Funding FAQs


Below are the Frequently Asked Questions about Norfolk Community Foundation funds, and how to apply for a grant.
Please click on the headings below to jump to the relevant sections, then click on the green circle to display the answer:
What types of group are eligible to apply?
Is our group set up and run appropriately?
Is our project suitable for a grant?
Making an application
What happens if our application is successful?
What happens if our application is not successful?
Where else could we look for funding?

What types of group are eligible to apply?

Who can apply?

Constituted organisations or groups that have been established for charitable purposes and offer wide community benefit can apply, provided there is a formal structure – see further details below.  The Apply page will help different types of groups identify potential funding sources for their projects.

Can Town and Parish Councils apply?

Yes, providing the project for which funding is requested is not something the Council would reasonably be expected to fund from its own resources, or would normally be covered by Government or public funding. We prioritise genuine community activity, and as such most of our funds will not typically consider applications for notice boards, Christmas lights, bus shelters, war memorials, benches, village signs or other street furniture, or any similar items. If in doubt please contact the Grants Team. Please note District Councils are not eligible to apply to any of our funds.

Can faith groups apply?

Yes, provided that the project for which funding is requested does not promote religious beliefs and would not exclude anyone on the grounds of religion (either explicitly or through the way in which the project is designed or run).

Can a national charity apply for a grant?

The Foundation gives priority to small, local charities and voluntary groups whose work benefits people in the county. However, national charities with a significant local presence can apply if it can be clearly evidenced that the grant will make a difference to local people.  It is preferred that national charities have a local management structure, and are able to evidence that any grant can be ringfenced for Norfolk activities.

Can Community Interest Companies (CICs) and other Social Enterprises apply?

CICs and other forms of Social Enterprise are eligible to apply to most of our funds. If you are this type of organisation you should read the following guidance before starting an application and talk to us if you are unsure whether you meet our requirements – CIC and social enterprise guidance. 

Are schools and in-school activities eligible?

Norfolk Community Foundation does not normally make grants to schools or other organisations delivering National Curriculum/ government funded education.  Please see the Find A Fund feature to check if there are currently any relevant opportunities. 

Norfolk Community Foundation is not able to support activities that take place in curriculum/ classroom time.  In limited circumstances after school/extra curricular activities will be considered where the aim of the project is to work with the wider community. 

Can newly formed groups apply?

New groups are welcome to apply to our funds. Please note all appropriate structures and policies should be in place before doing so. It is understood that newly formed groups will not be able to present annual accounts, however they should provide as much information as possible about their financial position and plans for sustainability. Visit the Advice & Support section for details of the local organisations that can help you form a new group and develop the required governance.

Can individuals apply?

Norfolk Community Foundation offers a small number of funding opportunities for individuals – please refer to Grants for individuals page for further details.

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Is our group set up and run appropriately?

What structures do groups need to have in place to apply for a grant?

To apply for a grant from Norfolk Community Foundation, your group must have the following in place, but please read the guidance notes for each fund as there may be additional requirements:

  • A management committee of at least three unrelated people
  • A governing document/constitution
  • Accounts which summarise your annual income and expenditure (we understand that newly established groups will not be able to provide these)
  • A bank account in the name of the group that requires a minimum of two signatories unrelated by birth, marriage or civil partnership to authorise payments
  • An equal opportunities policy/ statement
  • If you are working with young people or vulnerable adults you will need to have relevant safeguarding policies

You can find out more about these requirements in the sections below. If you need any help or advice with developing your group’s constitution, policies or safeguarding measures visit the Advice & Support section for details of the local organisations that can help you.  

Please note your group is also expected to have appropriate insurance in place – you may need to seek independent professional advice on what is required.  Voluntary Norfolk offers some helpful guidance on the types of insurance you may need here.

What do you mean by a constitution?

Your group must have a constitution or set of rules to apply for our funding. This document will typically show what the aims of the group are, the group’s powers, who can be a member, how the management committee and officers are elected and their term 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 constitution and what happens to the group’s assets if it stops operating (a dissolution clause). This clause should show that any assets remaining after the settlement of debts are transferred to an organisation with similar purposes and not distributed among members. As part of assessment we will review your constitution and if it does not these expectations we may reject your application.

What do you mean by a management committee?

In order to be eligible for our grants a group must have a management committee in place with a minimum of 3 persons – typically taking the roles of Chair, treasurer and secretary. A minimum of 2 unrelated persons from the management committee should have responsibility for signing cheques from the group’s account – this is a standard measure to reduce the risk of fraud, and a requirement of most funders.  If your group uses online banking it is still expected that there will be dual authorisation needed on transactions – the Charity Commission offers guidance on Internal Financial Controls on their website at which covers online banking and other financial management matters.

