Top funding opportunities available now for charities

Public funding for civil society is set to become even more scarce amid Covid-19 recovery.

Earlier this year New Philanthropy Capital (NPC) warned that charities are “unlikely to receive” much of a £5.17bn block of government funding aimed at “levelling up” the UK to tackle geographic inequalities.

Nevertheless there are still funding opportunities to be found, from smaller government pots of cash as well as from grants from trusts and foundations.

Trusts in particular are increasingly keen to support charities that are looking to bolster their digital capabilities, as well as support the mental health needs and emotional wellbeing of beneficiaries hit hardest by the current health crisis.

Here we outline some of the current funding and grant opportunities for charities.

Empowering Women Fund

Charities supporting women are being invited to apply for grants of up to £25,000.

The Tampon Tax funded Empowering Women Fund is offering grants of between £1,000 and £25,000 to women’s groups and organisations to help them develop their capacity and run projects over a six month period.

Also being made available are grants of between £500 and £1,000 to small groups supporting women. This is to help them set up micro empowerment projects in their local area to support women to build their skills and confidence and decrease isolation.

Unemployment, childcare challenges and poverty are among the issues the fund is looking to address.

The fund is backed through the Tampon Tax grant scheme and is part of the Labyrinth Project, which has been set up by the domestic violence charity Solace.

A total of £300,000 is being made available, with £190,000 in England, £60,000 in Scotland and £50,000 in Northern Ireland.

The deadline for applications for the first round of funding is 28 May 2021. A second round is being planned for the summer.

Racial Equity Fund

Lloyds Bank Foundation has launched a Racial Equity Fund for small charities that are led by and support Black, Asian and ethnic minority communities.

The Fund launched on April 20. Two-year unrestricted grants of £50,000 as well as development support is being made available.

The funding is open all year round to give charities greater flexibility to apply at a time that suits them, according to the Foundation.

More than half of the trustee boards of those that apply must self-identify as Black, Asian or minority ethnic. The must also have an annual income of between £25,000 and £1m and a strong track record of supporting minority communities.



The Covid-19 pandemic shining “a light on existing deep-rooted and systemic inequalities in our society” has been a key factor in the Fund launching, according to the Foundation.

“These inequalities are present across the complex social issues the Foundation funds such as homelessness, domestic abuse, mental ill health and the criminal justice system, with Black, Asian and minority ethnic communities less well served by mainstream provision, and disproportionately affected,” the Foundation said.

The 7 Stars Foundation

The 7 Stars Foundation offers funding to projects that support some of the UK’s most challenged young people. This includes young victims of abuse, addiction or those who are young carers.

It offers direct and project grants. Other funding streams include its Shine Bright funding for regional charities during Covid-19 pandeic. This enables charities to bolster their mental health support for young people.

Another is its Star Start funding initiative to fund breakfast clubs in schools, with a focus in 2021 on those in London.

The application submission deadlines are at the end of January, April, July and October.

Revitalising Trusts Programme

This programme is run by UK Community Foundations in partnership with the Charity Commission and the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport to ensure dormant or inactive charitable trusts unlock unspent funding on good causes.

Even though many of these pots are small, collectively they can make a significant difference. The programme has been running since 2018 and has revitalised more than £30m of inactive funds in England.

A Welsh version of the scheme launched earlier this year. This offers trusts the option to transfer funding to Community Foundation Wales to spend on local projects and good causes.

Magic Little Grants

Applications are now open for this year’s Magic Little Grants grant giving scheme, which is being run by Localgiving and funded through funding partners from the People’s Postcode Lottery.

The focus is on directing micro grants to small charities. Being made available is 2,000 grants worth £500 for charities and community groups.

This year the fund is supporting groups and charities working to improve mental wellbeing, community arts, outdoor spaces, participation in physical activity, green spaces and responding to climate emergency.

It is also looking to fund schemes that reduce the impact of poverty and support marginalised groups as well as promoting equality.

The deadline for applications is 31 October, 2021.

The Armed Forces Covenant Fund Trust

Charities involved in supporting armed forces communities can apply for grants of up to £100,000 through the Armed Forces Covenant Fund Trust. Its aim is to ensure the sustainability of activities and services that are valued by the forces community.

“Organisations applying for a grant will need to show they provide support to people from Armed Forces communities, and that it would have a negative effect, particularly on veterans and Forces families, if their work could not continue,” says the Trust.

The latest round of funding closes at midday 4 June, 2021.

National Lottery Community Fund (NLCF)

The NLCF has a raft of funding opportunities available charities of all sizes which have an ongoing application deadline.

For smaller charities, funding of between £300 and £10,000 is made available through the National Lottery Awards for All funding streams, for England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland.

Meanwhile its onling Reaching Community England fund offers larger grants of mor ethan £10,000 for projects that last up to five years. These grants focus on projects working with the community.

Other funding streams include its People and Communities fund for up grants of up to £500,000 for projects in Northern Ireland.

Another is its Growing Great Ideas programme, which is offering minimum grants of £150,000 to projecs that invest in supporting transformational and long-term change .

Among its latest is the Bringing People Together Fund. This offers funding of up to £300,000 for up to two years to support projects that strengthen community links and infrastructures.

John Lyon’s Charity

Another major funder to offer a variety of funding initiatives to charities is John Lyon’s Charity, which has a particular focus on projects that benefit children and young people.

Its funding includes the £22m Cultural Capital Fund, which aims to avert charity closures amid Covid-19 recovery. This will initially support the arts and young people and will hand out funding over the next year. The Charity is particularly keen to support organisations working in collaboration, those replicating successful, initiatives and those at serious risk of closure.

“Our aim is to fund not just for the recovery but for the sustainability of the children and young people’s sector,” said John Lyon’s Charity chief executive Lynne Guyton.

“We strongly believe that we need to take positive action now to safeguard our previous investment in the sector for future generations. Now is the proverbial rainy day”.

Other grants include main, small and bursary funds. It also has a School Holiday Activity Fund and runs a Capacity Building small grants fund.

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