The Transforming Communities Fund aims to support the big ideas that build capacity in Norfolk charities, enabling growth and building long term sustainability.

Previously funded projects include:

  • Enabling a charity to re-purpose space in its existing premises to allow them to deliver new training programmes for which funding had been secured.
  • Significantly increasing the rate of response to demand for information, advice and guidance on social welfare issues by introducing digital channels alongside existing face to face services.
  • Enabling a charity to take on its own dedicated training premises in place of hiring multiple separate spaces to host its activities.

This year, the Fund is particularly keen to hear from charitable organisations who are responding to learning from the pandemic to undertake transformational change that delivers long term sustainability.

Funding and support available

Typically, grants of up to £25,000 are available which should normally be spent within 12 months of award.

However, increased funding can be offered to organisations able to consider repayable finance on flexible terms, unsecured and interest free.  Terms will be agreed on an individual basis and will typically offer a repayment period from 12 months to 3 years, with payments made either on a fixed regular basis, variable scheduled instalments or a lump sum. The NCF team will work with you to ensure that the terms of repayable finance are manageable, and can be flexed during the repayment period should circumstances change.

Repayable grants of up to £25,000 can be awarded, and these can be added to/ combined with a standard grant, making the maximum sum the Fund can offer a total of £50,000.

It is expected that established Social Enterprises/ CICs will be directed to the repayable finance offer only.

While funding plays a vital part in realising plans, in some cases access to wider skills and support will help to ensure long term success.  Through your application, we can help to connect you to probono business skills through Norfolk ProHelp, and make you aware of the free resources offered by the Cranfield Trust.

Applicants are encouraged to consider how additional capacity building support would enhance your plans.  This may include accessing professional business skills such as marketing, legal or HR support, or mentoring and business planning.

Who can apply

Applications are invited from established charitable organisations with strong pre-pandemic governance and finance, who work to tackle disadvantage and support vulnerable people in Norfolk.  Organisations should already have a clear track record in delivering effective services in the county, and have the capacity to adapt/ enhance their services in response to the immediate and longer term impacts of Covid-19.

Newly formed charities, or those not based or currently operating in Norfolk, will only be considered in exceptional circumstances if they can evidence that they have carried out substantial consultation to establish an unmet need in the county, and have made strong links with relevant local organisations to understand, work within and enhance the local context.

Applicants will have appropriate systems and procedures in place to protect and care for the vulnerable people they help – please note proposals must evidence an understanding of best working practices in the light of Covid-19 and the challenges it presents, both to those delivering services, and beneficiaries.

What can the Fund support

The Fund aims to enable established charitable organisations to deliver responsive solutions to build resilience both within their own organisation, and in the communities they support.

Successful projects will present proposals that offer sustainable solutions, with clear evidence of how the project has been designed through consultation, and an understanding of how local needs will be met.

Funding will focus on the following areas:

  • Transformational change for charitable organisations to boost long term sustainability, for example by enabling collaboration and shared resources, co-location or merger of services.
  • Test driving/ embedding different approaches and new ways of working to meet evidenced community needs.
  • Rolling out established, proven models to new locations or communities of need.

Projects should aim to deliver a measurable step change.

Proposals that can demonstrate partnership/ collaborative working are encouraged.

Projects targeting areas of high deprivation will be prioritised.

More than just funding

Alongside a funding request, applicants have the opportunity to identify additional support needs – we will make you aware of the free resources offered by Norfolk ProHelp and the Cranfield Trust.

If the application includes paid-for services that can be met through such resources, these will not be covered by a grant if an appropriate referral can be made.


  • Grants cannot be awarded to organisations that are currently inactive / not delivering services and activities, unless a grant will enable the immediate and sustained re-start.
  • Grants cannot be awarded for general ongoing core costs/ the continuation of business as usual.
  • Applications for purely capital costs will only be considered where the expenditure forms part of a clear business plan that aims to achieve the growth and sustainability outcomes of this funding – for example relocation of an existing organisation, co-location with a complementary service or equipment to enable the planned expansion of activities. It is unlikely that the fund will contribute to a much larger capital project, such as a new build. General maintenance/ improvement costs, or replacement of equipment, will not be considered.

How to apply

Initial proposals can be submitted on the Expression of Interest form.  Expressions of Interest will be shortlisted, and you will receive feedback within 4 weeks.

Expressions of interest can be accepted at any time while the Fund is open.

Those projects shortlisted will be contacted to develop their proposals with a member of the Norfolk Community Foundation Grants Team.  Please note a business/ project plan is likely to be required at this stage.

As part of the application process a number of outcomes will be agreed, which will form the basis of monitoring and evaluation.

You are encouraged to contact the Grants Team to discuss your proposal before submitting.