Go local

How local grants can make a big difference to your fundraising strategy

If your school project has a community or enrichment focus, consider applying to local funders. It’s surprising how many there are, says Sarah Everson

Start Small

With a little online research, you’ll be able to identify funders in your area. Search for the name of your town and ‘grant’ – and you are bound to see results. They won’t all be relevant, but there will be some which support education or young people. If not offering grants directly to educational establishments, funders may well support PTAs, especially if registered as a charity.

You could also consider the following:

  • Rotary or Lions clubs may offer funding or initiatives with prizes for schools
  • Voluntary action organisations or voluntary organisations networks for your area – these often offer grant alerts or newsletters
  • Local councils may offer their own funding or provide details of other funds
  • Philanthropic trusts specific to your village, town or area
  • Local retailers or businesses with an established presence in your locality.

Widen the Net

There are lots of funders who will favour organisations in specific geographical areas:

  • Police forces – some offer Police Property Act Fund grants from the sale of found or confiscated property
  • Wind or solar farms
  • Landfill sites
  • Airports.

Wind or solar farms, landfill sites and airports tend to have charitable foundations or spending pots to benefit communities within (or impacted by) their areas of operation. For example, Rampion Offshore Wind Limited has a community fund available to benefit organisations on the Sussex coast, while Bristol Airport offers grants from its Environmental Improvement Fund for nature conservation and education projects.

Throughout the UK, there is a network of Community Foundations ukcommunityfoundations.org, bringing together people and organisations that want to improve their communities. These foundations administer grants from funders to benefit causes within specific areas.

Another useful resource is pta.co.uk/local-ptas. This is FundEd’s sister site, which is primarily aimed at PTAs but provides leads for grants in over 50 regions of the UK, many of which are accessible to schools.

  • Sarah Everson is secretary for Friends of Halsford Park School, East Grinstead, West Sussex (410 pupils)

Local funding in Merseyside

  • The Community Foundation for Merseyside is the primary grant provider for local community and voluntary groups in Merseyside. cfmerseyside.org.uk
  • The Granada Foundation promotes the study, practice and appreciation of science and the arts. Grant funding can be obtained by schools for projects that fall within the foundation’s themes, as long as they have an outreach or community element. granadafoundation.org
  • The Johnson Foundation offers grants to schools and other organisations within the Liverpool city region. It also has a Young Chamber Cadets scheme, whereby schools are partnered with an adopted local business. thejohnsonfoundation.co.uk
  • Steve Morgan Foundation offers funding to SEN schools for specialised disability equipment. stevemorganfoundation.org.uk

Funding for projects in Tyne and Wear

  • The Community Foundation for Tyne & Wear and Northumberland supports schools through some of the grant funds it administers. Projects falling outside the Local Authority’s responsibility or with a community aspect are most likely to get funding. communityfoundation.org.uk
  • Newcastle City Council offers ‘Ward Funding’ grants which are open to schools, as long as projects benefit communities in no more than four of Newcastle’s wards. new.newcastle.gov.uk/communities/grants-funding/funding-voluntary-community-organisations/ward-committee-funding
  • The Chronicle Sunshine Fund has funding available for equipment to meet the specialist needs of children with disabilities. Schools can apply for support on behalf of pupils. thesunshinefund.org
  • Ballinger Charitable Trust offers grants for projects which support the health and wellbeing of young people. These are available to charities and not-for-profit organisations (including schools) in the north east. It is currently concentrating on existing grant relationships, but hopes to reopen funds in 2022. ballingercharitabletrust.org.uk
  • RW Mann Trust makes small grants to schools and other organisations to improve the lives of people and communities. rwmanntrust.org.uk

Me, You and Science Too

SHINE is an education charity that works with teachers, schools, and other organisations in the North of England, helping disadvantaged children fulfil their potential. The charity has four funding streams, supporting projects that make a difference to the attainment of pupils.

In partnership with NUSTEM (an outreach project from the Faculty of Engineering and Environment at Northumbria University), Battle Hill Primary School in Wallsend obtained funding from SHINE’s Ready for School fund. The resulting Me, You and Science Too initiative aims to give parents the skills to talk about science and technology with young children moving into primary school.

Half-termly workshops have been held for families of children in nursery and reception classes, where parents have been shown how to share reading with their children. By using books on STEM subjects, the workshops help raise knowledge of science at an early age. After each session, participants are given a copy of the book, and encouraged to continue sharing it at home.

In the first year, 88 children and 77 parents/carers attended the workshops, with 94% reporting that they continued to read the books at home.

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