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Growing Communities Fund

The Growing Communities Fund is intended to support proactive, effective, measurable, and sustainable actions to enable individuals and communities to tackle the current cost of living issues through reducing food and fuel inequalities, building self-reliance, community resilience and improving mental health and wellbeing.

The Growing Communities Fund will provide grant awards of between £500 and £3000. Applications for over £1000 will be paid in arrears.

Projects can:

  • link to already established work and add value
  • be new and in response to an identified need
  • use innovation to improve efficiency, reach a wider range of people and improve provision


The fund can support projects that:

  • could offer a warm welcome and a safe space, something to eat and drink, and a place to work, learn, socialise or encourage healthy activity and address hardship such as food or fuel insecurity,
  • build greater degrees of self-reliance and community resilience for example offering advice, peer support or guidance on budgeting, cooking low-cost nutritional meals.
  • tackle loneliness and isolation and build self-esteem.
  • Have a clear and direct community benefit and consider the environment during this climate emergency.

Applications for both project and core costs will be considered, subject to meeting eligibility criteria. Also, the inclusion of reasonable costs associated with evaluation and identifying learning, sharing and promoting good practice.

The fund cannot be used for:

  • projects or items that are the responsibility of another public body (for example, NHS, Local Authority)
  • activities that are contributing to general fundraising
  • projects that are delegating any acquired funds to third parties
  • projects that are solely for the benefit of animals
  • projects that are solely counselling based
  • projects that are in support of a single faith without wider community benefit. This includes fabric repairs to church buildings, church yards and cemetery walls.
  • retrospective applications for projects or activities that have already been completed, or items that have been purchased
  • alcohol or medication
  • large projects where the link between a grant awarded and overall project outcomes are not clear
  • loss of income
  • applications from individuals, sole traders, for-private-profit or grant-making organisations (where funding is requested for grant making)
  • political activities
  • salaries, wages, or expenses of persons employed by a not-for-private-profit organisation unless these are finite, sessional charges and do not imply any ongoing commitment
  • projects that provide support to more than 25% of beneficiaries living outside of the Devon County Council administrative area

If you have previously applied and are considering applying for a second time, we do encourage projects to show how any additional funding will add value to your current offer or expand its reach.

Who can apply?

  • Not-for-profit, voluntary or community groups, registered charities or social enterprises that are providing services or activities for the benefit of people and communities in Devon (at least 75% of beneficiaries need to be in the administrative area of Devon County Council).
  • Schools, where the project or activity has a clear benefit to the wider community and is over and above statutory provision.
  • Churches or church/faith groups, where the project or activity has a clear benefit to the wider community and is not promoting a specific religion or worship.
  • Parish or town councils, where the project or activity has a clear benefit to the local community and is not replacing statutory provision.
  • National charities, where there is a local branch that is managed locally and has its own bank account.
  • CICs, limited by guarantee without share capital, where:
    • there is a clear charitable purpose and defined social benefit outlined in the Articles of Association and a named asset lock with objectives which are both charitable and similar to the objects of the CIC
    • the project for which funding is requested is charitable, that is, it must not be part of the trading services for which there would usually be a charge
    • the funding requested is for costs to deliver the project and not managing the CIC
    • organisations who hold a current grant from us from another grant programme are eligible to apply but must demonstrate how their proposed activity is different from and does not duplicate their existing project

Applying organisations should have:

  • a governing document appropriate to the recognised status of the organisation and which outlines clear charitable purposes and includes a dissolution clause or asset lock, for example, constitution, set of rules or articles of association
  • a management committee of at least 3 unconnected members, for example, trustees, directors or management committee
  • annual accounts or financial records that clearly record annual income and expenditure breakdowns
  • a bank account in the name of the organisation and a minimum of 2 unconnected bank signatories, or equivalent
  • unrestricted reserves of less than 12 months running costs
  • up-to-date safeguarding policies in place to protect children, young people and vulnerable adults, where appropriate
  • up-to-date equality policies

Host organisations

Where a very small group or organisation does not have its own bank account, may not have all of the documents outlined above, and is not yet formally constituted, we may consider paying a grant to a host organisation.  Please click on this LINK for guidance

How much can I apply for?

The amount you can apply for depends on the type of project and the costs involved. Grants will typically be between £500 and £1,000 and these grants will be paid to organisations prior to work taking place.

