How does the application process work?
Please see our website HERE for a diagram which clearly explains the application process.
Am I eligible for a grant?
All eligibility criteria for our funds can be found on our website HERE but as a minimum your organisation or group should have:
- A management committee or Trustee board of 3 unrelated people (for
example if there are four of you and two people are related you will
need to recruit a fifth to ensure fairness in decision making).
- A constitution (set of rules).
- A bank account in the organisations name.
When is the application deadline?
Our panel meets to discuss applications four times a year, usually once a quarter – we do not advertise dates. We advise you to submit your application at least 12 weeks before your project start date to
ensure it can be processed and reviewed in time.
Can I apply as an individual?
Unfortunately, we do not offer funding to individuals, you must be part of a not-for-profit, constituted group.
How much can I apply for?
Funding amounts vary on the programme you are applying for. Our main 4 funds are:
- Luton Rising Small Grants – grants up to £10,000
- Community Trust Fund – grants up to £10,000
- Luton Rising Near Neighbours Fund – grants up to £5,000
- Whitbread Plc. Chairman’s Fund – grants up to £5,000
Other funding opportunities become available throughout the year. Please check our website for further details, follow us on Facebook, and sign up to our newsletter to be kept informed. You can sign up to our newsletter here: Newsletter | Bedfordshire & Luton Community Foundation (blcf.org.uk)
Can I apply for multi-year funding?
We do not usually accept applications for multiyear funding, however some of our funds run for more than one year so please check the guidance carefully.
How soon can I apply again?
If your application is rejected you can apply again, however you should pay close attention to feedback provided and contact us to discuss before re-submitting. Groups can have up to 3 live grants with BLCF at any one time, but all future applications will take into account any previous track record including the quality of monitoring information provided.
What sort of projects have been funded?
We fund a broad range of projects across Bedfordshire and Luton. Examples of our most recent grants can be found HERE.
Can I apply retrospectively?
We do not provide retrospective funding.
How long will it take until I get a decision on my application?
For small grants of £5,000 and under we can sometimes give a decision within 6 weeks from the date of your application. This does however depend on the volume of applications being considered at the time. Please call us if you require funds within a shorter time scale and we can talk this through with you. Larger grants will require a longer lead in time therefore please always aim to submit your application at least 12 weeks before your project start date.
I’m not based in your area, but the project will be delivering services in your area, can I apply?
Yes you can. We will however need clear evidence that your organisation has good local links, a sound understanding of the area in which you work and that your beneficiaries live within the fund’s catchment area. If in doubt, please call us to discuss your project further.
Do you support management/running costs?
We support core/revenue costs, new or continuing projects and capital costs. We are particularly interested in small, grass roots organisations.
Can we apply if we are a CIC (Community Interest Company)?
Yes you can. There are specific rules for CICs and more information is available in this document BLCF funding.pdf (blcf.org.uk)
Do we have to be a registered charity to apply?
We are open to applications from community groups, registered charities, community interest companies, social enterprises and Companies Ltd by Guarantee without share capital. All groups need to be constituted and have the correct policies in place. Support on becoming fit for funding can be provided by Bedfordshire CVS Home | CVS Bedfordshire (cvsbeds.org.uk)
We are a new group, can we apply?
You may be able to apply if you are a new group. Please call us to discuss your project so we can give further advice.
We are part of a national organisation, can we apply?
We do accept applications from national organisations but only for projects benefiting people living in our fund’s priority areas. If in doubt please call us to discuss. Our decision-making panel will consider if projects duplicate what is already offered in the relevant area and will prioritise local-grass roots organisations.
Can faith groups apply?
Yes. However, we cannot fund the advancement of religious or political causes and your project must not exclude anyone on the grounds of religion. Our grants team will consider this when assessing your
Do you consider consortium or partnership applications?
We understand that projects sometimes require the expertise of more than one organisation. If you are applying as a partnership or consortium, we strongly advise you to contact us before submitting an application.
Please call us to explain more and we will help advise on the next steps with regards to an application. As a minimum you will need a memorandum of understanding in place, clearly laying out the terms of
operation, roles and responsibilities of each group within the consortium, accountabilities and other details.
Can schools or local authority nurseries apply?
We can support friends of schools/nurseries or PTAs but our funding can’t be used for activities that are a statutory responsibility. If you are unsure if your project falls into this category, please call us to discuss.
Can I see the application questions before applying?
Yes – upon entering your email address into the form you will have access to all the questions and can save and return to it as and when required. You can also share the application link with other members of staff who may want to contribute or review what has been entered.
Making an application
Where is the application form?
The link to our application forms can be found on our website and each form can be accessed by clicking the relevant links below:
- Community Trust Fund
- Whitbread PLC Chairman’s Fund
- Luton Rising Small Grants Fund
- Luton Rising Near Neighbours
Can I save my application and go back to it?
Yes once you have started your application you can save it and you will receive a link to access the form later. The link can be shared with colleagues who may also wish to read the content ahead of submission. If you lose access for whatever reason please let us know and we can email the link to you.
What if I don’t have all the requested supporting documents?
Please call us to discuss what is missing and we will advise you on the next steps. You may still be able to submit your application and provide the missing items at a later date.
Why do I need to supply names and addresses for management committee members?
It is important we understand who is responsible for the funding we distribute. We also need to know who we can speak to if we have concerns regarding grant expenditure and the main contact is unavailable. The details are used for our due diligence checks to ensure the organisation is run in line with regulations. All information is stored securely on our database and not shared beyond the Foundation. Please click here for further information about our background checks checks.pdf
Do I need to supply quotes?
