Eligibility criteria

Priority areas for this fund

Applicants need to meet at least one of our corporate priorities.

Desired outcomes for this fund

We will be asking you to deliver a project that makes a positive impact or difference to people in our communities. We will expect your project to contribute to at least one of the following outcomes:

  • better pathways for young people to get into employment
  • promoting equality and social inclusion through events
  • improving the health and wellbeing of communities and people particularly vulnerable people
  • helping disabled people to live independent lives
  • reach, empower and support new diverse, disadvantaged and marginalised communities
  • making a positive environmental impact
  • improving lives of those suffering rural deprivation
  • overcoming digital exclusion in isolated communities or targeted groups and using digital technology to engage more communities
  • developing new activity within organisations
  • helping people to feel more connected to the place in Dorset where they live
  • raising the profile of the arts, heritage, sport, environment and climate change themes

Culture specific outcomes

  • create memorable experiences which help enrich, interpret and celebrate Dorset’s coast, towns and countryside 
  • develop high- quality arts, heritage and cultural offer to command regional, national and international recognition
  • demonstrate sustainable cultural tourism, increase employment in Dorset’s cultural sector, raise aspirations and retain local talent
  • employ Artists, creatives and freelancers to include them in decision making and to ensure they are paid properly

Who can apply

  • organisations that operate within the Dorset Council area for the benefit of people who live there
  • constituted organisations
  • Parish and Town Councils in Dorset
  • non-profit making organisations operated with no undue restriction on membership e.g. Charities
  • charitable incorporated organisations (CIO),
  • community Interest Companies (CIC), We will only fund CIC’s with a minimum of 3 directors, two of whom must be unrelated. We need to see a clear ‘Asset Lock’ Statement and Memorandums and Articles of Association.
  • registered Community Amateur Sports Club (CASC),
  • Company Ltd by Guarantee (not for profit)
  • accredited Museums
  • heritage organisations
  • arts organisations
  • sports organisations
  • community organisations
  • partnership of organisations with a written partnership agreement (Town Councils can be part of a partnership project)
  • places of worship provided their project does not promote religious beliefs or particular faiths and can demonstrate non-religious cultural, sporting or social impact activities
  • food projects including foodbanks, Community Fridges and those that address food insecurity

Eligibility for this fund

  • an organisation can only apply once to this fund, in the current financial year, unless it is a new project starting after 1 April 2024. They must have completed their last project before making a new application to this fund again
  • organisations can only submit one grant application in this round
  • newly constituted organisations (the amount such organisations can apply for is £1,500) who have been in existence for less than 12 months, are eligible to apply without having to present a set of accounts but must be able to demonstrate they have a constitution and bank account. Before drawing down funding they will be required to have public liability insurance, and a safeguarding policy in place
  • an organisation who is revenue funded by Dorset Council may apply for project funding providing the project is distinctly separate and adds value or enhances the organisations work and increases their social impact
  • where the organisation relies on the Organisations premises to deliver the project the premises should have reasonable security of tenure for at least 5 years
  • organisations with an annual income over £500,000 are not eligible for this fund unless their project has a grass roots and local focus with distinct benefits for Dorset communities. Contact a Dorset Council officer about your project:
  • organisations must be able to demonstrate financial need for the project

What we will fund

  • projects that deliver an environmental impact or cultural activities that incorporate environmental/climate change themes
  • projects that support communities with the cost-of-living challenges
  • projects that address, and fund cultural projects that reach isolated audiences via digital/online solutions.
  • one off events /major events/activities which have the potential to raise the profile of the arts, heritage, sport and the environment in the Dorset Council area including those that promote equality and social inclusion.
  • volunteer led projects that include equipment and staffing costs which add value or enhances the normal activities of your group or organisation.
  • play that includes young people with disabilities and play projects that improve health and wellbeing through opportunity for physical activity. Play projects that demonstrate consultation with young people, schools and local community. 
  • projects and one-off events that promote health and wellbeing and physical  activity
  • project management costs up to a maximum of 10% of total project costs
  • projects that address disadvantage in communities
  • pilot projects that demonstrate new / innovative ways of working to deliver support to communities or deliver cultural activity