Why do we need an Equal Opportunities Policy?

We expect our grants to benefit all of the people in your community who might want to use the services or activities your group provides. An equal opportunities policy or statement will show us that your group treats all members and potential members fairly. It will set out how people get to be members of your group and gain access to the opportunities and services you offer and will contain a clear anti-discriminatory statement. If you employ staff or volunteers, equal opportunities will also cover recruitment, selection, employment and training. We understand that certain projects are only relevant to specific types of people; for example a luncheon club may only be aimed at older people and not at all members of the community. Your constitution may include a clause regarding equal opportunities that meets this requirement.

Do we need a Child Protection Policy?

We expect all groups working directly with children to have a policy outlining what steps the group will take to safeguard children while in their care.

What do you mean by a Vulnerable Person’s Policy?

A vulnerable person is anyone who, for whatever reason, is unable to protect themselves without support. This could include people with mental ill health, the elderly, and people who have learning or physical disabilities. The policy will set out what specific steps your group will take to safeguard vulnerable people including training for volunteers, risk assessments, what procedures are to be followed in the event of suspicions of abuse of the vulnerable person.

What are DBS checks?

DBS (Disclosure and Barring Service) checks have replaced CRB (Criminal Records Bureau) checks. These checks are required for anyone who will be in contact with children or vulnerable adults as part of their role.

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Is our project suitable for a grant?

What costs can we apply for?

Norfolk Community Foundation is able to fund a wide range of project costs. These may include capital purchases e.g. equipment, maintenance or improvement of community buildings, or revenue costs such as venue hire, promotional costs, start-up expenses, activities or training.

We will consider applications for core costs but are unlikely to fund repeat applications for broadly the same core costs for more than two consecutive years. We encourage organisations to investigate a range of alternative sources of funding for such costs to ensure sustainability.

Applications for core running costs and staff salaries are expected to provide details of how such costs will be met after the requested grant is spent.

What types of project are NOT eligible?

The list below is not exhaustive, and aims to provide guidance on activities that are typically unsuitable for our funds.

  • Projects benefiting people outside of Norfolk or other eligible area stated in the fund criteria
  • Individuals for their personal needs
  • Retrospective grants – i.e. for work that has already taken place or costs that have already been incurred.
  • Statutory organisations, except Parish and Town Councils
  • Schools or other organisations delivering National Curriculum/ government funded education  (except in limited circumstances)
  • Direct replacement of statutory obligation and public funding.
  • Organisations controlled by public sector bodies.
  • The purchase of equipment that will become the property of a statutory body.
  • Improvements to land or buildings where the grant applicant does not have a legal interest in the land/building.
  • Projects where the grant award cannot be spent within the stated grant term (typically 12 months)
  • Medical research in all circumstances, and medical equipment where it will be used by statutory operated or funded health services.
  • Sports projects (unless there is strong evidence of disadvantage or clear evidence of the project addressing social inclusion/ community cohesion). We would not expect to fund applications from groups wanting to attend sporting events.
  • Arts projects (unless there is strong evidence that the project is addressing disadvantage and that those taking part are gaining new and useful life skills). We are very unlikely to fund professional performance fees.
  • Environmental projects (we would normally expect to see strong benefits for people – not just the environment – e.g. evidence of health/mental health benefits or improvements to employment prospects for volunteers).
  • Promotion of religious or political causes or political lobbying.
  • Commercial ventures.
  • General appeals.
  • Sponsorship.
  • Animal welfare unless the project benefits people e.g. disabled riding schemes.
  • Overseas travel or expeditions for individuals and groups.
  • Organisations raising funds to redistribute to other causes.
  • Projects that do not directly contribute to community activity e.g. notice boards, Christmas lights, bus shelters, war memorials, renovations to historic buildings or monuments, floral displays, benches, village signs or other street furniture, or any similar items.

Can we apply for a grant to make improvements to our land or buildings?

Applications to improve or develop land (for example works to play areas) or buildings will only be considered from the group or organisation that has legal responsibility for the land/ building, as owner or lease holder. The lease agreement should make clear where responsibility lies for the upkeep/ development of the fabric of the building, and interior fittings/ décor.  Where funds are requested to improve or make changes to a leased property, the term of the lease should be at least 5 years – if a large grant is requested, the minimum term may increase to 10 years.
Before making an application for building works, please ensure that you have:

  • Secured planning permission, or any other approval/ permission necessary
  • Have contractor’s quotations to evidence the cost of the work

Building/ ground work or repairs will only be considered where there is clear evidence that the site serves a wide community purpose, and/ or clear plans are in place increase its availability to the community.

