant applicant and organisation
  • Structure and staffing of organisation
  • Project location, beneficiaries, timeframe, and full description of the project
  • Issues and needs addressed by project
  • Budget for project including total project costs and amount applying for
  • All documents detailed in Step 2

A small number of our funds have fund-specific application forms which can be found on the webpages.

Application forms are to be completed online and you can save the form and return to it later by accessing the link to your form which we will send in a confirmation e-mail.

You can choose a fund to apply to and identify it on the form, or you can leave it ‘unspecified’ and the CCF team will take your application to a fund which is suitable in terms of budget, location, etc.

We work on a quarterly funding round basis, so applications will be considered for the next funding deadline. Some funds do not accept applications for every deadline, so you may have to wait to apply for a specific fund, and a small number of funds have different deadlines. The CCF yearly deadlines are:

  • 1st May, results announced by end of August
  • 1st August, results announced by end of November
  • 1st November, results announced by end of February
  • 1st February, results announced by end of May
Step 4 – CCF staff assess applications over the phone

One of the CCF team will talk over your project to find out more about it and discuss any queries that we have. Our team have plenty of experience working with local community and voluntary groups and know what the donors expect and want to fund. There may be follow-up tasks from the telephone assessment, either to comply with our procedure or to provide additional information for specific donors.

Step 5 – A independent donor-led panel advises which projects should receive funding

Application results are not decided by CCF staff but by independent panels. They will consider how much money the fund has and which projects they can and want to fund with that amount of money. They may decide to fully or partially fund a project. Your application may be taken to several donor panels.

Step 6 – Outcomes announced

Successful applicants are sent an offer letter with Terms and Conditions to sign which must be returned along with indicators of what you expect the project to achieve, and details of someone who CCF can contact to arrange a visit and collect monitoring information. The sooner you return this, the sooner we can pay out the grant! Unsuccessful applicants will be notified and may be encouraged to apply to the next funding round.

Step 7 – CCF visits the project or asks for an interim update (optional)

If you have received a Large Grant, a staff member or volunteer from CCF might visit the project to see how it is developing and to touch base about how you’re getting on. For smaller projects, we may check up on how you are doing via e-mail or with interim monitoring forms. Even if we don’t visit your project, please let us know how you’re doing and what you’ve achieved, including via social media.

Step 8 – Grant recipient completes Monitoring Form

At the end of the project, grants recipients will complete an online Monitoring Form which tells CCF how the project went, if all the funds were spent, and if the original aims of the project were achieved. Monitoring includes case studies, photos, and feedback from participants and third parties. We usually ask for monitoring to be completed by one month after the end of the project and must be submitted on time.

Monitoring data allows us to show our donors what great work our grant recipients have done, and to show CCF that expectations for the project have been achieved. It also allows groups to reflect on their work. If you did not spend all of your grant money, you must contact CCF as it is likely that any leftover money must be returned.

Step 9 – Monitoring scored by CCF

CCF give the monitoring a score out depending on if the aims of the project were achieved and if the project was adapted well due to any unavoidable changes. This score will be taken into consideration if groups apply for future grants, and we give low-scoring groups an opportunity to re-do their monitoring.

Step 10 – Projects celebrated in fund reports and in CCF publications

Our donors get reports which tell them about all the projects that their fund has supported. CCF celebrate the good work achieved by grant recipients in our magazine The Forum, and on our website and on social media.

I need help!

You can find support for the grant application process from your local Council for Voluntary Services, which is part of a network of organisations which support local community and charitable groups through training and advice. Support organisations local to Cambridgeshire are:

Cambridge CVS - for Cambridge, South Cambs, and Fenland

Hunts Forum - for Huntingdonshire

Peterborough CVS - for Peterborough

Cambridgeshire ACRE - for rural areas

Voluntary and Community Action East Cambridgeshire - for East Cambridgeshire

 

For specific organisations, you can contact the following organisations:

For Parish Councils, contact the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Association of Local Councils (CAPALC)

For Parochial Church Councils, visit the Church of England’s National Stewardship and Resources Team’s ‘Parish Resources’ website

For Co-operatives and Community Benefit Societies – formerly known as Industrial and Provident Societies, visit the Financial Conduct Authority’s page.

For Community Interest Companies, visit the Government’s portal.

For Social Enterprises, visit the Social Enterprise Mark website.

For sports clubs, contact your sport’s governing body – such as UK Athletics, England and Wales Cricket Board, etc – or read the Government’s guidance on Community Amateur Sports Clubs.