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Securing a small grant for your WatersideCare group is not difficult, you just need to know what funding is available locally and how to put the application together to ensure you get the money.
There is always help and support from organisations which are local to you and set up to provide advice to voluntary groups. These are usually the CVS (Council for Voluntary Services) and often provide funding in their own right as well as on behalf of other organisations such as trusts and Councils. They usually employ a Funding Officer whose role is to support local groups to secure money from all types of funds. Google your CVS to find out whom is available. Quite often the local CVS will provide funding workshops too so keep an eye on their website and register your interest.
Although often it is a local fund that has caught your eye, you should also consider some of the national funding agencies such as Awards For All (A4A) which can provide up to £10,000 to voluntary groups and often struggle to give money away!
There are often other national funding sources more aligned to WatersideCare activities such as BIFFA and Natural England, but again best to use the CVS portal and search for funds for your particular project
Often your local Town, Parish, District, Borough, City or County Council manages funds for community improvements, sometimes from their own budgets and sometimes on behalf of trusts. Talking to one of your local ward members or looking on their websites can be helpful in identifying a fund which would suit you. Even if you cannot find a fund it is often worth writing to the appropriate Council to ask for funding towards a project which will benefit their Council Tax payers. Even if there is no obvious funding source this time they will be more aware of what you are doing and may find other ways to support your group.
Sometimes a local Councillor can have funds that he or she can provide, usually up to around £500 which are devolved from their Council to spend in the Community. This tends to be at County level but is getting more prevalent at District and Borough Council levels, so speak to him or her about funds.
Trying to secure small grants is not too difficult, but anything greater than £10,000 becomes a whole new ball game, needing a greater amount of time and documentation such as business planning, budget forecasts. Help is again available from your local CVS but an application for this level of funding will take time so plan for this. One of the best ways of moving a project forward is to chat with the funding organisation about your ideas. You may be surprised to hear they like to talk to groups about ideas that can make a difference to peoples’ lives, and are often very helpful in suggesting ways forward for your group. If the idea is not seen as a good one then at least you have not wasted too much of your time and resources.
Towards the end of 2014 the Friends of Balaams Wood in Frankley in Birmingham secured a grant of £2850 from the local Nature Improvement Area Partnership to undertake improvements to the River Rea. In partnership with the Environment Agency the group requested funding to support better local ownership and understanding of the River, improving the water quality which was seen as suffering from urban diffuse pollution and ensuring a better ecosystem and biodiversity for the environment in and around the river. The group were also keen to educate the local community for identifying sewer misconnections which were causing problems for water quality.
You can undertake your own search for funding and receive regular newsletters about new sources of funding by registering your details at https://www.ncvo.org.uk/practical-support/funding. By narrowing the search criteria you should only receive information of funds that could be useful to your group.
Keep Britain Tidy is a registered Charity No. 1071737. Registered as a Company limited by guarantee in England & Wales No. 3496361. Registered office at Elizabeth House, The Pier, Wigan, WN3 4EX.
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