Community-Based Hardship Support Fund

The Community-Based Hardship Support Fund is a short-term opportunity for VCSEs to support Norfolk households in meeting emergency needs and/or managing the impact of the increasing cost of living.

Grants of between £10,000 and £50,000 are available from a pot of £1.28m.

There are many reasons why households may find themselves in need of support.  Over the past couple of years, the Household Support Fund has enabled a number of programmes to aid households, including:-

  • Food voucher scheme for families with children who are eligible for free school meals, helping manage the cost of meals during school holidays
  • Client Hardship Service (formerly Norfolk Assistance Scheme)
  • Grants for VCSE organisations, to support households with bills such as food and energy costs

This Fund aims to reach out further, by building on the types of activity that can be supported. All applications will need to demonstrate how their activity will result in more money in the pockets of households experiencing financial hardship.  

Norfolk-based Voluntary, Community and Social Enterprise (VCSE) organisations embedded in and working directly with communities, can apply to deliver swift support between July and September 2024.

This funding has been made possible by Norfolk County Council working with the Department of Work & Pensions on the Household Support Fund.

What types of activity can be funded?

The Fund can support a broad range of activity that will result in more money in the pockets of Norfolk residents in the most need, both now and in the future. This includes expanding existing support as well as testing new approaches to address an unmet need. Applications can focus on:

  • Emergency Needs: activities addressing immediate and pressing needs of vulnerable households such as food, utilities, transport and housing costs.
  • Cost of Living Support: initiatives aimed at helping households better manage the impact of the cost of living such as financial advice, or employment support.

Who can the Fund help?

Priority will be given to activities supporting those who are least able to manage the impacts of the rising cost of living, including (but not limited to) people with:-

  • the highest risk of living in poverty e.g. low-income households
  • higher than average living costs due to needs associated with protected characteristics e.g. individuals with severe disabilities, or pensioners
  • responsibilities for others who find it difficult to manage additional costs e.g. unpaid carers
  • a heightened risk of hardship e.g. those who are socially isolated, or care leavers

This funding may be right for you if:

  • You are an established, Norfolk-based VCSE organisation with a track record of delivery who can move quickly to deliver support where it is most needed.
  • You are already connected to the people you aim to help, have an understanding of their needs, and will be able to detail this in your application.
  • You will be able to act promptly as soon as funding is awarded.
  • You will be able to spend the grant in full by 30 September 2024.

This funding is not right for you if:

  • You will not be able to spend the grant in full by 30 September 2024.
  • You want to support individuals with mortgages payments (or mortgage arrears).
  • Your activity is a capital (building) project for a community building.
  • The Fund cannot support fundraising activities.
  • The Fund cannot support ongoing revenue costs not directly associated with the funded activity e.g. electricity or rent costs for buildings already being used by the organisation making the bid.


What else do I need to know?

When to apply

The Fund is now open. The deadline for submitting applications is 12 noon on Friday 31 May 2024. We will confirm funding decisions by the end of June. Grants must be spent in full by the end of September, so you should apply for and plan to deliver 3 months of funded activity. Any funds not spent by this date will be returned to Norfolk County Council. There will be no opportunity for extensions, so please ensure you can meet this timescale before making an application.

Reporting on the grant must be submitted promptly at the end of the project timeline (October 2024).

How to apply

All applicants should check they meet NCF’s general eligibility criteria, and read the Application FAQs document below before making an application.

To begin an online application, click Apply online below.

Online Q&A

You can view a recording below of an online Q&A session hosted by Norfolk Community Foundation and Norfolk County Council on Wednesday 08 May 2024.

If you weren’t able to make it, we’re very keen to hear your ideas and talk through any queries you may have about the Fund, and encourage you to get in touch with the Programmes Team at the contact details further down the page.

Call for Applications


Maximum Grant

£10,000 – £50,000


31 May 2024 – 12:00pm

Who can apply?

Charity, Faith organisation, Social Enterprise/CIC, and Voluntary/Community Group

Eligible Area

Breckland, Broadland, Great Yarmouth, King’s Lynn & West Norfolk, North Norfolk, Norwich, and South Norfolk