Skip to content

We use cookies to make the site simpler. By continuing to use this site and closing this message you agree to our use of cookies.Find out more about cookies

Close alert

Coronavirus (COVID-19): updates and advice.

Voluntary Community Sector Grants Review


  • Dorset Council

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.

This survey closed on 11 March 2020. Thank you for your views. Once results are available they will be published here.


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 to 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.

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. 

Below is the financial commitment (currently owned) in grants across the former councils:

Former council area Total amount invested
Dorset County Council £915,464
North Dorset District Council £71,343
Weymouth and Portland Borough Council £95,220
East Dorset District Council £240,925
West Dorset District Council £600,567
Purbeck District Council £84,527
Total invested £1,932,369

Invested across all themes for example museums, heritage, community, leisure, arts, culture and environment.

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. 

See the Dorset Council Plan 2020 to 2024.

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 grant allocation criteria used to allocate the grants pots across all its 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 Dorset Council Officers are on the agendas to give information about the consultation. However the online survey is fully explanatory so it is not compulsory to attend an event to submit a response. 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

Please complete the survey whether 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.

Consultation timeline

Consultation commences 15 January 2020
BAVLAP DCA network meeting time & location TBC 20 January 2020
SLAP DCA network 9:30am Sherborne Library 22 January 2020
DCA North Dorset networking meeting 9:30am Sturminster Newton Day Centre 23 January 2020
Advice Partnership meeting - Wimborne 21 January 2020 2pm to 4.30pm
Culture event at Bridport Arts Centre 28 January 2020 2pm to 4pm

External Funders session at South Walks House Committee Room D by invitation only

6 February 2020 2:30pm to 4:30pm
Culture event at Durweston Village Hall 26 February 2020 11am to 1pm
Consultation closes 11 March 2020
Completion of evaluation of responses 27 March 2020
Full Consultation report completed 10 April 2020
Full Consultation report published 17 April 2020
Draft scrutiny report completed To be confirmed
Target date for Resources Scrutiny To be confirmed
Target Date for Cabinet To be confirmed
Notify all current grant recipients of new process from April 2021 To be confirmed
Procurement / commissioning timetable advice and timetable published if required To be confirmed

If your community is hosting an event and you would like a member of the Dorset Council Community team to attend to give information on the consultation, please contact Laura Cornette.

Your feedback

This form is to report content that is wrong, or any issues or feedback you have about the web page.

Contact us if you want to get in touch about a council service instead.

All fields are required.

Leave your email address so that we can provide a response.

This helps us direct your feedback to the appropriate council.

General data protection regulation (GDPR)

We will only use the personal information supplied by you in accordance with GDPR. By giving us this information you are consenting to such use as set out in our privacy notice.