Why your supporters are wealthier than you expect. Course details.

£6.3mn funding for small specialist charities, plus other news & opportunities

Melanie May | 19 October 2023 | News

Lloyds Bank Foundation for England & Wales Regional Manager, Neil Shashoua, visits Handcrafted in Gateshead. Photographer: Simon Veit-Wilson
Handcrafted Lloyds Bank Foundation for England & Wales Regional Manager, Neil Shashoua, visits Handcrafted in Gateshead. Photographer: Simon Veit-Wilson

Funding and grant news and opportunities including Lloyds Bank Foundation’s unrestricted grant offer for small charities, and the reopening of the National Grid’s Community Matters Fund.

Lloyds Bank Foundation to open £6.3mn funding to small specialist charities  

From 1 November, small specialist charities supporting people to overcome complex issues will be able apply for unrestricted grants of £75,000 from Lloyds Bank Foundation for England and Wales.  

Lloyds Bank Foundation is offering the funding to specialist charities with an income of £25,000 – £500,000. These grants are available to those that predominantly focus on one of eight themes: addiction, asylum seekers and refugees, care leavers, domestic abuse, homelessness, offending, sexual abuse and exploitation, trafficking, and modern slavery. 


Why your supporters are wealthier than you think... Course by Catherine Miles. Background photo of two sides of a terraced street of houses.

The grants are accompanied by development support to help charities develop the skills for meeting and adapting to challenges and securing funding elsewhere.  

The support offer brings together individuals and teams from Lloyds Banking Group to offer volunteering opportunities, mentoring and skills sharing with charities the Foundation supports.

André Clarke, Director of Charity Development at Lloyds Bank Foundation, said: 

“Small charities are the backbone of our communities, providing vital support to people facing disadvantage. Unrestricted funding gives charities the flexibility to respond to the immediate needs of those they support while creating space to plan for the future. By funding small, specialist charities at a local level, and investing in their development, we can make a huge difference to people and communities across England and Wales.”

Applications will be open from 10am on 1 November and close on Thursday 25 January 2024, 5pm. 

More information here.

National Grid Community Matters Fund reopens to help tackle fuel poverty

Charities and community organisations across the Midlands, South West England, and South Wales can apply for a share of a support fund set up by National Grid Electricity Distribution to help tackle fuel poverty this winter.

Working again in partnership with Localgiving, the National Grid’s Community Matters Fund has already supported more than 900 grassroots organisations since it was launched in 2021 as an urgent response to the cost-of-living crisis.

Charities, councils and community groups of all sizes can now apply for fuel poverty support grants of up to £10,000 from the latest phase of its fund. Grants will support grassroots organisations to tackle fuel poverty in their communities by helping people to save energy, keep their homes warm and access warm community spaces this winter.

Chris Hayton, Director of Corporate Affairs, National Grid Electricity Distribution, said:

“Unfortunately, many families will be continuing to struggle with the costs of keeping their homes warm this coming winter.


“Our fund will help to address fuel poverty and provide much needed support to those who need it most. Projects that receive funding will provide a crucial lifeline by offering direct support and energy efficiency measures to help families and households stay warm this winter, contributing to the overall wellbeing and resilience of the communities and homes we serve. Charities and community groups will also be given access to a wealth of invaluable resources, like free energy efficiency advice, so they can provide tailor-made, local support for the communities they work with.”

Support will be given to projects committed to:

More information here.

Growth Impact Fund backed by Macquarie Group Foundation and BD Giving

The fund has received £1.5mn from the Macquarie Group Foundation, which drives social impact work for Macquarie Group, and £250k from Barking and Dagenham Giving (BD Giving), which is a community-led impact investment fund.

It has also confirmed its second close and provided a further £500,000 in investment to two social purpose organisations, taking the Fund’s total investments made to £1mn. A £250,000 investment has been made in Lightning Reach, a platform that makes it easy for people to find and apply for a wide range of personalised support in one place, and almost £260,000 was invested in chocolate company Harry Specters, which provides paid employment, work experience and training opportunities for young autistic people.

The Growth Impact Fund is a targeted £25mn evergreen fund, investing in early and growth stage organisations led by underserved entrepreneurs, developed by Big Issue Invest (BIIFM) and UnLtd: The Foundation for Social Entrepreneurs.

