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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 build self-reliance and community resilience, reduce food and fuel inequalities and improve mental health and wellbeing and respond to the climate emergency.

The Growing Communities Fund will provide grant awards of between £500 and £3,000 (though we will enter discussions with applicants who have exemplary or innovative projects).

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:

  • address hardship such as food or fuel insecurity, for example offering refreshments or loaning slow-cookers
  • build greater degrees of self-reliance and community resilience
  • tackle loneliness and isolation and build self-esteem such as providing warm, safe spaces for people to connect
  • whilst responding to the climate emergency, have a clear and direct community benefit
  • show innovation and pilot new ways of working

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:

  • activities that are the responsibility of a public body
  • 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
  • retrospective funding such as an activity that has already taken place or been committed to
  • 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 or grant-making organisations (where funding is requested for grant making)
  • projects that provide support to more than 25% of beneficiaries living outside of the Devon County Council administrative area

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 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 where:

  • the host organisation is a registered charity or parish or town council
  • the host organisation bank account is in the name of the organisation with a minimum of 2 unconnected bank signatories
  • the host organisation knows of the applying group and is aware of the project or activity
  • the applying organisation is newly formed or unconstituted or both
  • the applying organisation is in the process or planning stage of setting up its own bank account

We will request written confirmation from host organisations that they will be holding funds on behalf of the applicant for the purposes of the grant. Receipt of this confirmation will be required before the application is considered complete.

Please note that any groups applying in partnership with a host organisation will still be expected to provide evidence of financial management, for example, a basic cashflow, and to have relevant policies in place as per our standard requirements.

A host organisation can act as a host for more than one applicant and is able to apply to DCC for a grant in their own name whilst being a host.

If the grant you are applying for will require the use of a host organisation, the application form provides space for you to provide contact details for the host organisation.

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 an end-of-project report outlining what the funds paid for and the impact and outcomes.

Where there is evidence that a project is exceptional, we may enter into discussions with applicants and offer higher awards.

Applications will need to include details of how much funding will be required 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 2023.

Complete the grant application form now

If you have any queries or are unsure about any of the process, please email marking the subject with ‘Support’.

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, so please try to avoid contacting the team ahead of this.

Hints and tips for your application

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 within 3 months of 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 the project has been completed and upon receipt of a final project report which clearly outlines how the money was spent and the outcomes of the project. 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.

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 online 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

  • You are authorised to sign on behalf of the above-named organisation and that any funding will be used to benefit the community in line with the priorities of the Growing Communities Fund and will only be used for the purposes specified in the application.
  • When signing the application form, you are confirming that if you are a group eligible to apply without a Host and that your organisation is compliant with its legal governance structure and has two or more unrelated signatories.
  • This Growing Communities grant will be used or allocated before 31 March 2023 and any unspent/uncommitted monies will be returned to Devon County Council promptly; without proof of purchase or commitment.
  • That you will provide Devon County Council with a report on how the funding has benefited the organisation or local community or both.
  • That you acknowledge and understand that approval of any grant relating to this application does not commit the County Council to ongoing funding.
  • That you agree that details of your project may be used by DCC in its public information to promote good practice and inspire others to undertake effective community work and initiatives.
  • That you agree that, if your application is not successful, we may share your application with other grant funders who may be interested in your project. We will ask you to confirm your permission before we do this.

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:

  • You must confirm on the application that your project meets the respective eligibility criteria. The grant can only be used for the purposes specified in the application. Any variation must be notified as soon as possible to the project team by email to
  • Project applicants must confirm the project serves communities within the DCC administrative area of Devon, with at least 75% of the people benefiting from the project living in that area.
  • There is no automatic right to a grant, DCC will consider all applications and decide on the applications it wishes to grant fund, seeking to distribute funding in an even-handed way across the entire area of Devon it administers. DCC reserves the right not to make a funding offer to a project.
  • Grants will be awarded where they are deemed to be most needed and where they would have the greatest impact and outcomes.
  • Grants will be awarded on a one-off basis. Any grant relating to an application does not commit the County Council to ongoing future funding.
  • Applicants must accept in writing (an email or online application will suffice) the associated DCC terms and conditions before any grants can be released.
  • A report of how the funding has benefited the organisation or local community will be provided; in line with the relevant terms and conditions This can include invoices and you may want to submit GDPR-compliant photos or videos.
  • Any DCC grant-funded projects will clearly acknowledge, in any related publicity materials the Fund Scheme as a DCC initiative.
  • DCC grant-funded projects accept that DCC will issue publicity about projects and activities that it supports, so may use such projects within its publicity materials and as promotional case studies and may wish the project to evaluate further its project work and outcomes. Publicity may include digital images, video and other content you have provided if you have confirmed them to be GDPR compliant.
  • Repayment of DCC grant funds may be required at the sole discretion of Devon County Council if a funded project supplies false information, fails to spend the money in any allotted time period, fails to return evaluation materials within the agreed time period, becomes insolvent and/or there are any other breaches of the conditions or eligibility criteria.

Devon County Council may request additional information and assurances; requiring additional terms and conditions to apply and will require you to confirm in writing your acceptance of any additional terms and conditions before agreeing to provide grant funding.

Acceptance can be in the form of an email from the charity or organisation’s contact email address provided on the application form.

Further information


Devon Communities Together are running a grant similar to ours which you may wish to apply for as long as it is for a different project.  Please click here to apply to their Growing Communities DCT Grant Fund.

In addition, DCC is now running a grant to cover transport costs, specifically for over-55’s and young people aged 16 -24 who are most at risk of loneliness, including people living in rural areas, or those with a physical or mental health condition.  Please click here to apply to the Connecting You Grant Fund.