Grants of between £1,000 and £3,000 will be reimbursed upon receipt of a project report outlining what the funds paid for and the impact and outcomes as well as evidence of spend.

Following feedback from previous projects, in exceptional circumstances we may consider making an interim part payment of a grant before the end of a project’s duration where strong evidence can be provided that not receiving  this part payment will put a project at risk.  Please email the team your reasoning prior to submitting an application.

Applications will need to include details of how much funding will be required, a clear breakdown of costs for this grant and how you have assessed the need for that amount.

How to apply

Please ensure that you have read and understood the guidance and what this funding can be used for. When you submit your application you will be asked to confirm that you have read and agree with the terms and conditions which can be found below.

Applications must be submitted online and funding used or allocated before 31 March 2024.

Complete the grant application form now

If you have any queries or are unsure about any of the process, please email

We aim to process applications as speedily as possible but we may need to contact you for further information. We aim to make a decision on applications (or to have contacted you for further information) within three weeks of application. You will receive an email informing you whether your application has been successful or not.

Hints and tips for your application

Have a look at the questions on the application form here:

Please answer the questions as fully as you can but be clear and to the point. It is often not necessary to explain the history of your organisation.

We specifically want to know how you intend to be aligning your project to this grant’s aims and how your costs relate to this. We assess each application on its own merits and against the criteria for the grant scheme you are applying to.

If you are applying to us to part fund your activity, do make sure you tell us the total cost of the work and where the remaining balance will be coming from. The budget asks for a breakdown of different elements of your intended spend.

Give as much detail as you can and itemise your costs so that we understand how the totals have been arrived at and how our funding relates to other support you may receive.

Supporting documents

If your application passes the first stage of assessment, we will ask you to supply any required documentation which may include:

  • organisation management – a list of your managing committee, trustees or directors or both, and the names of authorised bank signatories, of which there must be a minimum of two who are unconnected to each other
  • accounts – a copy of your latest approved accounts
  • cashflow – if your latest accounts are dated earlier than within the last 6 months we will also require a cashflow for the past six months, which should clearly show an income and expenditure breakdown – if your latest accounts are dated within the last six months, you do not need to provide a cashflow breakdown
  • bank statement – this should be in the name of the organisation, dated within the last three months and clearly show the bank account name, bank account number and sort code

Additional information

As part of our assessment of your application, and to gain an understanding of your work, we may also look at:

  • your organisation’s records on Companies House or the Charity Commission
  • your website or social media or both to gain an understanding of your work
  • publicly available information about networks, partnerships or projects that you are part of

We will use the information you provide us with as part of your application, together with any additional information we have looked at, to consider the governance and financial health and diligence of your organisation to ensure that our grant is in safe hands.

Successful applications

Successful applications for funding under £1000 will receive a grant once the panel has agreed that the application meets the criteria of these funds. You will be asked to submit a project report as well as evidence of spend on completion. We reserve the right to request the return of part or all grant funding if the project has deviated from the aims of the fund without prior notification or is underspent.

Successful applications of funding over £1000 will receive their grant after you have spent the grant on the project  and upon receipt of a project report which clearly outlines how the money was spent and the outcomes of the project. We require sight of evidence of spend via email.  We reserve the right to reduce or remove the grant offer if the project has deviated from the aims of the fund and from your application as submitted and without prior notification.

** We would encourage you to post your offer on Pinpoint thousands of services and community groups across Devon (

If your application is unsuccessful, we may be able to share your application with other Devon funders who may be interested in your project. We will ask you to confirm your permission before we do this.

End of grant monitoring

Successful applicants will be required to complete the project report once the grant has been fully spent to outline:

  • what difference the funding has made to the organisation or beneficiaries or both
  • any challenges faced during the funded project or activity and how they were overcome
  • examples of positive stories that have occurred as a result of the funding
  • what happens next for the organisation or project or both

Additionally, we may contact you to discuss your funded activity or project in greater detail to help us with our learning and future grant making.

Frequently asked questions

View the Growing Communities Fund frequently asked questions here.

 Full terms and conditions

Full details of the specific Devon County Council terms and conditions relating to these grant schemes form part of the application process and require projects to accept them before any funds are released. However, there are some generic conditions that apply to all the grant schemes, which your group or organisation project needs to be aware of:

Please click on this LINK for T&C’s

Further information