The UK Fund

Sol Cafe, England

The UK Fund is one of our first significant commitments as part of our new strategy, ‘It starts with community.'

We’re looking to fund organisations that want to do more to help communities come together and help make us a better-connected society.

Your project must either work across the UK, or be able to inform, influence or scale across the UK.

We want to fund projects that:

  • strengthen relationships between people whose experiences of life have not been the same. For example, relationships between people of different ethnic backgrounds, generations, occupations or geographies
  • create connections between online and offline worlds
  • help make sure people from all backgrounds can shape the future of their communities.

We’ll fund ambitious projects that aim to create longer-term, transformational change. We’ll take an equity-based approach to tackle inequality. This means we’ll fund where there’s greatest need.

You can read our blog for examples of projects we’re likely to fund.

Area: You must either work across the UK, or be able to inform, influence or scale across the UK.

Funding size: £500,000 to £5m

Length of grants: We expect most projects to run from 2 to 5 years. We may consider funding for up to 10 years.

Funding size
£500,000 to £5 million
Application deadline


How to apply

Before you apply

1. Watch the webinar about The UK Fund.

2. Check that your idea meets the funding criteria in our guidance document.

Apply online

Apply online Continue online application

In the application form we’ll ask you:

  • what you want to do and why
  • how your idea meets our funding criteria (listed in 'What we're hoping to Fund')
  • what you hope to learn and what impact your learning will have.

If it's difficult or impossible for you to apply online

You can contact us if you have communication support needs or find it difficult to complete the form. We can provide other ways for you to tell us about your idea, such as:

  • an Easy Read version of the application form and guidance
  • a PDF version of the application form
  • sharing a video describing your project idea, rather than describing it in words
  • a British Sign Language (BSL) version of the application form and guidance.

What happens after you apply

  1. We assess your application - there is high demand for funding, so we’ll only be able to take applications through to the next stage that most strongly meet our criteria.
  2. We’ll tell you if you’re through to the final stage - usually within ten weeks.
  3. We ask for more information about your project, including your budget if you’re invited to the final stage
  4. We make a final decision – our panel will consider your request
  5. If your application is successful – we'll contact you with the good news! Here’s what happens when you’re awarded funding. We’ll also discuss how we can help you:
    • celebrate and promote your funding
    • share your learning with others including organisations that have funding from us or are applying to get it – we'll support you to do this.

We only have a certain amount of funding to award

We get a lot of applications, and many of them are for really worthwhile projects. This means we have to make some tough decisions around which projects we can fund, when reading all the applications we’ve received. So there are often lots of projects we cannot fund, even the good ones.

Who can and cannot apply

You can apply if you are a UK-based:

  • registered charity
  • community interest company (CIC)
  • charitable incorporated organisation (CIO)
  • community benefit society
  • co-operative society (if it has a not-for-profit clause and registered with the Financial Conduct Authority)
  • constituted voluntary or community organisation
  • statutory body (including town, parish and community councils)
  • company limited by guarantee (if it has a not-for-profit clause or is a registered charity)
  • partnership of organisations.

You need at least two board or committee members who are not related

Related can mean:

  • related by marriage
  • in a civil partnership with each other
  • in a long-term relationship with each other
  • related through a long-term partner
  • living together at the same address
  • related by blood.

All companies who apply must have at least two directors who are not related in any of these ways. This also applies to companies that are also registered as charities.

If you already have funding from us

You can still apply. When we assess your application, we’ll consider how it would fit in with your other funding.

Who cannot apply

Who we cannot accept applications from:

  • individuals
  • sole traders
  • organisations based outside of the UK.

If you’re not sure if you should apply

You can:

  • phone us on 0345 4102 030 – Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm
  • contact us by email at
  • check if our other funding is more suitable for your project
  • Register to take part in one of our information webinars

If you’ll be working with children, young people or vulnerable adults

You need to have a policy in place that explains how they’ll be safe. If you get funding you’ll need to follow our policy on safeguarding children and adults at risk.

The NCVO website has child safeguarding advice and information services.

Equality, equity, diversity and inclusion

We expect your organisation and the activities we fund to be open and accessible, to promote equalities and challenge discrimination.