Buildings that serve a limited membership will not be considered – this includes church buildings that are only used by the congregation and for the typical functions of a church (weddings, funerals etc).
Conservation/ preservation works to heritage sites, monuments or artefacts will not typically be considered for funding.

Can we apply for a grant to support festivals and similar arts events?

We will consider applications for arts based projects including festivals and other one-off events where the main aim is to broaden participation and/ or increase inclusivity. However we will not fund the costs of professional performers to provide entertainment. Arts based projects, for example workshops that actively engage local people and enable them to learn new skills or to build confidence, will be considered as will projects where local communities themselves are leading on delivering activities. We are unlikely to fund the entire cost of such an event.

Are trips, outings and holidays eligible for a grant?

We will consider applications for good quality trips or holidays within the UK where there is a clear case that they will deliver benefits to the people taking part – for example, respite activities for carers or the cared for, or activities to build skills, confidence and independence for disadvantaged or vulnerable groups.

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Making an application

How do we apply?

Most Funds use a standard online application process which requires you to complete an online form – further details can be found at

The full application should be submitted to Norfolk Community Foundation by 5pm on the deadline date for the fund you are applying to.

Please note that some funds have a different application process or additional requirements – please ensure that you have read the full guidance for the fund you are applying to, and have noted the deadline.

We are unable to apply online - is there an alternative?

Wherever possible we would like applicants to complete the form online, as this is the easiest and quickest way of telling us about your project – perhaps there is another member of your group’s committee that could help.  If your group is not able to to apply online please contact the Grants Team on 01603 623958 or and we will be able to provide an alternative. 

Which fund should we apply to?

Use the Find a Fund function to help identify a fund that may be able to support your project – you can filter by area, type of organisation and size of grant.  You can also filter to show only funds that are currently open.  If you are unsure which fund is suitable for your project, the Grants Team is able to advise – contact the Grants Team on 01603 623958 or

What if we do not have all of the essential documents required?

Please talk to the Grants Team on 01603 623958 or if you need clarification about what is essential – please do not submit an application until you are sure that you can supply the supporting evidence required. You will find further information about the supporting documents we ask for here in the FAQs, or visit the Advice & Support section for details of the local organisations that can help you develop your constitution and relevant policies.

What is the deadline for applications?

Deadlines for individual funds are publicised on the funds pages of our website – upcoming deadlines are advertised on the homepage. To ensure your application can be taken forward we need a fully completed application form plus supporting documents by 5pm on the deadline date.  Some funds operate on a rolling basis and can accept applications at any time while funds are available – where deadlines do not apply, you should ensure that the application is completed no later than 14 days after completion of the online form. We reserve the right to reject incomplete applications after 14 days. 

Can we apply to more than one fund for the same project?

In principle, yes. But please contact the Grants Team on 01603 623958 or before submitting a second online application for the same project.

Can we apply for more than one year’s funding?

Grants must be spent within 1 year unless otherwise stated. NCF expects that funded projects will start within 3 months of receipt of the grant payment. 

How much can we apply for?

Each fund has its own grant limit which is publicised on the fund page. Most of the grants we offer are in the region of £2,000 – £5,000. If your group has a major project, it may be possible to complete a single application form and the Grants Team can present the request to several panels to potentially secure a larger total grant. Please discuss this with the Grants Team on 01603 623958 or before applying – please do not assume we have multiple panels able to consider your request.

How often can we apply?

Groups can only receive one grant per year from any one Fund. However, groups can apply to other Norfolk Community Foundation funds providing all monitoring requirements have been met satisfactorily. Please check with the Grants Team to ensure there are other funding schemes able to consider your request.

Generally we will require a new application form for every new request, although we retain key supporting documents on file (constitution, policies) so you are not required to send further copies if these are unchanged.

Our project will cost well over £5,000. When should we apply?

Once we make an award we expect work to start quickly, so we do not generally consider an application towards a larger project until most of the funding is in place or there is a clear plan to secure it quickly.

Contact the Grants Team on 01603 623958 or if you are unsure whether you should apply yet.

We are finding the form difficult. Where can we get help?

You can contact the Grants Team for help on 01603 623958 or Alternatively there are a range of organisations that may be able to help you, see the Advice & Support section for details.
We also offer helpful Hints & Tips for successful grant applications that aim to give you additional advice, and a good idea of what makes a good application.

Can we talk to a Grants Officer before we apply?

Yes we welcome the chance to discuss your plans. Please telephone the Grants Team on 01603 623958 or email

Who should we choose as an independent referee?

We no longer require applicants to provide an independent reference with every application. Instead you will be asked to provide contact details for a referee within the online application form and we will contact the referee where we feel this will be helpful. 

