Grants are available from a wide range of sources but most have specific criteria in terms of geographic location, type of project supported, faith affiliation and size of grant offered.
Careful research to identify potential grant makers and to find the criteria used will pay off. Some grant makers encourage informal discussion beforehand and most have websites that explain the criteria they use.
Sources of grants
Ian Simpson, Diocese of Birmingham’s bookletTowards Net Zero by 2030: Funding Your Project contains details of a number of grant funding bodies and trusts.
Megan Blythe, CSE also shared some sources of grants
- Landfill Communities Fund (restoration of places of worship)
- National Lottery Heritage Fund (all places of worship, focus on heritage buildings)
- Awards for All
- The Wolfson Family Charitable Trust (supporting Synagogues and listed buildings of all faiths)
- National Churches Trust
- The Benefact Trust (Christian organisations)
and pointed towards the following sources of information
CSE funder perspective
Megan Blythe has managed a number of CSE community building sustainability improvement grant programmes. The guidance from a grant maker’s perspective that Megan gave at the workshop was:
- Always check the criteria to make sure you’re eligible
- Contact the funder directly to have a preliminary chat through your ideas
- Prove that there is a social or environmental value in making improvements to your building (show financial savings or carbon savings, need from the community).
- Explain and demonstrate how your building gets used (examples highlighting social impact of the space for the community)
- Good value for the money being spent (value doesn’t necessarily mean financial – could be social or environmental).
- Is it part of a wider education/engagement project around sustainability/energy? This is sometimes desirable for some funders.
- Get competitive quotes (usually for installation of measures, 2-3 quotes are needed)
- Showing you have already raised money yourselves to help with the costs might help with the success of your application (this is called match funding).
Top Tips for writing applications
Ian Simpson from the Church of England shared his top tips for grant applications:
- Only apply to relevant funders;
- Read the application guidance carefully;
- Read it again, just to make sure!
- Be aware of the deadlines;
- Write a rough first draft
- Give real evidence of the need for your project;
- Give detail, not generalisation;
- Write the summary last;
- Apply to several funders;
- Don’t copy & paste between applications;
- If you don’t succeed… try again!