Apply and guidelines

Our grant-making

We award grants to voluntary, community, faith and social enterprise (VCFSE) organisations and build trusted partnerships with individuals, businesses and the public sector to deliver sustainable funding for their work

We are committed to providing vital support for the 75,000 people in Suffolk living in POVERTY. We are passionate about improving the HEALTH AND WELLBEING  of everyone and funding projects that improve the ENVIRONMENT in which we all live. INEQUALITY & EQUITY is at the heart of everything we do, creating a fairer Suffolk where everyone can access the support they need to live a productive and fulfilling life.

Guidelines for applications

Please feel free to contact the grants team at any stage of your application for more help or support.

T. 01473 602602
E. [email protected]

Receive regular grants information

We send regular alerts, reminders and information about upcoming grant application dates.

Annual Accounts

You must provide your most recent end-of-year accounts. If these are more than 6 months old, you must also provide a copy of your current management accounts. These should show:-

• Your organisation’s income and expenditure e.g. venue hire, ticket sales etc.
• Your organisation’s unrestricted (or free) reserves

Unrestricted reserves normally exclude tangible fixed assets such as land, buildings or equipment held for the charity’s use. They also exclude funds set aside for essential future spending e.g. money saved towards a planned project or expected repair. Any deficit or loans need a clear explanation.

If your organisation has a large amount of unrestricted reserves, it may be given lower priority for funding, and we may ask to see a copy of your organisation’s Reserves Policy. As a rule, we would not normally consider funding an organisation with reserves less than 3-6 months (depending on the organisation’s size) or greater than 12 months expenditure.

For further information about the financial controls all grant applicants should have in place, click here.

Bank Account
  • You must have a bank account in the organisation’s name which requires two signatories for all transactions.
  • All signatories must be unrelated and live at different addresses.
    If your organisation uses electronic banking, the same level of internal financial controls should be in place as for more traditional forms of banking.  Therefore, SCF requires that a ‘dual authority’ system is used, where one user submits a transaction, and a different user authorises it from a ‘Pending Transactions’ screen. If your bank does not offer online dual authority authorisation, SCF will require a copy of your organisation’s Financial Controls Policy which clearly states that the organisation has a process in place whereby one person sets up a payment and two different people approve payment.
  • More guidance about electronic banking can be found on the Charity Commission website.
  • You will be asked to provide a copy of a bank statement less than three months old – please make sure that all personal information is redacted from the statement and that the name of the account, sort code and account number are clearly visible. This will be used to verify your organisation’s banking details so that we can pay your grant into your bank account if your application is successful.

These are standard measures to reduce the risk of fraud, and a requirement of most funders.

The Charity Commission also offers guidance on Internal Financial Controls on their website.

Eligibility & Evidence

Governing Document
Your organisation should have a governing document, constitution or Articles of Association to apply for funding, and a management committee with a minimum of three independent members/directors. This document will typically show:-
• The charitable aims or social objectives of your organisation
• The organisation’s powers
• Who can become a member
• How the management committee and officers are elected and their terms of office
• The roles of the different officers of the group (e.g. Treasurer, Chair, Secretary)
• How frequently the management committee meets
• The arrangements for an Annual General Meeting
• How finances are managed
• How any amendments can be made to the group’s governing document

Your document must also include a Dissolution Clause i.e. what happens to the group’s assets if it ceases to operate. This clause should state that any assets remaining after the settlement of debts will be transferred to an organisation with similar charitable purposes, and not distributed among members. Articles of Association for CICs should contain a named Asset Lock.

Read information specific to Community Interest Companies and Social Enterprises

Community Interest Company (CIC)

If your organisation is a CIC – a company limited by guarantee or other social enterprises, we can accept an application from you if you have at least three unrelated directors living at different addresses, all of whom are registered with Companies House.

If you have a director with more than 25% of the shares or more than 25% of the votes (a PSC), they must not be able to hire and fire the majority of the other directors. GOV.UK offers advice about identifying people with significant control (PSC) on their website

The Foundation may ask for details of directors’ salaries if they are also company employees.

Company Limited by Share

If your company is Limited by Shares, your Articles of Association must clearly show that dividends (or other profit-sharing schemes) are not paid to shareholders and that all profits are reinvested in the company.

Social Enterprise

All social enterprises should be generating income (or working towards this) and not be totally reliant on grant funding. This income could include commissioned contracts and/or trading.

