Apply for support

The Community Foundation provides grants and other support to groups and individuals, thanks to the donors who choose to give through us. We match applications from groups and individuals to our donors’ interests.
We support a wide range of people and causes across three broad themes: supporting people to overcome disadvantage, creating stronger communities and making the area a good place to live. You can also download a copy of our grant-making policy here.

It is important that you read the information on these pages very carefully before applying to make sure you are eligible and, if so, that your application reaches us through the right channel. If you have any questions about applying, you can call us on 0191 222 0945.

  • We make grants to a wide range of organisations. We are particularly keen to help grassroots community groups and small-to-medium-sized voluntary organisations. We do not normally make grants to large UK-wide charities, but we might do so where there are strong relationships in our area and the proposal has potential to achieve a substantial impact.

  • You do not have to be a registered charity to apply, but the work you ask us to support must be legally charitable. However, please note that we can only make grants for general running costs or unrestricted purposes to charities. Grants to any other organisations will always be restricted for a specific charitable purpose.

  • You must have a governing document (constitution, rules, memorandum and articles of association etc.), a governing body of at least three unrelated individuals, and a bank account in your group’s name with at least two unrelated signatories.

  • Community Interest Companies (CICs) and other non-charitable social enterprises with a business plan that shows realistic aspirations for non-grant income generation can apply for a restricted grant to support the charitable costs of any start-up or expansion. We do not normally support such organisations with the costs of continuing services, which should be financed by the sale of goods and services in line with the governance model they have chosen. When making an application, CICs and non-charitable social enterprises must provide a Community Interest Statement and business plan.

  • For general Community Foundation grants, you can apply whatever your income level. Some funds and programmes may have more specific requirements about the size and type of organisation eligible. When this is the case, there will always be a call for applications which will state the criteria you must meet.

  • Please note if you have previously had a grant from us we will not consider any new application unless you have sent us all the required grant reports.

  • Our general Community Foundation grants are for activities in Tyne and Wear or Northumberland only. If your work is in these areas, you can apply on our general form and we will try to match your request to a fund.
  • Some funds and programmes provide support across the whole of the North East and occasionally in other parts of northern England. When this is the case, there will always be a call for applications stating the area which is eligible.
Through our grants to groups, we are interested in supporting:

  • Services and activities that work – helping groups maintain, expand or provide new services, with an emphasis on quality and effectiveness.

  • Stronger organisations – organisational development rather than the costs of services, and strengthening civil society overall.

  • Change in policy and practice – where the focus is not on services but on influencing improvements in relevant policy and practice.

General Community Foundation grants are usually for amounts under £5,000. They can be towards running costs (including salaries), projects, equipment or capital developments. The work can be new, continuing or a one-off initiative.

Some funds and programmes offer larger grants. When this is the case, there will always be a call for applications stating the amounts available. Occasionally we make larger awards where we combine contributions from our Vital Tyne & Wear and Vital Northumberland funds (which respond to issues in Vital Signs) and our donor funds. We usually do this by inviting a proposal to us. In all cases, you must have a strong case for support. That means being able to explain what you will do with the grant, who will benefit and how you know the work will make a difference to the intended beneficiaries or cause.

We will not fund requests to support:

  • contributions to general appeals or circulars;
  • religious activity which is not for wider public benefit;
  • public bodies to carry out their statutory obligations;
  • activities which solely support animal welfare;
  • activities which have already taken place;
  • grant making by other organisations;
  • Privately owned and profit-distributing companies or limited partnerships.
We take up to twelve weeks to make a decision. We will let you know if you have been awarded a grant or not. If we think your application might be suitable for a particular fund but this will take more than twelve weeks we will contact you.
  • We hold some specific funds which provide help to individuals leaving care, those in education and those seeking to develop talent in arts, sport and science.

  • Current opportunities for individuals are found on the next page. If your request does not fit with any of the funds listed below it will not be considered.

  • Generally grants are for individuals in Tyne and Wear or Northumberland, but some funds help people in other parts of North East England. The information about which areas are eligible is explained in the criteria for each fund.