Macquarie was attracted by the combination of deploying funds to social entrepreneurs with the least access to funding, and a realistic investment return, while BD Giving were interested in the way they could partner with the Growth Impact Fund to develop a local pipeline.

Susan Clear, Director of Social Impact Investing for the Macquarie Group Foundation said:

“This is the first social impact investment the Foundation is making in the UK and demonstrates the expanding impact of our community efforts in this market.  With a focus on investing in organisations led by underserved entrepreneurs, the Growth Impact Fund aligns with the Foundation’s mission to drive social impact work for Macquarie, and support our people, businesses and communities to build a better future.”

Irina, Barking and Dagenham resident and Community Steering Group member, commented:

“We always knew that impact was as important as return. When we had about twenty investment proposals to consider, we started to realise that the potential for learning and the relationship we could build were more important than we had initially thought. We chose Growth Impact Fund for our community because the investment felt more like a partnership.”

More information on the fund here.

City Bridge Foundation provides ‘first loss’ funding to community lenders

City Bridge Foundation has worked with trade body Responsible Finance to provide £600,000 of ‘first loss’ funding split equally between three not-for-profit, community lenders – Fair Finance, Fair for You and Salad Money.

This will enable the organisations, also known as community development finance institutions (CDFIs), to lever in more than £4.2mn in other investment, in turn allowing them to lend up to £10mn to between 10,000 and 13,000 Londoners. It will act as a two-year, independently evaluated pilot, providing evidence about the economic and social impacts of first loss funding for CDFIs.

The three organisations help people excluded from mainstream credit to access loans for expenses such as car repairs, replacing household items or dealing with an unexpected bill or life event.

This prevents these customers from having to pay over the odds for high-cost and payday loans. In 2022, the three lenders made loans of £4.1mn to 8,100 people in London.

Theodora Hadjimichael, CEO of Responsible Finance, said:

“A quarter of adults have less than £100 in savings and one in six people have no money put away. Often low-income households don’t have access to an arranged overdraft or a credit card; in the absence of savings this leaves them highly vulnerable to a financial shock. A small loan which they can repay over a few months can be their only way to buy a large item like a fridge or pay a one-off cost like a car repair.


“CDFIs make personal loans to households across London and the UK which increasingly find themselves unable to access credit from anywhere else. Demand is increasing. 2022 saw a 33% year-on- year increase in the sector’s lending. But they cannot lend to everyone who applies.


“This funding will enable CDFIs to reach almost twice as many more Londoners with affordable credit than they currently can. It’s tremendous news for Londoners who need and can afford to repay credit but don’t have enough fair options available. Without CDFIs they are locked out of access to finance and risk turning to providers who don’t prioritise their wellbeing. I’m thrilled that this funding from City Bridge Foundation will help more people save interest compared with higher-cost options.”

Paul Martinelli, City Bridge Foundation Grants Committee Chairman, said:

“In the current difficult economic climate, many people face a real struggle just to cover day-to-day costs, and one-off purchases like replacing a broken fridge can push them into the trap of high interest loans, or worse still, illegal lenders.


“We’re delighted to be able to support a programme which will enable three responsible lenders to open up access to affordable credit to thousands more Londoners, making a real difference to their lives. We hope it will provide a blueprint which can be replicated more widely across London and around the country.”

Holland & Barrett funds over a dozen initiatives supporting women’s health

A pilot programme from Holland & Barrett founded with Wellbeing of Women has provided more than a dozen grassroots organisations with funding for resources that best reach and serve the needs of underrepresented women in their local communities.  

The Women’s Health Community Fund has a specific focus on those from lower income families, ethnically diverse communities, those with disabilities and LGBTQ+. 

It was launched following research amongst UK women from the global majority which found that 51% said the available support is too focused on the experiences of white women, and that 31% believe speaking to a female healthcare provider of their own ethnicity would have made a difference to their menopause experience.

The six-month programme has now closed for applications but to date has supported over a dozen initiatives across the UK with over £25,000 worth of grants. These include webinars around diet and nutrition for menopause tailored for women from the South Asian community and information on how to support menopausal women with mental health conditions, to online events for women from the Caribbean and African communities, panel talks, intergenerational events and curated resources. 

More information here.