The Charity Commission offers guidance about governing documents on its website here.

Equality, Diversity & Inclusion

Some projects will target particular groups of people, for example youth groups and day care centres. We expect our grants to benefit everyone in your community who wants to use the services or activities you provide. An Equality, Diversity & Inclusion policy will show us that your organisation is inclusive and treats everyone fairly and should contain:-

  •  A clear anti-discriminatory statement
  • A clear anti-harassment/bullying statement
  • Reference to the policy covering trustees, volunteers and service-users as well as employees
  • Reference to recruitment, selection, employment and training if you employ staff or volunteers
  • Reference to the most up to date legislation (i.e. the Equality Act 2010)
  • Reference to the nine protected characteristics

This policy should have been reviewed within the last 3 years, showing the date of this review and the date of the next. It should be signed and show the date of adoption by your management committee. You must confirm you have this rather than supply it.

Evidence of Need

This factsheet, provided by Suffolk County Council, aims to provide a succinct overview of evidencing the need for your project ideas and potential sources of data that support your own engagement with potential beneficiaries.

Download it here.

General Information

Completing an online application form:

  • We recommend that the form is completed if possible on a laptop or PC and in a browser other than Safari. Regularly ‘Save Draft’ while completing the form.
  • Before submitting, choose ‘Print’ – ‘Destination’ – ‘Save as PDF’ which will allow you to save and print a PDF copy of the completed form.
Monitoring and Evaluation

We monitor and evaluate successful applicants to ensure that funding has been spent appropriately. Groups funded will receive an End of Grant Monitoring Form to complete and a possible visit by a member of the Foundation to evaluate the progress and the effectiveness of the grant. All monitoring forms are sent at the time of award and you should therefore familiarise yourself with the requirements before starting delivery.

The satisfactory completion of the monitoring and evaluation form is a pre-requisite for any future grant application.

A full end-of-grant monitoring report will be expected and interim reporting may be requested on your terms and conditions. This will need to include benchmarking of the beneficiaries at the beginning and end of the service, i.e. how were they referred to the service, what change has happened.

All funding supported must show three clear measurable outcomes which will have to be reported on at the end of the grant funding. All applicants must be aware that they need to capture baseline data and show a journey of change at the end of delivery.

Download and read more – Monitoring and Evaluation Fact Sheet

If you are unsure how to describe what the outcomes of your project or intervention will be, as a general rule, think of the phrase ‘as a result of’ and describe what will be qualitatively or quantitively different as a direct result of your inputs.

A full end-of-grant monitoring report will be expected and interim reporting may be requested on your terms and conditions. This will need to include benchmarking of the beneficiaries at the beginning and end of the service, i.e. how were they referred to the service and what change has happened.

As part of your grant, you are required to send us an anonymised case study to demonstrate the impact of your work. Please see here for a guide to assist you with writing a good study.


Terms and conditions

Section 1: Principal Terms
1.1 The grant must be used for the exact purpose described in the application form.

1.2 The grant will be spent within one year of receipt unless otherwise specified.

1.3 The objectives, purpose and outcomes for which this grant is made, including any numerical targets, will be sent to you within your grant award email and these form part of these Terms and Conditions.

1.4 If during the delivery of the project, it becomes apparent that the project is unlikely to achieve the objectives, completion date, purpose or outcomes for which the grant was awarded, the organisation must advise Suffolk Community Foundation (the Foundation) immediately.  The organisation will not make any changes to the objectives, date of delivery, purpose and outcomes without prior consultation with and written permission from the Foundation.

1.5 Any supplementary conditions required as stated within your award email must be satisfied before the grant can be paid.

1.6 If material changes are made to the organisation’s constitution or articles of association during the grant period, the Foundation must be notified.

1.7 The organisation must comply with all relevant legislation that affects how the project is carried out.

Section 2: Finances
2.1 The organisation will keep all financial records and accounts, including receipts for items bought with the grant, for at least six years from receiving the grant. These will be made available to the Foundation if requested. (This does not release the organisation from its legal obligations to keep records for longer periods.)

2.2 The Foundation’s grant will be shown separately in the organisation’s annual accounts as ‘restricted funds’ and will not be included in its general funds.

2.3  If the grant is not fully spent for the purpose awarded within 1 year of the award, any underspend will be returned to the Foundation.

