Groups of people doing purposeful activities outside and looking happy.
Thriving in Nature Fund: Improving lives through green spaces

OCF is delighted to introduce this fund, aimed at enhancing lives through the power of nature. We believe in the transformative power of green spaces. Spending time in nature has numerous health benefits, from reducing stress to boosting confidence and self-esteem. 

Amounts available: £10k-£60k, with one grant of £75k

Group annual income: Under £500,000

Type of cost: Project costs, core costs and capital costs

EOI closing date: Applications are now closed

Our approach

This grants round is transformative for OCF and the groups we support. We will be funding in a different way, having listened to what groups need:

  • We will be offering multi-year funding over two or three years.
  • We’re allocating 10% of the fund to provide smaller grants to less established groups who are keen to grow.
  • We’re committed to providing a variety of application methods and ensuring the application process remains straightforward.
  • Successful groups will be asked to set their own key performance indicators (KPIs) to track the project’s/organisation’s success. This empowers them to tailor the project to their specific goals and define their own success. It is all about making a difference.
  • Successful groups will have the benefit of access to a mentor. This mentor, with their extensive knowledge of the charitable sector, will provide guidance over the period of the grant.

We are eager to learn about the impactful work that groups are undertaking and understand how this funding can empower them to flourish. This could be through supporting staffing or core costs, alleviating pressure points, or enabling  groups to focus directly on serving their communities. This funding could also incubate innovative ideas and project development.

Desired outcomes

We are seeking grant proposals which deliver these outcomes:

  • Enhancing mental or physical health and wellbeing through engaging with nature, green spaces and the rural environment  
  • Boosting rural skills, training and job opportunities through engaging with nature, green spaces and the rural environment  
  • Expanding access to nature, green spaces and the rural environment for underrepresented groups. 
The process

We are launching a two-stage application process. The first stage is an Expression of Interest (EOI) where groups can make an initial enquiry.   

Eligible groups will be invited to submit a full application. Applications will be assessed by our OCF grants panel and independent assessors.


To be eligible for the Thriving in Nature Fund, applicant organisations must be one of the following: 

  • Registered Charity 
  • Community Interest Company (CIC) 
  • Company Limited by Guarantee 
  • Unincorporated Club or Association 
  • Community Benefit Society 
  • Charitable Incorporated Organisation (CIO).

More details about eligibility can be found in our full guidance document, which you must read before completing the EOI.

Eligible costs

Applications to the Thriving in Nature Fund can request funding in the following categories: 

  • Project costs: These are costs directly associated with the delivery of a project. 
  • Core costs: These are costs that keep your organisation running, such as salaries, rent, utilities, etc. 
  • Capital costs: These are costs related to any physical assets your project may need, such as equipment or IT support.

The following costs are not eligible:

  • Costs that have already been incurred
  • Changes to land/buildings that do not belong to the applicant
  • Purchase of buses or other vehicles
  • Large-scale construction projects (including fixed structures e.g. playgrounds).

15th April 2024 – Applications are open to submit Expressions of Interest (EOI).

13th May 2024 – Deadline to submit EOIs. All EOIs are reviewed after the deadline, with the strongest matches to the desired outcomes of the Thriving in Nature Fund being invited to submit a full application.

21st May 2024 – Groups will be notified of the outcome of their EOI.

18th June 2024 – Deadline to submit full application. This stage is only available for those invited to apply following a successful EOI.

w/c 22nd July 2024 – Funding decisions will be announced during this week.

Help with your application

We are holding two drop-in sessions to help you decide if the Thriving in Nature Fund is suitable for your organisation and to support you in completing your Expression of Interest form. These are:

7th May, 3pm – 5pm: In-person drop-in at the OCF office

  • Come and speak to the Grants Team. There will be 16 appointments available running for 15 minutes each. We will have two members of staff available so please do check availability on both calendars. Book a slot here or here.
  • Some non-booked walk-in appointments may be available on the day on a first come, first served basis.
  • Find us at 3 Woodin’s Way, Oxford, OX1 1HD

8th May, 10am – 11am: Online drop in

  • No need to book a time. Each person will meet with a member of our Grants Team individually so you may need to wait in the virtual waiting room until one of our team are available to speak to you.
  • Each person will be allocated up to 15 minutes to discuss their query.
  • Join the Zoom meeting (Meeting ID: 865 2656 6175 Passcode: 381043)
How to apply

Now closed to new Expressions of Interest.

Guidance documentContact us