Guidelines and available grants

    Community groups must meet the criteria below when applying for a grant:

    We support local charities, community and voluntary groups and social enterprises in Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly. We award small grants to grassroots, front line, volunteer led organisations who are making a positive impact in their area. Our aim is to overcome challenges of disadvantage, exclusion and poverty for all ages. We welcome applications from both new and established groups.

    We offer grants on behalf of different donors and the funding criteria is specific to each grant programme. Please read the guidelines carefully before applying.

    Who can apply?

    Not for profit community groups or social enterprises (you don’t need to be a registered charity but your activities must be considered charitable) operating in Cornwall who have the following:

    • You must have a recognised governing document e.g. Constitution, Articles which outlines the organisation’s objectives and it must have a Dissolution Clause
    • You must have a minimum of three unrelated members on your Management Committee or if you are a Registered Charity you must have three unrelated Trustees registered with the Charity Commission
    • All details registered with the Charity Commission must be up to date if you are a Registered Charity or a Charitable Incorporated Organisation
    • If you are working with children and/or people at risk, you must have a Safeguarding Policy in place, we would expect to see your Safeguarding Officer’s named and contact details within this policy
    • You must be able to provide up to date annual accounts for your organisation
    • You must have a bank account in the organisation’s name which requires two unrelated signatories for all withdrawals
    • In date relevant Insurance Policies
    • Equal Opportunities Policy
    • A written reference from an independent referee could be requested by CCF at any stage of the application process

    While we welcome an application from a CIC, we recognise that they differ from Registered Charities and other voluntary organisations, particularly as they do not have a voluntary governance structure, equivalent to Trustees. As such, our decisions will be based on our regular grant criteria, as well as the following:

    • Have a social purpose  outlined in the Articles
    • Have at least three unconnected Directors, the majority of whom are not paid and have an asset lock clause that ensures funds and assets are transferred to a body with charitable objects in Cornwall on closure of the CIC
    • Have an asset locked body which complies with CCF’s CIC criteria
    • All documents registered with Companies House must be up to date and be the same documents submitted to CCF (including the asset lock)
    • Have a system to ensure decisions on Directors’ remuneration are not taken by those Directors receiving remuneration
    • Have a realistic in date business plan which includes a financial forecast submitted alongside the application
    • Applications will be welcomed for start-up costs or for delivering a new or innovative project that will benefit the community as part of the organisation’s development and must include two independent written references. We will only normally offer a grant towards running costs within an ongoing project for the first three years of operation.

    Sorry, we do not fund:

    • Projects not benefiting people living in Cornwall
    • Profit making organisations
    • Groups with significant financial free reserves
    • Statutory/public sector organisations such as health authorities, schools, hospitals, parish and town councils
    • Contribution to endowment fund, payment of deficit funding or repayment of loans
    • Grant making organisations or bodies who fundraise or distribute grants on behalf of other organisations
    • Retrospective grants
    • Regional offices of national bodies if they are not independent i.e. you must have your own local accounts and management committee and benefit local people
    • Groups whose beneficiaries are not people
    • Projects that help only one individual
    • Groups that have had a previous grant which has not been managed satisfactorily or has not provided the relevant reporting
    • Projects intended to influence people’s religious choices or to promote a particular belief system. Churches and faith based organisations may still be funded provided that the grant benefits the wider community. Faith based organisations should clearly demonstrate their community engagement in their application.

    Which Fund should I apply to?

    Cornwall Community Foundation manages a variety of charitable funds, please read the criteria for the fund before starting your application form. We can only process one active application per  grant programme with a maximum of three active applications at any one time from the programmes that CCF manage (please note grants for individuals or CCF’s Crisis Fund are exceptions). We cannot process any new grant applications if you have any outstanding monitoring reports. Please see the list of grant programmes by clicking here.

    Making an application

    All application forms can be completed online.  You will be asked to submit supporting documents; however you will not need to re-submit your governing document, safeguarding policy, latest set of accounts, recent bank statement and list of Committee Members if we have already received a copy, unless the documents have been updated.  To request a paper copy of the application form, please contact the Foundation.

    Please note once you have requested an online form you have 6 months to complete and submit it otherwise our system will automatically remove your form.

    We must receive all the requested supporting documents with your application and before 5pm of the advertised deadline of the panel you are applying. This also includes any supporting documents being sent in the post. Please note that some grant programmes get over-subscribed. Should this be the case, we reserve the right to close the fund for new applications in advance of the published closing deadline date. This avoids applicants undertaking unnecessary work on applications. Please therefore submit your completed application form and supporting information as soon as you possibly can. We reserve the right not to process any incomplete applications.

    What happens next?

    Acknowledgement of receipt

    You will receive an automated confirmation email following online submission of your application. We will then process your application, acknowledge receipt by email and inform you if any further information or documents are needed.


    All applications received at the Foundation are subject to a detailed assessment. The purpose of this assessment is to make sure that the Grants Panel, who will make the decision, fully understands the application. As part of the assessment of the application, the organisation or group may be contacted by email or telephone or the assessor may wish to visit the applicant.

    Grant decisions

    All applicants will be informed of their outcomes from the panel, with feedback where applicable. Awarded recipients will receive their payment from The Cornwall Community Foundation on receipt of the signed Declaration (sent with the outcome e-mail) and when all grant conditions are met. Payment will be paid by a BACs transfer with the bank details provided.

    Committee approval

    Unfortunately we are unable to fund every application that we receive but where possible we may be able to fund certain aspects of an application or draw money from a number of funds to fully meet a request. Please note that there is no right of appeal on award decisions made. The decision of the Grants Panel is final.

    Change of Grant use

    Grants awarded must be spent for the approved purpose within the timeframe you specify on your application form, failing this it may be necessary for funds to be returned.  If circumstances change and you wish to amend your original project you must write to CCF detailing the proposed change, with cost implications, for the panel to consider.  No work should be undertaken without the prior approval of CCF otherwise it may also be necessary for funds to be returned.

    Monitoring and evaluation

    As part of the terms and conditions of your grant all groups must complete our online monitoring form, this link is sent to you with your outcome e-mail. We do ask that the monitoring form is completed in full and returned to us no later than a year from the panel date, or when your project is complete, whichever is sooner. Please do submit it with any additional information you may wish to include. We are always very pleased to receive photos that we can use in publicity to promote our grants and help us raise funds to support grant making.

    We will also require an anonymised case study/individual story of change. This helps tell the human story behind the grants. We use these case studies with donors and funders to help them understand the difference that grant funding can make.

    You can see the list of available grants by clicking here

    Guidelines for all applicants