SYCF Community Grants Programme

SYCF Community Grants Programme

The SYCF Community Grants Programme is made up of several funds provided by generous local donors.  It is intended to support volunteer-led community groups and organisations across South Yorkshire, especially smaller, developing or less well-resourced organisations and grass-roots groups, where small amounts of funding can make a real difference.

How much can I apply for?

Between £250 and £5,000, to be spent within one year.

When can I apply?

The Community Grants Programme is open for applications now.

To be assessed by our next quarterly panel, please complete your application by 2 November 2020.

Aims and priorities:

We fund organisations trying to have at least one of the following impacts:

  • Improve life skills, education, employability & enterprise
  • Maximise community cohesion & build social capacity
  • Promote reduction of isolation & disadvantage
  • Advance people’s physical health & well-being
  • Connect people will arts, culture & heritage
  • Transform access to and engagement with public spaces & the environment

Understanding your impact doesn’t have to be complicated.  We have a guide to impact to help you.

Who can apply?

Community Grants are for volunteer-led, not-for-profit community organisations in South Yorkshire.  This includes charities, community groups, clubs and some social enterprises.  To be eligible for a grant you must:

  • Have a governing document (e.g. a constitution or memorandum of association),
  • Have a board or management committee of at least three unrelated people who are volunteers, not paid for their time,
  • Have a bank account in the name of the group requiring at least two unrelated signatories, and
  • Have beneficiaries who live in South Yorkshire and be locally led and run.

Priority will be given to local, grass-roots organisations.

We will only fund local offices or branches of a national charity if they have their own local management committee and manage their own local finances.

What about Community Interest Companies and other companies?

SYCF’s Community Grants Programme is for volunteer-led organisations: this means organisations which do not pay their directors or trustees for their time.  Applicants can employ staff (and a Community Grant can be used to pay wages), but the board or management committee governing the organisation must be volunteers.

Many Social Enterprises are set up as Community Interest Companies, allowing them to pay their directors.  This is a perfectly legitimate structure, and might be right for your organisation, but it does not fit with the “volunteer-led” focus of our Community Grants.  Community Interest Companies and other companies which pay their directors are not eligible to apply for SYCF’s Community Grants.  Another programme, like the Social Enterprise Exchange, might be a better fit.

What can I spend the money on?

Anything that delivers the impact for your community!  It can be:

  • capital work (e.g. equipment, building works or repairs, provided you own or lease the building/land being built on or repaired)
  • or revenue, including room hire, volunteer expenses, sessional staff or salaries (e.g. extra hours for an existing staff member, or a short-term contract)

If your application includes staff costs, we encourage you to pay at least the real Living Wage.

Don’t forget to include a fair share of overheads like rent or room hire, utilities, and admin or management costs needed to support your project.

For more information about how to develop a project budget, see this SYFAB information sheet.

Where relevant, we expect you to shop around to find the best value for money.  For any individual items costing over £200 we’ll expect you to attach a quote to your application.

What cannot be funded?

Community Grants cannot be awarded to fund:

  • For-profit organisations, statutory organisations (e.g. schools and hospitals) or overseas organisations
  • Payments to trustees or directors
  • Retrospective funding (activity and costs that have already taken place or repayment of money which has already been spent)
  • Overseas trips or expeditions
  • Grant-making to other organisations and/or individuals
  • Organisations or activities primarily for the benefit of animals rather than people
  • Activity that promotes a particular political or religious point of view

We can fund religious organisations (like a church, mosque or gurdwara) delivering activity which benefits the community (like running a food bank), but we cannot fund religious services or activity intended to promote a particular religion.

If activity is intended to target a particular group of people (ethnicity, gender, religion, etc.) there should be a good reason for this, for example is this is the best way to redress an existing inequality or to ensure services reach a group which would otherwise be underserved or marginalised.

How do I apply?

To apply, please complete our online application form here.

What happens after I apply?

Decision making:

  • Your application will be assessed against the criteria, aims and priorities above
  • We may contact you to ask some additional questions, or to arrange an assessment visit to your group
  • Our panel of independent volunteer decision makers will make their decisions
  • The panel’s decision is final.

If your application does not meet our criteria, or if the panel decide it is not a priority for funding, we will contact you to let you know.

Payment:

If the panel decide to award a grant, we will inform you by email and pay the grant by BACS transfer.

Reporting:

We’re keen to understand what difference our grants make, and to share good stories with our donors and supporters.  We also want you to learn from delivering your project, and to share that learning with us and with others.  Finally, we have to ensure that funding has been appropriately spent, in line with your application and our terms and conditions.

For all of these reasons, we’ll ask you to send us an end of grant report, confirming your expenditure and sharing information about the difference the grant has made to your group and beneficiaries. This must be completed six weeks after the grant has been spent or the activity has finished.  We’ll send you a link to the online end of grant report form around the same time as we make your grant payment.

We might also arrange to come and visit your project, or contact you during the project to discuss your progress.

Contact us

If you’re ready to apply, complete the online application form.

If you would like more information or to discuss your application please get in touch with the Grants Team via grants@sycf.org.uk.

You can find our top 10 tips for your application here.

If you are based in Barnsley or Sheffield, and you would like more support to make an application, please contact our colleagues at SYFAB who will be happy to help you.

Get in touch

If you have any questions about applying to this fund then please email grants@sycf.org.uk and we will get back to you or call 0114 242 4294