2.4 The Foundation may hold back a grant or ask for repayment in whole or in part in the following circumstances:

l.    If the organisation fails to keep to this contract including the timeframe for delivery.

ll.   If the application form was completed dishonestly, or the supporting documents gave false or misleading information.

lll.   If the organisation does not follow an appropriate Safeguarding Policy, Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Policy or Financial Controls.

lV.   If any member of the governing body, staff or volunteer acts dishonestly or negligently in the implementation of the grant.

V.   If the organisation closes, goes into administration, receivership or liquidation.

Vl.   If the monitoring requirements are not completed within the specified timeframes or are inadequate

Section 3: Publicity
3.1 The grant should be recognised in the organisation’s annual report, in the accounts that cover the period of the grant, and in any publicity material produced about the project. The organisation should use the wording “Funding from Suffolk Community Foundation through [Fund Name].”

3.2 The Foundation can use the organisation’s name and the name of the project in its publicity materials. The organisation will inform the Foundation where confidentiality is a particular issue.

3.3 Where appropriate, the organisation will use the Foundation’s logo and that of the affiliated donor organisation (unless the donor has requested anonymity) in any marketing or publicity materials produced in respect of this grant.  The Foundation will supply the required logo(s) on request.

Section 4: Equipment
4.1 All equipment purchased with the grant must be covered by the organisation’s insurance.

4.2 The organisation will not sell or dispose of any equipment or other assets funded or part-funded by the Foundation without first receiving written permission from the Foundation. If any equipment or assets are sold within their working life without such permission, the Foundation will be reimbursed.

Section 5: Monitoring and Reporting
5.1  The link to the end of the grant monitoring report will be sent to the person completing this application. The organisation must advise the Foundation of any change in personnel responsible for reporting on the project, or any change in contact information.

5.2 All monitoring requirements including any additional fund-specific monitoring will be outlined within the grant award email. Please ensure that you familiarise yourself with these BEFORE the project commences to ensure that you are able to report on the requirements.

5.3 If you cannot adhere to the grant monitoring requirements you must contact the Foundation BEFORE the project starts.  Funding can be withdrawn at this stage.

5.4 The organisation will comply with all reasonable monitoring requirements during the delivery of the project funded in whole or in part through this grant as outlined in the grant award email.

5.5  The organisation will complete the Foundation’s End of Grant Monitoring Report within one year of the date of the grant award, or once the grant has been fully spent if sooner.

5.6 Please detail in your monitoring report how you have met the outcomes described in your application. Inadequate monitoring may jeopardise future funding requests or require repayment of funds to the Foundation.

5.7 Payment of all grants will be dependent on completion of any outstanding monitoring reports.

Section 6: Declarations
6.1 I am authorised to make this application and I am authorised to agree to these terms and conditions on behalf of the organisation.

6.2 I confirm that the information contained in this application is correct.

6.3 I give permission for the Foundation to record the information in this application electronically.

6.4 As part of the Foundation’s due diligence process, I give permission for the Foundation to contact relevant organisations or individuals in relation to this funding request.

6.5 I confirm that the organisation has an Equality, Diversity & Inclusion Policy (or Equal Opportunities Policies) covering (where relevant) staff, trustees, volunteers and service users which has been reviewed within the last 3 years and which fully complies with the latest legislation.

6.6 I confirm that the organisation undertakes staff or volunteer DBS checks where needed/appropriate.


As a key governance priority, The Foundation will not assess applications submitted without a current safeguarding policy that is compliant with the most up-to-date reporting procedures for concerns in Suffolk.

All organisations, not just those working directly with children and/or adults at risk of harm, need a safeguarding policy and safeguarding procedures in place which also cover staff, volunteers and beneficiaries.

Your safeguarding policies and procedures must contain:

  • The name and contact telephone number for the organisation’s Designated Safeguarding Officer (DSO)
  • Reference to the different types and signs of abuse
  • The organisation’s reporting procedure for safeguarding concerns
  • Reference to the organisation’s safe recruitment practices (e.g. DBS checks) for those working directly with children and/or adults at risk, including volunteers
  • Reference to ensuring that all staff and volunteers are appropriately trained to recognise and report safeguarding concerns.

The policy should have been reviewed within the last 3 years, show the date of this review and the date of the next. It should be signed and show the date of adoption by your management committee.

For advice and assistance with your safeguarding policy, Suffolk Community Foundation partners with Community Action Suffolk which is the ‘go-to’ organisation for VCFSE organisations in Suffolk.

