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Voluntary Community Sector Grants Review

Dorset Council is conducting a review of how to financially support the voluntary community sector beyond March 2021. This page will provide updated information throughout the process so please check back regularly.


Prior to the creation of Dorset Council, all six of the predecessor councils in the Dorset Council area prioritised and supported the Voluntary Community Sector (VCS). Each district, borough and the county council allocated their funds their local VCS using criteria in order to meet their corporate priorities. All predecessor councils set out to support building capacity in communities, and to support individuals to reduce demand on public services and the requirement of high cost interventions in Dorset. See a summary of the totals funded by the sovereign councils - ADD LINK

In the financial year 2019/20 a combined total of £1.9 million was invested in the VCS. Of this, £216,000 was capital funds and £1.8 million was revenue funds. 

The purpose of the review is to reconsider the amount of direct financial contributions offered to VCS organisations by the council which will include the provision for information, advice and guidance - currently provided by Citizen’s Advice, as well as ensuring Dorset Council is funding organisations which meets the council’s priorities and supports those more disadvantaged communities. 

The council will consult stakeholders on the amalgamation of a range of existing funds into three categories:  

  • Earmarked funds for: 
    • information, advice and guidance  
    • support of arts sector 
    • voluntary sector support  
    • four museums and two community buildings we have a direct reversion interest for  
  • revenue grant scheme for local voluntary and community groups to apply to
  • capital grant scheme for voluntary and community sector organisations to bid into for capital projects and for match funding for attracting external funding 

The council will also consult on the criteria used to allocate the grants pots separated by themes. 


This consultation survey is directed at all those who either work for or who benefit from any of Dorset’s valued voluntary community sector organisations, these are defined as organisations whose sole purpose is to enrich and benefit Dorset residents lives and which create ‘social wealth’ and who operate without support from central Government and which all profits are put back into the community.

We invite and encourage engagement from all those people who are involved in or who benefit from the services and events provided by our voluntary community sector (VCS). The VCS is made up of the following types of organisations - charities, foundations, community groups, sports organisations, faith groups, housing associations, social enterprises, grant making trusts and resident groups.

There are several events happening throughout the Dorset Council area throughout the consultation period which will give information about the consultation. However the online survey is fully explanatory so it is not at all compulsory to attend an event to submit a response, additionally the only way to respond to the consultation is via the official survey, either online or paper copies can be found in all Dorset Council libraries and either handed in there or sent to:

The Consultation and Engagement Team
Dorset Council
County Hall
Colliton Park

Have your say - ADD SURVEY LINK

Please complete the survey wherever you currently receive a voluntary sector funding grant from Dorset Council or not.

This consultation and subsequent review will result in new Dorset Council funding criteria and a new grant giving model to be implemented from April 2021.

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