Need £££? A guide to winning grants. - Refugee Council
November 11, 2008

Need £££? A guide to winning grants.

There are very few funders out there, especially for small organisations, so to help you get started, we’ve compiled a quick guide to funding agencies who recently made a presentation to RCOs in London.

The City Bridge Trust
0207 332 3710
Stewart Goshawk, Principal Grants Officer

Grassroots Grants from the Capital Community Foundation
0207 582 5117
Rehana Reid, Grants Officer

BBC Children in Need
0208 576 7788

0207 566 1136
Maryam Pasha

Each organisation’s criteria and eligibility requirements are summarised here, but for full details, please call them directly or visit their websites. Good luck! And if you have any experience applying for grants, please share what you’ve learned with other members by posting a comment below.

The City Bridge Trust funds several categories of projects:

Disability… bring people together from different geographical, faith, cultural or ethnic backgrounds…Mental Health… Environment…Older Londoners.. Transition to Independent Living… working to increase volunteering or strengthen information or communication technology.

Stewart’s TOP TIPS for getting a grant:

  • Read the criteria BEFORE you apply. There isn’t enough money for everyone, so if you make mistakes, your application will be rejected.
  • Apply for a specific PROJECT— not general funding for your organisation.
  • The Trust is not looking for fancy English, just complete information.
  • Involve the people who receive your help in the management and running of your organisation and say on your application how you do that.
  • Welcome people of all backgrounds and reflect that philosophy in your application.
  • Value and support volunteers—and give examples in your application.
  • Take steps to reduce your carbon footprint (even if it’s just changing the bulbs in your office to energy efficient ones, or buying recycled paper, or using public transport!) Give examples.
  • DON’T ASK FOR TOO MUCH (you must detail how much money you want and provide figures for why you need it). If you have specific questions, call the Trust for advice before you apply.
  • Disclose who else funds you. The City Bridge Trust will reject your application if you are asking them to be your single largest funder.



Grassroots Grants offer up to £5,000 for small groups. Rehana Reid is the grants officer responsible for London, but grants are available nationwide. Last year, she awarded 470 grants totalling £2.7 million. Contacts in your area.

ELIGIBILITY: Your organisation must have:
– been active for a year.
– an average annual income of up to £20,000
– a strong volunteer base
– good local links
– need an active management committee of three people; recent, signed accounts; a governing document and a child protection policy if you work with children.

The general criteria for receiving a grant is that your project must strengthen the local community, bring different people together, aim to increase training and capacity building. You can apply for salaries, volunteer’s expenses, training, funds for insurance or CRB checks, for example.

Grassroots Grants DO NOT FUND EXCLUSIVE RELIGIOUS ACTIVITY, POLITICAL GROUPS OR COMMERCIAL VENTURES. And there are some restrictions on the types of activities related to asylum and refugee groups. Call the number above for more information.

Rehana’s TOP TIPS:

  • On your application, tell them WHY you are the BEST organisation to provide this particular service.
  • Provide a detailed budget.
  • Name an independent referee who knows your organisation and its work.
  • Provide all supporting documents.
  • The Foundation will help you fill out the application if you call them to arrange help.


BBC Children in Need funds non-profit groups who propose projects to positively change the lives of disadvantaged or needy children. In 2008, they raised £37 million from the British public, according to Anna Thomas, who made the presentation. But they were asked for more than £300 million!! There is no minimum or maximum amount you can ask for. They will fund salaries or capital projects (buying equipment, for example). They will fund you for up to three years and a third of all applications are successful.


  • Your project must target children living in the UK, aged 18 or under
  • They must be ‘in need’ – this includes illness, distress, neglect, abuse, disability, behaviour or psychological difficulties; living in poverty or deprivation.
  • Your group must have a constitution or governing document; a management committee, a bank account, annual accounts and a written child protection policy.

They DON’T FUND: money you’ve already spent; medical research; pregnancy advice or money to be given to other organisations.

Anna’s TOP TIPS:

  • Make sure you’re eligible and fit the criteria before you apply.
  • It’s an online application, so make sure you upload all your documents correctly.
  • The project MUST target children under 18.
  • If you ask for big money, they will scrutinise you more, so be ready.
  • If they think you can’t manage the money, they might reject you.
  • Make sure you have a proper child protection policy.
  • Apply EARLY! The deadlines for applications are:

15th January 2009….15th April 2009….15th July 2009….15th October 2009

Once you send the application, an independent assessor will make an appointment to phone you to discuss the application in detail and ask questions. PREPARE WELL!!

Unltd. runs a funding programme called RISE, specifically targeted for refugees seeking to change or help their community!!!  The average award is £2,500 and is for INDIVIDUALS, not organisations. You cannot use the money to pay yourself or another person. You can use it to set up a project that offers new, unique solutions to a social problem.

– You must be over 16 years old
– You must be living in England
– You can apply as an individual or an informal group
– You must have refugee status (there is also a programme for ex-refugees called ‘Level 1’)
– You must have a new idea or be looking to expand an existing project

Cycling project for refugees to stop obesity
Job application and CV support for refugee women
Radio station for a particular community
Training service to teach unemployed refugees to repair computers

What is the project’s social impact?
Is there a need? Will people use it? How do you know?
Clear outputs (how many people will participate)
What do you hope to learn through the project?
What support will you need? (Do you need accounting or legal advice?)
Detailed budget
Will the project continue beyond the RISE award? (It doesn’t have to.)

Maryam’s TOP TIPS:

  • She gets lots of proposals for ethnic websites and magazines, so make your proposal different and unique!!

  • To apply for the RISE grant, you must make an appointment and attend a meeting where you can receive help with your idea and the application.
  • Strengthen you application by showing EVIDENCE that people need your service with photos, number of calls received, feedback forms, video of an event you held, etc.
  • Ask people to write a short testimony of why they need your project
  • Use volunteers! PhD students and undergraduate students at local universities are often looking for unpaid work to help with research or even IT help. Ask your local university!!
  • For IT volunteers, try TimeBank or Volunteer England.

Show refugees you believe in them this winter

This winter thousands of refugee men, women and children are rebuilding their lives in the UK, will you show you believe in them?