You can find comprehensive information about safeguarding on their resources page, including examples, safeguarding policies and procedures.

You can also contact Jacqui Wilkinson, Training, Safeguarding and Quality Framework Development officer directly who will be able to assist you to ensure that your policy is fit for purpose. You can contact Jacqui direct on [email protected]

If your safeguarding policy is not compliant with the Foundation’s criteria your application will not be assessed.

community action suffolk logo

Unfortunately we are unable to support the following:
    • Projects not benefiting people living in Suffolk
    • Grants directly to individuals or families for personal needs (with the exception of the Martineau Care Fund and donor designated donations)
    • Direct replacement of statutory obligation and public funding
    • Promotion of religious or political causes
    • Groups with significant financial free reserves – typically more than 12 months
    • Nothing which is likley to be covered under NHS statutory services
    • Retrospective grants
    • Contribution to endowment funds, payment of deficit funding or repayment of loans
    • National charities that are not providing clear local benefits
    • Overseas travel or expeditions
    • Sponsored or fundraising events or groups raising funds to redistribute to other causes, including those that are grant makers
    • Medical research and equipment for statutory or private healthcare
    • Research, consultation or feasibility studies
    • Large projects unless 70% of the funding has already been raised and the project will be completed within 1 year
    • Start-up funding for a project that is unable to start within nine months
    • Commercial ventures, unless the group is a registered not for profit organisation
    • General appeals, tribunals or legal costs
    • Animal welfare, unless the project benefits people (e.g. disabled riding schemes)
    • Statutory work in educational institutions
    • Fees for professional fundraisers
    • Contingency monies
    • Grant-making organisations
    • One-off events such as music, literary or art festivals

Our 5-step grant-making process

1. Submit Application

Submit your completed application via the relevant online form for the relevant fund.

Please ensure that along with your completed application you upload the following governance supporting documents:

  • Governing Document
  • Safeguarding Policy – Reviewed within the last 3 years
  • Recent End of Year Accounts, plus your current management accounts if the end-of-year accounts are more than 6 months old
  • Copy of a bank statement less than 3 months old or a paying-in slip.

If you have previously received funding from us,  you do not need to re-submit your governing document unless there have been material changes such as a change of name.

PLEASE NOTE: Your application will not be assessed without receipt of all the required supporting documents.

You will receive an automated receipt of the submission. Please contact us if you have any questions or if you have any issues with our process.

Tel. 01473 602602
Email. [email protected]


2. Application Assessment

Every week the grants team meets to discuss grant applications received that week and will only take forward those for a full assessment who have supplied all of the supporting documents and those who meet the criteria of the fund.

If your application is withdrawn at this stage, you will be notified via email and you will have the opportunity to re-apply in line with the supporting documents required or amend your project to more closely meet the fund criteria and expected outcomes.

Once the fund application deadline has closed (you will see this date on every fund) the grants team will undertake a full assessment of your application, during which time your organisation or group may be contacted or the assessor may wish to visit.

The grant assessment process usually takes up to 6 weeks, but there may be exceptions, please refer to the fund criteria when applying which will outline any variations.

3. Panel

Approximately 6 weeks after the submission deadline (the date will vary depending on the fund and panel availability) an independent panel with a minimum of 4 representatives will meet to discuss all applications. This panel is totally independent of the Foundation.

Those applications which best meet the fund’s criteria and expected outcomes will be prioritised to be awarded funding within the allocated funds budget.

Some funds are oversubscribed and therefore the panel will award grants to projects that most meet its criteria, up to the value of the funds available, all other applications will be rejected.

4. Decision Made

Once a panel has agreed on which grants to award, you will be contacted by the grants team with an offer letter which may include any requests for any outstanding conditions. Our terms and conditions will be attached which need to be signed by the 2 trustees, as stated on the T&Cs before the award is released.

If you have not been successful, you will be notified via email. We are unable to fund every application but where possible we may be able to fund certain aspects from a number of funds to fully meet the request.

The grants team therefore may take your application, where suitable to additional fund panels.

Please note that there is no right of appeal on award decisions made.

5. Grant Released

Once all conditions have been met and the terms and conditions returned, the grant will be released to you with a link to the outcomes monitoring report which is required at the end of the project.

Please familiarise yourself with the outcome monitoring which is required as you may need to collect baseline data from the start of your project.