Voluntary and Community Sector (VCS) grant
The Voluntary and Community Sector (VCS) grant is now open for applications. This grant has been established to provide support to charities, community organisations, and community interest companies that are experiencing financial strain due to the rising cost of living, particularly those who serve individuals living in poverty.
The scheme was launched on February 1, 2023 and will accept applications until March 10, 2023 at 5 pm. There may be an additional bidding round depending on the number of applications received and the amount of funding allocated.
A total of £120,000 is available, and grants ranging from £2,000 to £10,000 will be awarded to assist organisations with their increased operating costs for the coming year.
To qualify for this fund, charities, constituted community organisations, or community interest companies limited by guarantee, with an annual income of up to £600,000 are eligible to apply.
To be eligible:
- your organisation must be a charity, a constituted community organisation or a community interest company
- your organisation must be based in or have a focus and connection to Central Bedfordshire
- your organisation’s annual income is less than £600,000
- you need to supply evidence of the impact of the increase in the cost of living on the applicant organisation
What the grant can be used for
This VCS grant scheme will provide funding as a one-off grant to help fund increases in any of the following costs, which can be used towards an organisation’s increased running costs for the next year:
- staff and volunteer costs
- utility costs, such as energy
- food and drink
- increased transport costs
You can also apply to fund other running costs if you have seen and can evidence that these costs have increased significantly recently.
Details of the costs should be set out in your application.
What the grant can’t be used for
The grant won’t fund:
- organisations that do not meet our eligibility criteria
- responsibilities of statutory agencies
- profit-making work
- party political activity
- activities promoting religious beliefs
- work outside the UK
- applications from individuals
- overseas travel
- interest payments on loans
- building purchase
- costs that your organisation has already incurred (‘retrospective costs’)
Who can apply
A wide range of groups can apply, but they must have a Central Bedfordshire focus and connection. These include:
- voluntary and community groups
- not-for-profit organisations
- formally constituted groups
- community groups/associations
- community interest companies
- community benefit societies
- faith groups (in relation to their wider community role)
Applicants must have a UK bank account. It cannot be a personal bank account used for personal finances.
We will prioritise:
- smaller organisations with lower annual income levels
- organisations that are significantly impacted by increasing costs (those organisations which have running costs that have increased significantly and where the organisation’s reserves are low)
- organisations which are supporting residents facing cost-of-living pressures and poverty with access to food and support
Who can’t apply
People who can’t apply include:
- individuals for personal benefit
- anyone delivering statutory functions
- organisations with no local connection
Match funding isn’t required for this grant.
Each application will be checked for eligibility (see sections above on eligibility criteria, who can apply, what the grant is for and what it is not for).
Once an application has completed and passed its eligibility check, a panel will review each application and prioritise organisations:
- with lower annual income levels
- that are significantly impacted by increasing costs (those organisations which have running costs that have increased significantly and where the organisation’s reserves are low)
- which are supporting residents who are facing cost-of-living pressures and poverty with access to food and support
The panel will contain officers from the following teams:
- community and voluntary service
- Beds RCC
- public health
- community engagement
The panel will recommend the organisations for funding to our Director of Resources who will make the final decision.
Feedback will be given to unsuccessful applicants but, subject to funds being available for a further bidding round, unsuccessful applicants can re-apply.
Approved projects will receive an offer letter to confirm their application was successful, setting out the payment terms and conditions. A grant payment via a purchase order will follow.
The minimum grant award is £2,000 and the maximum grant award is £10,000.
Monitoring and accountability
Projects in receipt of a VCS grant are accountable to us and must keep us informed with:
- evidence that the funding has been devoted to the specific areas proposed in the application
- an end of project report