What we will not fund

  • applications directly from schools/colleges/nurseries/universities. Any applications should be made through their PTA/Friends of Charities. We will not fund curriculum related projects that happen within school time. Projects that extend outreach activities to schools to develop new audiences for the organisation and/or are for the benefit of the community will be considered
  • applications from organisations who are attempting to secure more than one grant in this round
  • core or continuation costs e.g. normal staffing costs, business rates, normal insurance, and other running costs normally incurred by the organisation.
  • projects that have already started unless you can show that additional funding will add value, enhance or extend your original project
  • feasibility studies, research projects
  • capital applications for ongoing repairs, routine maintenance and refurbishments to buildings, community centres, sports halls or village halls including car parks, play areas, MUGAS, pitches and landscaping
  • purchase of land for future development
  • loan repayments or road vehicles costs
  • projects with a total cost of less than £1,000
  • projects outside the Dorset Council area i.e. Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole and other surrounding areas
  • individuals or personal equipment
  • commercial Organisations
  • external Bursary schemes or grants programmes administered by the applicant
  • speed Indicator Devices (SIDS)
  • projects for 1:1 mentoring or tutorial of individuals
  • projects for services that are already commissioned by Dorset Council which have been awarded to other organisations/agencies
  • hospitals and Hospices cannot be considered as the lead applicant, but projects led by cultural organisations to deliver enhanced social and cultural impact will be considered.
  • promotion of religious or political beliefs
  • projects which in our opinion could harm the reputation of Dorset Council

What your application needs to demonstrate:

  • the need for financial support for your project
  • value for money
  • this new project fund will fund a maximum of 80% project funding with a minimum of 20% match funding from the applicant
  • applicants will have to demonstrate where the 20% cash contribution will be coming from and whether it is confirmed or pending
  • how the project meets at least one of the Dorset Council priorities
  • why your project is needed and what outcomes you will achieve
  • that your project/event has not taken place or that expenditure is not already committed
  • start and end date for your project
  • your organisation is democratically managed, has a constitution, a bank statement and one year of accounts which must be not less than 12 months old
  • safeguarding and statements about equalities, environment, GDPR
  • the project grant award will allow projects to be delivered within 12 months of funds being released
  • the value of any ‘in kind’ contributions, but this is not a condition of the grant fund. Any ‘In kind’ contributions will not be able to be used as match funding
  • understanding as to how you intend to gather feedback, evaluate the project and demonstrate your outcomes
  • open access to planned events and activities
  • an outline project and budget plan showing costs
  • capability within your organisation to project manage, risk assess and deliver activities

Terms and conditions

  • funds will be awarded as a single grant award at the start of your project
  • if any changes are made to the project you must consult with Dorset Council, failure to do so may result in part or all of the grant awarded having to be returned
  • for projects being delivered by a consortia or partnership, it is the lead partner who is responsible for overseeing delivery and monitoring of the project
  • applicants will be required to submit an end of project report or survey, and provide any evaluation/feedback requested prior to invoicing for the final payment
  • applicants will be asked to sign a standard grant agreement with full details of their grants award including terms and conditions
  • all organisations will require to submit an 'End of Project Report'. Applications must be submitted on the councils online form
  • applicants requesting small amounts of capital funding towards equipment costs must provide Dorset council with a copy of the quote/invoice
  • applicants will need to demonstrate and evidence that their project is needed and that the intended beneficiaries of the project have been involved and consulted with
  • decisions made by Dorset Council’s Grants Panel are final. There is no appeals process.
  • Dorset Council will not accept/consider any applications received after the closing date
  • we reserve the right to make changes to the guidance and/or programme after its launch. We will communicate any changes as quickly as we can

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