If you are applying for funds for equipment or a capital project we will usually require quotes before funding is agreed.
I haven’t received an email acknowledging my application.
When you submit your application, you will get an acknowledgement email with a PDF copy of your answers. Please check this hasn’t landed in your junk or spam folders. If you can’t find it, please email [email protected] and we can send you a copy.
Why do I need to speak to an assessor?
Once you have submitted your application one of our Grants Managers will be in touch to assess your application. We need to ensure that we fully understand how your project works so that we can communicate this to the panel making decisions on the allocation of funding. We need to be able to evaluate the strengths of your project in relation to other applications received and make recommendations to the panel.
Can you help me complete the application form?
Yes. Please call us and we would be happy to help. Bedfordshire CVS (Community Voluntary Service) can also provide support with this and more details are available on their website Home | CVS Bedfordshire (cvsbeds.org.uk)
What do you look for when you assess an application?
The factors we consider when assessing an application include:
- Whether you have a clear project plan and budget which is both realistic and achievable.
- The uniqueness of your project or service and whether others are providing a similar offer
- If and how the organisation works in collaboration with local partners.
- If the project meets a genuine need for local people.
- Previous funding from BLCF and adequate subsequent monitoring.
- Your financial stability, levels of reserves and governance.
- If the project presents value for money.
- Long-term benefit for beneficiaries.
What are the most common reasons for not funding a project?
- The application did not meet the criteria/was not eligible.
- The application was incomplete.
- Supporting documents were not supplied.
- Poor performance in the monitoring process for previous grants.
- Received after the advertised closing date.
- Budget does not add up/ is nor clearly explained.
- The benefits & outcomes of the project are not clearly explained.
- The delivery plan is not thought through/clearly explained.
- Fund is oversubscribed.
I have previously applied to the Community Foundation; do I need to resubmit my supporting documents?
We will always need your most recent set of accounts on file (valid within the last 18 months) and an up-to-date bank statement from the last 3 months therefore please submit these with any new application. Please also check that all policies are in date. All other documents previously submitted will be on file and shouldn’t be required.
How are decisions made?
Once an application is received, a member of staff will undertake due diligence checks on your organisation. Checks will involve reviewing your governing document, the accounts, the management committee details, and any relevant policies. The application will then be assessed by
one of our Grants Managers who will contact you.
Once the application has been assessed, a summary of each application is prepared for consideration by a panel. The panel considering the application may be made up of representatives of the local community as well as BLCF Trustees. Our grant panels bring an additional layer of
expertise in terms of local needs and priorities and/or expert opinion.
I was expecting a decision but I haven’t heard from you.
Please double check your junk/spam folders. If you can’t find an email from us please send an email to [email protected] or call us on 01525 306 690.
I have received an offer of funding, when will the grant be paid?
When you receive an offer of funding, the offer will be accompanied by a letter setting out the Terms and Conditions of your grant. This form will need to be signed by two members of your management committee and returned to us. If your organisation is a PTA we will need three signatures (the
Headteacher, Chair of the PTA and a governor). The offer may also contain additional conditions relating to your grant offer and these may need to be satisfied before we can release any payment to you.
Once we have received your signed terms and conditions form, together with confirmation of your bank details and all conditions of funding have been met, your payment will be raised. Payments are usually raised at the end of each month and paid at the beginning. If your grant is to be paid in instalments, the time frames will be clearly laid out in your grant offer letter. If the time frames for payments are likely to cause issues we would ask that you call us to discuss further.
Is there a time limit to return the Terms and Conditions?
The deadline for returning this will be clearly set out in the letter. For most of our programmes we asked for them to be returned within two weeks of the offer.
How is the grant paid?
Once we have received your signed terms and conditions and you have fulfilled any grant conditions, we will release payment by BACS.
What if I don’t agree with the panel decision?
We appreciate that it can be disappointing if the panel does not approve a project for funding. We will always strive to provide helpful feedback where possible to assist with future applications. Should you wish to discuss any feedback provided further, please email or call us on 01525 306 690.
When You Are Awarded A Grant
What happens if my project doesn’t go to plan – can I make changes once a grant has been awarded?
We understand things don’t always go to plan! The most important thing is that you get in touch with us as soon as you know so we can chat things through with you. If there are significant changes we will send you a form to complete to outline your revised plans. This will then be discussed and ratified by our panel.
The project has been delayed; can we change the end date?
Yes you can. If there are any changes to your project, or you expect a delay to your grant monitoring reports, please let us know. We will work with you to agree the next steps.
Will you visit us in person? Do you visit all the projects you fund?
No – whilst we would love to, we do not have the capacity to visit everyone. The decision to visit a project will be based on many factors including whether an organisation is new to us, or if your grant was agreed with certain conditions. We will give you plenty of notice in requesting to visit and may choose to come and see you to carry out interim monitoring, as opposed to asking for a report. This will all be made clear in writing when we award your grant.
Why do you want monitoring information?
Receipt of monitoring information ensures that all funds have
been spent in line with your project aims and outcomes. We are also interested to learn about what you have achieved for your beneficiaries and what you were able to learn in the face of any challenges.
We will require copies of any expenditure, photos and stories of beneficiaries so we can show our funders the positive change they have helped to create. Honest feedback is important, and we understand that not everything can go exactly to plan – don’t worry!
What happens if I don’t send back an End of Grant report or receipts?
This will be logged on our database and will have a negative impact on future applications from your organisation. If you expect or experience any issues with submitting monitoring information, please get in touch with us.
We understand things don’t always go to plan so please, once again, don’t worry about talking to us – we are here to help!