Try for Change – Large Grants Programme

4th September 2017

2nd October 2017

Grants of up to £100,000 (inclusive)

Apply now

About the initiative

Sport can have a significant and measurable impact on people’s lives. Recognising the positive impact rugby union and its values can have on individuals and communities, Comic Relief and England Rugby are working in partnership to deliver the Try for Change Fund.

In 2016, England Rugby partnered with Sport Relief to launch the Try for Change Fund which is a fully managed fund by Comic Relief. Try for Change uses the power of rugby union to improve and support the lives of disadvantaged people in England and around the world. Over four years, £4 million will be raised by England Rugby and distributed in partnership with Comic Relief though the Try for Change Fund to projects using rugby for social change.

Through the large grants programme, we are looking to fund projects which will have a significant and lasting impact on the lives of some of the most vulnerable and marginalised people in England. Organisations which use rugby union, its values or the rugby community to tackle some of the biggest issues facing society are invited to apply for a grant of up to £100,000.


What we will fund

Try for Change aims to help people reach their goals and fulfil their potential, whilst delivering long-term benefits to the wider community. Proposals to the large grants programme must demonstrate wider social outcomes and not just focus on increasing participation in rugby. Proposals must therefore work towards at least one of the following Try for Change outcomes:

  • 1. Increase community cohesion or social integration
  • 2. Improve educational attainment
  • 3. Increase employability
  • 4. Reduce involvement in gangs and/or reduce the risk of re-offending
  • 5. Improve mental and physical health

We know that taking part in sport leads to an increase in self-esteem and self-confidence for most people and for this initiative we are making the assumption that this underpins all programming. However, we want proposals go above and beyond confidence building and to demonstrate how rugby can be used to achieve positive social change. Click here for more information: Sport for Change.

Projects working with the most vulnerable and marginalised groups will be prioritised. As well as existing rugby for change programmes, we are looking to fund new and innovative approaches from organisations who demonstrate the ability and capacity to add rugby to their programmes.

Examples of the types of projects we will fund include:

  • Projects that use a mixture of rugby, mentoring and personal development sessions to provide opportunities for unemployed young people to develop work-relevant skills; whilst also improving their health and well-being.
  • Intergenerational projects that use rugby to connect people of different ages and tackle the effects of dementia, depression and loneliness.
  • Projects that provide opportunities for refugees and asylum seekers to develop key life skills, and use the game of rugby to bridge social, economic and cultural divides within communities.
  • Where rugby is used as a diversionary activity for those at risk of becoming involved in gangs or crime.



Applicants can apply for a grant of up to £100,000 for work delivered over 2-3 years. The minimum grant size is £25,000. The grant must be greater than 25% of the total project cost.

Although there is no minimum or maximum limit on the size of organisation, applicants are asked to consider the size of the grant in relation to their income and ability to deliver the work. It is unlikely a grant of more than 50% of an organisation’s current income will be awarded. To apply for a grant of £60,000 an organisation must have an annual income of more than £120,000, for example.

Due to the nature of the funding agreement, projects must be using rugby union or the rugby union community, and the work must take place in England. Applicants should be based in the UK.

Proposals to this initiative must meet Comic Relief’s general eligibility requirements. Please see our policies below which explain our eligibility criteria for all organisations applying to Comic Relief for funding. Please note, we will not provide grants to organisations for their own grant making purposes.

Applicants are eligible to hold more than one Try for Change grant at the same time providing it is for a different programme of work, however we will take into consideration the organisation’s ability to manage multiple grants.


Rugby for Change requirements

Applicants will have to show how they currently use or intend to use the game of rugby to achieve social change.

  • We expect all proposals to have a strong focus on rugby’s core values of teamwork, respect, enjoyment, discipline and sportsmanship.
  • We would encourage all applicants to include the development of rugby coaching or knowledge in their proposals if they are new to rugby union.
  • Applicants who are delivering rugby for change for the first time must show they understand how to effectively deliver the game of rugby.
  • We also welcome proposals that use the rugby community and the club as a way to engage and tackle wider social challenges.

Applicants will be required to demonstrate that they:

  • Are delivering the correct form of rugby for their programme (Touch, 7s or 15 a side) as specified here.
  • Have an understanding of and apply the principles of Age Grade Rugby including Old Mutual Wealth Kids First if working with young people aged 7-18. Further details are available here.
  • Are delivering sessions led by or show intent to train a UKCC Level 2 Rugby Coach or equivalent. Click here for more information or to request a training course booklet.


Funding process

We will be open for proposals from 4 September to 2 October 2017 (midday). We will not accept late proposals and strongly urge that you address any questions you have in order to complete your proposal and submit it in advance of the deadline.

Please read the guidance notes specific to the Try for Change fund before starting your application. The guidance is available on GEM.

We require all applicants to submit a number of documents as part of their proposal to support our due diligence and assessment. You can find out more about these here.

Once we receive your proposal, we will check whether your organisation and proposal is eligible for funding under this initiative and then shortlist the strongest proposals to go through for a full assessment. We’ll aim to notify all applicants of our decisions at this stage by the end of October. If your proposal is unsuccessful at this stage, we’ll be unable to provide any additional feedback.

Assessments will take place in November and final decisions will be made by our Grants Advisory Board and Trustees. We aim to inform all applicants of the final decision by the end of January 2018. If your proposal is unsuccessful following an assessment we’ll write to you explaining the reasons why and offer further feedback by phone.

Apply now