Fundraising news, ideas and inspiration for professional charity fundraisers

Funding opportunities round up

Funding opportunities round up

Here is a round up of some of the funding and financial opportunities currently open to charities and good causes around the UK. 



Virgin Media Christmas Stars offers televised Christmas play & £5,000 cash prize

Virgin Media’s Christmas Stars competition is back for its second year, giving UK primary schools the opportunity to have their Christmas play televised to the nation – narrated in person by TV’s Stephen Mulhern.

Virgin Media will film a special recording of the winning school’s festive play and make it available, via On-Demand, to its four million Virgin TV customers in the days leading up to Christmas. Stephen Mulhern will join the winning school’s cast to help tell the story for a one-off performance. The winning school will receive a £5,000 cash prize too.

The show can be a traditional nativity or a new tale with dancing elves and reindeers – or anything in between. Schools can also enter one of the festive shows available from Out of the Ark Music.

The production should have a script and be between 30 and 60 minutes long. The winning performance will be filmed at the winning school between Monday 2 December and Friday 13 December 2019.

Virgin Media is asking primary schools to write, in no more than 150 words about why their school’s Christmas play should be made available to four million Virgin TV customers this Christmas and to provide a short synopsis of the play.

Entry is online and the competition closes at 11.59pm on Tuesday 19 November 2019.




Up to £6,000 available for community businesses

Community businesses that choose to use Crowdfunder to secure capital for their projects could have their efforts matched to the tune of £6,000 – if they raise the funds this year. Charitable trust Power to Change has teamed up with the platform to create the Community Business Crowdmatch fund, which offers extra cash to successful crowdfunding campaigns which are run for the benefit of their communities.

Several community businesses across the country have already been successful in securing funds to get their business ideas off the ground. In South Derbyshire, a community business is promoting sustainable living with a plastic-free community shop. Through Crowdmatch, they raised £6,962 with 138 supporters in 28 days through the platform, earning an extra £5000 in matched funds.

Power to Change has set aside £100,000 for the programme, and still has around half of this left to allocate before the end of the year.

Naomi Sampson, Programme Manager at Power to Change said:

“It’s great to have teamed up with Crowdfunder. The demand for this programme has been off the charts and we are keen to back innovative business ideas from communities across England.”

To be eligible, the organisations must meet the four criteria of a community business:

  • Locally rooted
  • Accountable to the local community
  • Trading for the benefit of the local community
  • Have a broad community impact

To apply, community businesses need to set up their project on the Crowdfunder site and tick the ‘Extra funding’ box. More information is available online.



Community Garden Awards

Application for Community Gardens Award now open

In addition to its annual donations to nursing and health charities, the National Garden Scheme grants awards to help community gardening projects.

In 2011 the National Garden Scheme set up an award scheme in memory of Elspeth Thompson, the garden writer and journalist who died in 2010. Previously managed in partnership with the Royal Horticultural Society, from 2019 the Community Gardens Award scheme will be wholly managed by the National Garden Scheme. To date awards have been given to 59 projects with a total amount donated of £112,174.

It provides funding to amateur gardeners from community groups in England and Wales to create a garden or similar project, such as an allotment, with horticultural focus for the benefit of their local community.

In 2019 projects funded included the enhancement of grounds around sheltered accommodation at the Court Community Garden in Llandrindrod Wells, support to renovate a dilapidated allotment site in Nottingham, the creation of a sensory garden in York for women experiencing loneliness or in crisis and funding for the Therapy Garden in Guildford for adults and children with mental health challenges.

The closing date for applications is 31 December.




Get Up Rise Up Direct Action Fund for disruptive actions

Africans Rising and Beautiful Trouble have announced an open call to support direct actions anywhere in the world.

The Get Up, Rise Up direct action fund supports activists globally to shift power through nonviolent direct actions to create a more social and ecological just, healthy, and equitable world.

The fund, currently in a six-month trial period, seeks to make resources available to local groups (both registered and unregistered) that often find themselves underfunded or under-resourced, and who are planning creative direct actions as part of an ongoing campaign.

It is open for established groups (formal or informal), and in some cases individuals, who have been working on a specific issue or cause and are seeking funding for a direct action or a direct action tool as part of an ongoing campaign. The fund has a focus on under-served, under resourced populations and communities and will during the trial period favour African groups, but will not be necessarily limited to that.

Applications are accepted on a rolling-basis and reviewed once a month, so should be submitted by the 5th of the month in which applicants want to be considered.



Cold Weather Fund open for applications

The Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government is providing up to £1million of the Cold Weather Fund to Homeless Link to administer funding to charitable organisations that are not commissioned by local authorities. The project’s overall aim is to financially support local providers in helping people sleeping rough off the streets this winter.

It will fund frontline organisations who are working to help end rough sleeping, who can demonstrate how grant funding will reduce rough sleeping and offer longer-term solutions from people sleeping rough accessing these shelters, by supporting moves into accommodation, and sustainable longer-term accommodation for those moving off the streets. Applicants much be registered charities/CIOs.

Grants must be for one or both of two purposes:

  1. To provide additional accommodation to rough sleepers during the period 1 December 2019 to 3t March 2020. This means additional to what is already being commissioned by the local authority. This can be either shelter beds or other accommodation.
  2. To enhance the support provided in or complementary to existing commissioned shelter beds to reduce the level of returns to the street for people sleeping rough accommodated in shelters and to help secure long-term move-on from shelters.

Grants of up to £25,000 can be applied for, with larger sums up to £50,000 possibly considered for projects working across multiple authorities.

The grant application window is now open and closes on Friday 6 December 2019. Grant applications received by 31 October 2019 will be considered in an initial round, and all successful awards must be spent by 31 March 2020.


Melanie May is a journalist and copywriter specialising in writing both for and about the charity and marketing services sectors since 2001. She can be reached via

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