We would like to understand your approach to equality, equity, diversity and inclusion. We might ask to see your organisation’s equalities policy as part of our assessment.

You can read more about our equality principles.

What we’re hoping to fund

We want to support projects that bring communities together and make us a better-connected society.

By communities, we mean a group connected by a shared identity, interest or experience. This includes people living in the same place.

What we're hoping to fund

We want to fund projects that:

  • strengthen relationships between people whose experiences of life have not been the same. For example, relationships between people of different ethnic backgrounds, generations, occupations or geographies
  • create connections between online and offline worlds
  • help make sure people from all backgrounds can shape the future of their communities.

We'll fund a wide range of projects. However, every project must strongly demonstrate that they:

  • will benefit communities across the UK (or have the potential to) - this could be by sharing learning, influencing, collaborating, convening or delivering activity across and between UK countries
  • scale your impact - this might be by expanding into new locations, developing infrastructure, strengthening delivery or increasing your reach
  • focus on equity – we want to fund projects that involve and benefit places, people and communities who experience poverty, disadvantage and discrimination.

We’re also looking for projects that have:

  • potential for systems change – we're interested in projects which intend to make significant and lasting change in how people experience the services and systems that are part of their everyday lives
  • an approach to learning – we're looking to support projects which share their learning openly and show they can adapt as they learn
  • a way to work with others – we’re interested in projects that want to collaborate across systems and sectors to achieve lasting change
  • a regenerative approach – we're looking to support projects that have a positive impact on people and the natural environment.

You can read our blog for examples of projects we’re likely to fund.

Your project will change over time

We expect projects to evolve as time goes on. We’ll be flexible and will support you so that you can continue meeting the needs of your community.

We’re comfortable with uncertainty - we want to understand what we can do to build capacity in communities and learn from your experiences.

We’re unlikely to fund projects that:

  • only focus on delivering services
  • only plan to move their existing activities online
  • exist already with no plan for how it will be scaled
  • work in isolation to make change – we’re looking for projects that plan to work with other people and organisations to make a big impact and drive lasting change.

What we look for when it comes to learning and evaluation

If you get funding, we’ll work with you to co-design research questions which will evolve over time.

The questions will evolve over time as we learn from the project.

Our aim is to understand what benefits your project and your community. These learnings will also help us develop this fund.

If you’d prefer to watch a webinar about this fund

We have a webinar that covers what we’re hoping to fund.

What you can spend the money on

We can fund things like:

  • staff costs, including sessional workers
  • development work (testing new ways of working, staff training and development, developing governance, tech or IT upgrades and purchases, sharing learning)
  • transport
  • utilities and running costs
  • volunteer expenses
  • learning and evaluation
  • equipment
  • capital costs (we can consider funding capital costs but do not expect these costs to be a significant amount of the proposed budget)
  • costs associated with delivering your project in other languages – for example, in Welsh.

We can fund some political activity and campaigning

But only if:

  • the activity is not party political. This means that it must be about policy, practice, or legislation rather than opposing or supporting a political party
  • the activity is meant to help the cause of your organisation and benefit the public or society.

We will not fund projects where political activities are the main purpose. But we can fund projects that are mainly about campaigning.

If you’re invited to the next stage, we’ll talk to you to agree what the funding will cover.

We cannot fund:

  • statutory activities and activities that replace government funding
  • loans, endowments or interest
  • paying someone else to write your application
  • activities where a profit will be distributed for private gain
  • fundraising activities
  • VAT you can reclaim
  • alcohol
  • things you’ve spent money on in the past and are looking to claim for now
  • items which will only benefit an individual, rather than the wider community
  • religious activities (but we can fund religious organisations if their project benefits the wider community and does not include religious content).

UK’s subsidy control commitments

Our grants come from public funds and successful applications will be asked to comply with the UK's International Subsidy Control Commitments listed on the GOV.UK website. You should seek independent legal advice if you need more guidance.

Delivering your project in Wales

If one of the countries you will be working in is Wales, you will need to deliver your services bilingually (in Welsh and English). This is part of our grant condition. Read our guidance on managing your project bilingually and remember to include the costs in your budget. Read our guidance on managing your project bilingually.