This fund exists to enable eligible Voluntary Community Sector Organisations (VCSO) to offer a range of community-based activity and projects to support asylum seekers residing on the Bibby Stockholm Barge in Portland to access a range of activity to promote physical and mental wellbeing and community integration.

Aim of the fund

To enable local community groups offering activities and services to welcome and support asylum seekers of any nationality who are residing in Portland in the Dorset Council area.

Priorities for this fund

We anticipate funding a range of activities and services such as (but not limited to):

  • supply of practical personal items to address hardship such as clothing and toiletries where this is not provided by the Barge contractor
  • physical activity opportunities such as football and cricket
  • community events and social activities to welcome asylum seekers, address isolation and support people to connect with the wider community
  • projects which offer asylum seekers and residents an opportunity to attend cultural classes, skills, music and art workshops
  • social or therapeutic activities aimed at lessening isolation such as volunteering in environmental projects.
  • events and activities offering the opportunity to practice conversational English.
  • projects which give meaningful opportunities to support both the asylum seekers and the local community.
  • befriending support
Applications do not need to be for new activities or services, but we can only offer funding to existing activities where those activities are being explicitly adapted to welcome asylum seekers and meet their needs appropriately. Groups who have not worked with refugees or asylum seekers before may be required to attend relevant training (provided free of charge) as a condition of any grant award.
Priority may be given to groups that work collaboratively with other providers. We are looking to support services that bring tangible improvements to quality of life for asylum seekers in Portland, Dorset.

Organisations that can apply:

  • Constituted community and voluntary organisations
  • Registered charities
  • Community Interest Companies (must be limited by guarantee – please also check additional guidance for CICs)
  • Social Enterprises (companies limited by guarantee that have a clear not-for-profit clause in their governing document and clear charitable or social objectives)
  • Portland Town Council and Weymouth Town Council
  • Constituted Community Groups with the appropriate level of Governance

To be eligible your organisation must have:

  • at least 3 unrelated people responsible for running the organisation (for registered charities these are your Trustees, for CICs/Social Enterprises these are your Directors)
  • a written constitution or set of rules that sets out the purpose and management of the organisation
  • a bank account in the name of the organisation with at least two unrelated cheque signatories required for payments
  • an appropriate Safeguarding Policy

Guidance for new and emerging groups:

New and emerging groups who do not currently meet the above eligibility rules may apply for a grant if they can identify an established voluntary sector organisation that is willing to accept grant funds on behalf of your group and take responsibility for the use of the funds – please ask the organisation to email us to confirm.
New and emerging groups may be required to attend relevant training (working with refugees and Safeguarding) as a condition of any grant award.


  • schools are not eligible but we can fund Parent Teacher Association groups if they meet our eligibility guidelines
  • we cannot fund organisations who engage in activity or promotion of direct religion, campaigning, or causes associated with political activism
  • we cannot fund public bodies to carry out their statutory obligations
  • we cannot fund animal welfare organisations
  • we cannot offer retrospective funding for items already purchased or work completed
  • organisations with more than 12 months’ unrestricted reserves are usually not funded

What can I apply for?

Grants of up to £4,000 are available – or up to £1,000 for new groups who have been operating less than 12 months.
Two or more groups considering submitting an application for a partnership project should speak to Island Community Action before applying as partnerships may be able to apply for a higher joint amount.

The activities funded must start within one month of the award and groups have up to 12 months to spend the grant.
We can fund any reasonable costs relating to the delivering the activities or service you describe such as:
  • equipment costs
  • volunteer costs
  • translation services
  • transport costs
  • small capital items and perishables (e.g. crafting supplies, food/refreshments).
We can also fund items or expenses that may be needed in order to improve accessibility e.g. relevant equipment, accessible transport, childcare costs. Contributions to large capital appeals cannot be considered.

Projects must be available to all Barge residents and must not be selective beyond booking preference.
Projects must be fully risk assessed, a copy of which must be sent to with your application which will be shared with the Home Office
Funded Activities cannot be used to campaign for or against any political activity.
All volunteers supporting the projects must have attended the Safeguarding webinar held by Volunteer Centre Dorset / Island Community Action.
Grants cannot be used to award cash to individual asylum seekers.

Monitoring and reporting

You should have tools in place to measure and record the intended outcomes of the grant. We do not expect complex or multiple methods.
Examples may include:
  • feedback forms or questionnaires
  • interviews or discussion groups
  • recording observations
  • attendance logs
or other relevant data.

Completion of an online End of Grant report is a requirement of funding, including how funds were spent, the outcomes achieved (for beneficiaries and/or your organisation), learning during the grant period and individual case studies where relevant.

Pre-application support

Pre-application support is particularly encouraged for groups who have not applied to our grant programmes before but is available for anyone in need of advice about the application process, or if you are unsure whether your project/activity is suitable.
Please email Island Community Action for further advice.

Apply now

Applications must be made online.

Assessment Panel

The panel that will make the assessment decisions will consist of members of the Multi Agency Forum Strategic VCS Subgroup member representatives.
  • Service Manager - Ukraine Response – Chair
  • Clerk or Deputy Portland Town council or nominated town councillor
  • CEO Island Community Action
  • CEO Help and Kindness
  • Clerk or Deputy Weymouth Town Council or nominated town councillor
  • Community Liaison Coordinator
  • NHS Lead (for any applications relating to heath provision)
Panel members will need to declare an interest to any project they or their organisation is directly involved with and will not be able to vote.                                                                   
Panel members decision will be recorded.