What sorts of projects do we help?

We like to help projects that are small scale and would find it hard to get funding from big trusts; or are currently unfashionable or unpopular amongst mainstream funders, but are making a real contribution.

We are privately funded and we don’t appeal for funds, so we can take risks and support unpopular causes in ways that big charities find hard to do.  We are mainly run by volunteers, so our costs are low.

These are the sorts of issues we tend to look at:

  • Is it something new for this particular area?
    It doesn’t matter if the idea is tried and tested in other parts of the country.
    If it is new for this community then we are interested in hearing about it.
    We will also sometimes help established institutions that are under threat.
  • Is it small? 
    We normally give grants to projects where an initial £125 to £2,500 can make a real difference.
    We almost never make contributions to large appeals, such as for buildings or minibuses. In general, we look at what it is costing per-head to reach the people the project is helping.
  • Is it run by ordinary people, not professionals?
    This is partly a function of size – once a project is big enough to employ staff, it is probably too big for us. It is also a function of our philosophy.  All the projects we support have, as a common theme, the empowerment of ordinary non-professional people.
  • Will it find it hard to get support elsewhere?
    We try to help those projects that are too new and experimental to get support through established fund raising channels, or which (if established) are under threat due to changes in national or local policy.
  • Does it have the potential to become self supporting? 
    We like to see information that shows how the project will support itself in future years or (if it is a short-life project) over the course of its life.
    We need to know that the project is well planned, and that the people running it have their feet on the ground.
    We also like to see that projects have done some fundraising for themselves even if the amounts raised are small, before we commit our own funds.
  • Is it outward looking, rather than being focused on its own members? 
    We are especially keen to help groups who are usually considered recipients of voluntary action (for example old age pensioners, refugees or young offenders) when these people become involved in helping other groups in the community – because this helps empower the volunteers themselves, as well as supporting the project they are working on.
  • Does it have a U.K. charity number, or can it find a charity to accept funds on its behalf?
    If your organisation is a U.K. registered charity, please give its full name and charity number.
    If your organisation is not a registered charity, we cannot make grants directly to it, for tax reasons. However, we can usually get round this by making a grant to a registered charity in your area, which then will pass the money directly on to your project.  Local Church of England Parochial Church Councils are often a good place to start – even for projects that have nothing to do with religion.  They are automatically charities, and are often willing to help.

Please also have a look at what we DON’T support (below).  We just don’t have the resources reply to appeals in those categories, so please forgive us if we don’t reply to you if you fall into one of them.

WHAT WE DO NOT [USUALLY] SUPPORT

We NEVER respond to national appeals.

We almost never help hard-science medical projects. Nor do we support counselling, family-therapy and self-help projects.  The medical ones tend to be too big for us, and all of these medical and quasi medical fields are very hard for us to evaluate.

We can’t  help projects outside the UK, except when we have personal knowledge of them – it is too expensive to manage, and too expensive to transfer the funds since many of our grants are very small.

We don’t provide help to individuals – even in education.  When we provide scholarships, we give them to institutions to support their own students, not to the students directly.

We do not support individuals  to go on a gap-year community service project overseas.

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