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Comic Relief Core Strength grants

The Comic Relief Core Strength grants are an investment into supporting small, community-led organisations, offering between £1,000 to £5,000 for essential core running costs.

Amounts available: £1,000–£5,000

Group annual income: Maximum £100,000

Type of cost: Core/running costs, eg rent, lighting, staff costs or investing in development and forward planning

Timescales: Grant to be spent within the next six to 12 months

Closing date: 26th October 2017


Comic Relief and community foundations across the UK are administering a new £2 million investment into supporting small, community-led organisations, which will play a vital role supporting people to make positive changes in their lives and their local communities. In Oxfordshire, we will make between two and ten grants in our round of funding, which closes on 26th October at midday.

Grassroots organisations like these have been hit particularly hard over the last few years due to the current economic climate, which has made it harder to secure funding; and yet these organisations are often the first and sometimes only point of support for individuals and communities trying to make a difference in their lives.

The Core Strength – Local Communities initiative provides funding for essential core running costs for small, locally led community organisations. Grants between £1,000 to £5,000 for up to 12 months will be available to local community organisations with an annual income of up to £100,000.


The aim is to provide funding for groups’ core costs – meaning expenditure that is not connected to delivering projects but focusing on investing in the organisation as a whole, such as basic running costs. The grants will fund organisational costs only, and NOT direct project delivery.

The grant shall be used to support groups that can evidence a sustained beneficial impact on people’s lives who are excluded or disadvantaged. This may be through low income, rural or social isolation, age, disabilities, race, sexuality or gender. Priority is to be given to small, locally based groups or organisations in areas of disadvantage that have a clear understanding of the needs of their community and are undertaking actions to address these needs.


You must be a locally led and based organisation – based within the area you are carrying out activities and have local people involved in the running of the organisation. We accept applications from the voluntary and community sector including:

  • Constituted voluntary and community groups
  • Charities
  • Social enterprises
  • Co-operatives
  • Community interest companies

Your organisation will need to have been running activities for a minimum of 12 months.

Your annual income must be £100,000 or under for your last full financial year. You will need to provide your accounts to prove this.

To be considered for funding you will need to:

  • Be working in a disadvantaged or deprived area
  • Have limited access to other sources of income
  • Clearly define the need you are addressing
  • Clearly demonstrate the benefit of your activities to local people
  • Illustrate how you aim to deliver social outcomes
  • Provide clear evidence that your services provided are inclusive to all
Themes and outcomes

The work and main focus of your organisation should fit one of Comic Relief’s priorities:

1. Connected communities
We are looking for organisations who work to improve inclusion and cohesion in their neighbourhoods. You should be working to help people find common interests, overcome fear and misconceptions and connect people together. We believe a community where you know your neighbours and help each other is a stronger, happier and healthier community.

2. Productive communities
We want to help create flourishing communities, where people feel they are personally thriving, whilst sharing a sense of purpose and prosperity – rather than just ‘making ends meet’. We are looking for organisations who help this happen – it could be through those who provide employment and work support or enterprises / community owned assets whose purpose is to help local residents out of poverty for example.

3. Empowered communities
We want communities to be heard and to be able to make the changes they need to thrive. Your organisation will focus on building the confidence of local people to tackle the issues they face and empower them to make changes as they need. This is about supporting community led solutions to improve their own lives.

Your organisation may be working under one or more of these outcomes, in which case you should choose the one where the majority of your work is focused on.

If your organisation fits one of the above priorities then we would encourage you to consider what would help you over the next 12 months to run your organisation. It could be as simple as paying rent for 12 months or it could be funding additional hours of staff time to focus on creating and implementing a business or fundraising plan that would have an impact on the whole organisation. We are not being prescriptive – this is your opportunity to get non-project funding and invest in you as an organisation.

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