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 Badminton England, or have an income under £5,000

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)
  • Cambridge 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 by clicking on the links above and applications must be made by referring organisations. If you cannot see the fund you are looking for then it will not be currently accepting applications.

We accept applications for a wide variety of projects and charitable causes, including project-related salaries, vehicle rental 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
  • Purchase of vehicles

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 by a member of your management committee:

  • A signed 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 that assets (after the satisfaction of any debts and liabilities) will be distributed to charitable organisations with similar aims and objectives to your organisation should your organisation cease to operate.
  • Accounts for the past year – if you are a small unincorporated group, we will accept an Income and Expenditure document or similar. If your organisation is less than a year old, please provide a list of your income and expenditure to date.
  • A recent bank statement or paying-in slip, to verify your organisation’s banking details (within the last 3 months)
  • Names and addresses of three independent management committee members or trustees. To ensure your organisation has good governance and fair decision-making, we ask that management committee members or trustees are independent (unrelated and live at different addresses). We also require the names and addresses of at least two cheque signatories (these may be the same management committee members already stated but the signatories must be independent of each other).

Please note: Safeguarding and Equality policies are no longer required for general applications, although you will be required to confirm that you have these policies in place and are clear about your approach to Safeguarding and Equality.  These policies are still required for applications to the the Innovate and Cultivate Fund or the Amey Community Fund. 

Please download our helpful document checklists to help you ensure your documents will be accepted.

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 are applying for the Innovate and Cultivate Fund or the Amey Community Fund we will still need to receive: 

  • An equality policy which specifically identifies the nine protected characteristics and makes reference to recent Equality legislation (including the Equality Act 2010)
  • 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 (including the Care Act 2014), and has a named Designated Safeguarding Lead. Any reference to 'Vulnerable adults' should be updated to 'Adults at risk'. There should be some reference to volunteers and staff undertaking DBS checks (if these are required)

If you have received a grant from CCF in the past 2 years, you do not need to resubmit your documents unless there have been significant changes in your organisation or if any of the requirements outlined above are not incorporated.

Step 3 – Complete the application form

We have two main application forms, one for Small Grants (£3,499 and under) and one for Large Grants (£3,500 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 – Assessment Calls and Internal Panel

If your application requires further clarification, one of the CCF team may call you to find out more about your project and discuss any queries that we have. Our team has 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. 

Complete and eligible applications then go to an internal panel of volunteers and Trustees which assesses risk and makes recommendations.

Step 5 – A fund panel advises which projects should receive funding

Application results are recommended by fund panels. They will consider which projects may receive funding according to the fund's priorities and available balance. They may decide to fully or partially fund a project. Your application may be taken to several fund panels. Most of our funds receive more applications than the funding available.

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.

If you experience any significant changes to your project, budget or timeframes from this point onwards it's really important that you inform the team at CCF as soon as possible so they can advise how to proceed and mitigate any risks.

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

If you have received a Large Grant (£3,500 or above), 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

A month after the end of the project, grants recipients are required to 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. It asks for case studies, photos, and feedback from participants and must be submitted on time.

CCF uses these in reports and social media to shout about the work that the groups we support do and to encourage more donations. For more information about what Monitoring is and why it is required please click here.

If you did not spend all of your grant money, you must contact CCF as leftover money above £100.00 must be returned.

 

Step 9 – Monitoring scored by CCF

CCF give the monitoring a score based on whether the aims of the project were achieved and how well the project adapted to any unavoidable changes.  The score takes into account how detailed the responses are and whether or not case studies, photographs and third party comments have been provided. This score will be taken into consideration when 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.