Suffolk Rural Fund

Grant Type Core costs and project costs
Status Closed
Applications accepted from Social Enterprises? Yes
Maximum grant available £4,000

Brief Description

Grants to support the work of voluntary, community and social enterprise organisations and parish councils for initiatives that aim to improve the quality of life for those who live and work in rural communities.


A definition of rural

For the purposes of this fund the definition of ‘rural’ is taken from the Government’s rural-urban classification for England, where ‘urban’ areas are taken as settlements of more than 10,000 people and ‘rural’ areas refers to smaller towns (less than 10,000 people), villages, hamlets or isolated dwellings (as identified by ONS Census 2011).

Background to the Suffolk Rural Fund

Rural communities share similar social problems to urban communities but these issues can be intensified by the challenges of living in a rural community. Rurality can accelerate and compound a problem, increasing the level of need and making recovery longer and less probable.

Through our intelligence from our community grantmaking, our Hidden Needs Research on deprivation in Suffolk, and the evaluation of our Surviving Winter fuel poverty campaign, we have become very aware of the nature and extent of acute need in rural Suffolk communities, where need is defined as:

  • Material want or income poverty
  • Loneliness or social isolation
  • Lack of access or limited access to services and opportunities

Suffolk Community Foundation are working in partnership with Suffolk County Council to deliver this funding programme. This fund has also been established with support from  the Big Lottery,  who will be matching the first £200,000 awarded by the Foundation through the fund over the next two years.

The Suffolk Rural Fund will look to support initiatives that aim to improve the quality of life for those who live and work in rural communities, particularly where they seek to address rural need.

The Fund will support the work of constituted organisations. Additionally, funding is available for smaller ‘micro’ projects hosted by their local parish councils, as we recognise that locally led community action can be deterred by the perceived bureaucracy involved in setting up an organisation, especially if the project being undertaken is a one-off or small in scale.

Grants of up to £4,000 are available to constituted organisations and up to £1,000 to ‘micro’ projects hosted by parish councils.

What the fund will support

Initiatives should meet one of the following themes:

Outreach charitable work: the cost of outreach work to meet the need and develop services for rural communities typically delivered by town-based organisations. Examples; training new outreach volunteers, increasing an organisation’s range of delivery, working in partnership with existing organisations to reach new audiences.

Development of community hubs: community hubs are incredibly important for rural communities, enabling communities to come together. The fund will support costs associated with setting up, maintaining or improving community hubs such as community owned shops, community owned pubs and community halls, where it can be shown that this work will meet local community need and impact on the life of residents living in rural communities.

Community self-help: This fund will support constituted organisations and  ‘micro’ projects that are ‘hosted’ by their local Parish Council.  The Foundation believes that encouraging community led action empowers and improves communities, which as a result often stimulate more ambitious activities as confidence, experience and community buy-in evolves. Examples; village litter clean-up projects needing visibility vests and equipment, Good Neighbourhood schemes, lunch clubs, befriending schemes and computer clubs.

Who can apply

The fund is open to registered charities, constituted community groups and other charitable organisations working in Suffolk including Social Enterprises and CICs, and Parish Councils who are hosting community led activity and applying on behalf of these groups

Individuals are not eligible to apply.

Types of activity that cannot be funded:

  • This fund will not support the cost of research, feasibility studies or consultancy fees.
  • For capital projects, applications can only be supported when the majority of the funding is in place and grants from this fund can be spent within the year (typically, this will mean that 70% of the funding will be in place).


The Suffolk Rural Fund is a joint initiative and being match-funded by Big Lottery Fund.




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