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 opening date: Thursday 30th April 2020 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 £10,000), 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 may be asked further questions about your application at this stage. Our panel will then review and prioritise all the applications. 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 grants rounds throughout the year, and welcome early submissions.

Opening date Closing date (midday)
Thursday 30th April Tuesday 19th May
Wednesday 9th September Thursday 1st October

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 criteriaCase studiesGrants overviewDelivering ImpactContact us
Projects we support - find them on GrantNav

Ark T Centre

The Ark T Centre is an arts project in East Oxford, and is situated in a high-risk area for Child Sexual Exploitation (CSE). Ark T is an open and inclusive community, where people, art, and powerful ideas come together, using the transformative powers of creativity to change lives.


SOFEA alleviates multiple social problems: the need for jobs and training for disadvantaged young people; the demand for nutritious food for vulnerable people; and the danger of supplies from the food industry going to waste.

Good Food Oxford (GFO)

Good Food Oxford supports the existing work of many organisations in and around the city working to make our food system more nourishing, less wasteful and more sustainable.


Thrive offers activity clubs and mentoring for young people in two of Oxford’s most deprived areas – Blackbird Leys and Barton. Their clubs and activities are countering the effects of social exclusion.