Comic Relief Local Communities Programme

*Currently closed for applications*

There are still many communities in the UK that suffer from economic and social deprivation and the current economic climate may make this situation worse. For this reason, Comic Relief has decided that £4.5million should be available to fund projects across the UK which are addressing these issues through the ‘Local Communities’ programme.  Comic Relief is pleased to be working with UK Community Foundations and Community Foundations across the UK, to deliver this programme.  Norfolk Community Foundation is one of the delivery partners. 

The Local Communities programme will run for 18 months, and during this time grants of between £1,000 and £5,000 will be available. This programme aims to empower local people, enabling them to create lasting change in their communities. Projects should be run by people directly affected by the issues they are dealing with and priority will be given to small, locally based groups or organisations in areas of disadvantage that have a clear understanding of the needs of their community.

Who can apply?
Constituted charitable groups such as:

  • Community Groups
  • Resident Associations
  • Community Centres
  • Social Enterprises/Community Interest Companies
  • Credit Unions

Organisations which have received a Community Cash grant or any other grant from a Community Foundation can apply for a Local Communities grant. However organisations which hold a grant directly from Comic Relief, cannot apply for a Local Communities Grant.

What can the Fund support?
Projects should meet one of the following themes: 

  • Improve people’s life skills, education, employability and enterprise
  • Maximise people’s ability to strengthen community cohesion and build social capacity
  • Provide people with opportunities to access local services, achieve greater social justice and to reduce inequality, exclusion and disadvantage
  • Advance people’s physical and mental health, wellbeing and safety

Please note in this current round invitations are particularly invited from projects that increase access to sports and exercise for people who face social exclusion and isolation. 

A Local Communities grant must be at least 30% of the total cost of the project.

Examples of the types of activities that may be funded:

  • Furniture Projects
  • Projects providing access to benefits advice
  • Projects combating fuel poverty
  • Community consultation exercises
  • Community employment projects
  • Food Co-ops
  • Running costs; including salaries, core costs and project costs (please refer to Living Wage guidance below)
  • Committee and volunteer/staff training
  • Community sport activities

New : Local Communities programme and the Living Wage
Comic Relief became a Living Wage Friendly Funder in June 2015, and we are working with them to run a special pilot through this round of the Local Communities initiative. Comic Relief has signed up to the scheme in recognition and support of the commitment and hard work that workers in our sector undertake. The hope is that eventually all funders will sign up to the scheme and together we can work towards ending low pay in the community and voluntary sector in the UK.

What does this mean for applicants?
If you are applying for funding for any staff costs (this could include existing staff members, sessional workers, part time or full time posts) you should budget these at the Living Wage, if the current hourly rate does not meet this level. We are sensitive to circumstances where organisations feel that taking up the Living Wage could cause difficulties, in these instances we suggest you call us on 01603 623958 to discuss your options before applying.

The Living Wage accreditation does not require employers to pay the Living Wage to apprentices or interns although we recommend it as best practice for employers who can afford to do so. Many accredited employers have chosen to extend the requirement to apprentices and interns.

Currently the Living Wage is £8.25 per hour outside London and £9.40 in London. The amount is decided every November by The Living Wage Foundation. You can learn more about The Living Wage by clicking here.  You can find out more about The Living Wage Friendly Funder Scheme by clicking here.

Grants will not be awarded to:

  • individuals;
  • statutory organisations, including schools;
  • fund trips abroad;
  • fund buses, mini buses or other community transport schemes (not including transport costs forming part of a project);
  • fund building costs, including access adaptations to buildings;
  • organisations which are in receipt of a grant directly from Comic Relief.

When to apply
The next deadline will be published here when the Fund is open.

How to apply
Comic Relief Local Communities Fund has its own application form – click here to begin an application.

Please note you are required to provide an independent reference to support your application – Download the Independent Reference Form

For Fund enquiries please contact Jo Maddocks, Grants Officer by email or tel 01603 623958



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