Your referee should be someone from the local community who knows your organisation and the work you do. They should not be associated with your organisation as a member, employee, volunteer, management committee member or a relation of any of the aforementioned by blood, marriage or civil partnership. A suitable person might be a local councillor (a member of your local Council for Voluntary Service), community or support worker/professional.  Remember, they may be contacted to support and strengthen your application, so ensure your referee knows the project and encourage them to comment fully if contacted.

What do you mean by ‘Free Reserves’?

By free reserves we mean any money that you hold that is not earmarked for a specific purpose. For example you may have £10,000 in a savings account which is intended to replace your central heating system in 3 months time. These funds would not be free reserves. In assessing your application we will look at your level of free reserves and compare these to your normal annual expenditure. We will also consider what your accounts say about your policy o the level of reserves to be held.

Do we need match funding when we apply?

While we welcome applications for projects that have successfully secured funding from other sources, this is not essential for most of our funds.  Most will consider funding all of the costs of your project but do check the webpage for the fund you are applying to see if there are specific requirements around match funding. If you have significant free reserves we might reasonably expect some contribution from these.

Should we include VAT in project costs?

Generally our funds are able to cover VAT providing your group is not able to recover this cost. Some groups, such as Parish Councils, will be expected to recover VAT and should therefore exclude it from their request.

What happens after we submit the application?

An initial check for completeness and eligibility will be carried out and you will be contacted to provide any missing documents or information – please forward any additional information quickly as incomplete applications cannot be presented to the panel.

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What happens if our application is successful?

When will we find out if our application has been successful?

We can normally write to applicants to confirm the outcome of their applications within a week of the panel meeting date. Successful applicants will receive a Funding Agreement setting out the terms of the grant offer, including any special conditions and monitoring requirements.  Please see Monitoring to find out more about how we will monitor your grant.

How do we claim our grant?

Your offer letter will provide instructions – providing your group is happy with the terms and conditions under which the grant is offered, sign and return one copy of the Funding Agreement to release the grant payment. Please keep the second copy for your records – these terms and conditions will apply for the duration of your grant.

How will the grant be paid?

Usually grant payments are made by BACS (electronic transfer into your group’s account). Some accounts are not able to receive BACS payments, in which case we will send the grant payment by cheque. You will be required to acknowledge safe receipt of the payment.

How do we publicise our grant?

We encourage applicants to publicise their funding, and to mention the name of the Fund that awarded the grant (see offer letter and Funding Agreement) as well as Norfolk Community Foundation. Logos, plus plaques and stickers acknowledging our support are also available on request.

What monitoring and reporting is required?

Typically we will contact you approx. 4 months after the grant was awarded to check your project is proceeding as planned. An end of grant monitoring form is required at the end of your grant term (usually 12 months). Any additional monitoring or reporting requirements will be made clear at the point a grant is offered. Fulfilling monitoring requirements is a condition of your grant and your group may be asked to return the grant if requirements are not met. Groups in default with monitoring will not be able to apply again to Norfolk Community Foundation until this is resolved. For more information about our monitoring processes, and why we monitor grants, visit Monitoring web page.

What if our project changes, or can’t go ahead?

Please let the Grants Team know as soon as possible – we understand that these things happen and in some circumstances we may be able to approve a change in the use of the funding. If the project cannot go ahead, the grant will need to be returned to Norfolk Community Foundation.

What if our project costs more (or less) than expected?

We cannot increase your grant even if your project costs increase, though we may be able to advise on other possible funding. If you complete your project and have some unspent funds left over, we would normally expect the underspend to be returned to Norfolk Community Foundation. In some circumstances we may be able to approve a re-allocation of any underspend to another aspect of your activities – please note this must be approved before you go ahead.

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What happens if our application is not successful?

When will we find out the outcome of our application?

We write to all applicants within a week of the panel meeting to let you know the panel’s decision.

Will we receive feedback on why our application was refused?

We endeavour to provide helpful feedback to unsuccessful applicants. However due to demand for grants it is often the case that funds are insufficient to support all applications received.

Panel decisions are final and cannot be revisited or overturned.

Can we apply again?

The Grants Team will be able to advise you whether there is another Norfolk Community Foundation fund that may be able to consider your application. You are not required to wait before making a further application, though if specific concerns have been raised about the way your group operates or the project for which you are seeking funding you should not apply again before addressing this.

In some instances the Grants Team will be able to move your application directly to another fund if it is unsuccessful initially. You will be notified if this is the case.

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Where else could we look for funding?

Are there are other funders that could support our project?

The Grants Team may be able to advise on other possible sources of funding for your project either within Norfolk Community Foundation or through other funders.  Make sure you subscribe to our grants newsletters to hear about funding news and other opportunities.  Funding Central ( is a useful online tool that is free to small organisations to help find other sources of funding from local, regional and national funders.

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