Older people on a day trip by a canal

The Small and Vital programme provides small grants for modest, short-term expenses that help volunteer-led community groups do important grassroots work.

Amounts available: £1–£1,500

Group annual income: Maximum £100,000

Type of cost: Activity equipment, volunteer expenses, transport, events/outings, sessional costs

Timescales: Costs expected within the next ten months

Next closing date: 26th October 2017 at midday

Many groups are simply looking for funding that will cover modest but important expenses to carry out established work at the heart of the community. Our Small and Vital Programme covers minimal costs or component parts of projects, without you having to complete huge amounts of paperwork.

If you are looking for a slightly larger grant (£1,501 to £5,000), please see our Delivering Impact Programme.


This programme will prioritise applications where the group has a small annual income and our funding will form a significant part of the project. These grants are for smaller expenses or materials, such as sports or arts equipment, volunteer expenses, transport or sessional costs or equipping halls. Applications for one-off events or similar are unlikely to be awarded more than £500.

Applications promising the following outcomes are assessed most favourably to receive funding:

  • Reduced isolation
  • Support for vulnerable people
  • Increased access to services
  • Improved health (physical, mental or emotional)
  • Improved community cohesion
  • Increase in beneficiary training, education, accreditation and employment
  • Increase in qualifications and skills
  • Increased employability
  • Improved economic wellbeing
  • Reduced crime, violence and anti-social behaviour
  • Promotion of safer communities
  • Improved access to volunteering

Note that we cannot fund expenses that have already been paid.


You need to complete a short online application form with your contact details, some multiple-choice questions, a brief budget and just three free-text answers. You will need to supply specified documentation showing evidence of good governance.

Your application will be assessed by our office-based grants team, and you will receive an acknowledgement shortly after the closing date. Our independent panel of volunteers with sector expertise will then review and prioritise all the applications at their next meeting. Successful grants will be paid within 30 days of notification, and your project cannot commence before the award is made.

Dates and timings

We hold regular, rolling grants rounds throughout the year, and welcome early submissions.


Closing date When you will be notified
17th July 2017, 12 noon (NOW CLOSED) 8th September 2017
4th September 2017, 12 noon (NOW CLOSED) 27th October 2017
26th October 2017, 12 noon 15th December 2017
10th January 2018, 12 noon 8th March 2018


Please note that before you start your application, you MUST download and read the full eligibility criteria from the bottom of this page.

General eligibility criteriaApply online nowGrants overviewDelivering ImpactContact us
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