Core Strength – Local Communities

OPENS 23rd August 2017

CLOSES Varied, depending on area

GRANTS AVAILABLE Grants of £1,000 to £5,000/£10,000 (inclusive)

Apply now(opens in new window)


We are excited to announce the launch of Core Strength – Local Communities for 2017/18 in partnership with UK Community Foundations. This 12 month programme is responding to the growing need of small locally led groups to cover their day to day costs. The aim is to provide funding for groups’ core costs - meaning expenditure that is not connected to delivering projects but focusing on investing in the organisation as a whole, such as basic running costs. We know securing core funding can be tough and want to use this programme to help support those doing much needed work in their local communities.

People living in areas of disadvantage or who face social issues often get vital support from smaller local groups based within their communities. It is these locally based groups that truly understand the needs of the people they serve and make a huge difference to their lives.

We recognise the importance of local community organisations and the pivotal role they play across the UK. That is why we have developed this exciting programme to fund organisational costs only and NOT direct project delivery. This funding will help ensure organisations continue to sustain themselves and support their local communities.

Please note this programme is not managed by Comic Relief but by our partners at UK Community Foundations so please contact your local Community Foundation if you have any enquiries.


The grant shall be used to support groups that can evidence a sustained beneficial impact on people’s lives who are excluded or disadvantaged. This may be through low income, rural or social isolation, age, disabilities, race, sexuality or gender. Priority is to be given to small, locally based groups or organisations in areas of disadvantage that have a clear understanding of the needs of their community and are undertaking actions to address these needs.


You must be a locally led and based organisation - based within the area you are carrying out activities and have local people involved in the running of the organisation. We accept applications from the voluntary and community sector including:

  • constituted voluntary and community groups

  • charities

  • social enterprises

  • co-operatives

  • community interest companies

Your organisation will need to have been running activities for a minimum of 12 months.

Your annual income must be £100,000 or under for your last full financial year. You will need to provide your accounts to prove this.

To be considered for funding you will need to:

  • Be working in a disadvantaged or deprived area

  • Have limited access to other sources of income

  • Clearly define the need you are addressing

  • Clearly demonstrate the benefit of your activities to local people

  • Illustrate how you aim to deliver social outcomes

  • Provide clear evidence that your services provided are inclusive to all



The Core Strength - Local Communities fund sits under the Comic Relief programme of Building Stronger Communities. The work and main focus of your organisation should fit one of the Comic Relief priorities. This means the majority of your work fits under one of the following priorities:

1. Connected communities We are looking for organisations who work to improve inclusion and cohesion in their neighbourhoods. You should be working to help people find common interests, overcome fear and misconceptions and connect people together. We believe a community where you know your neighbours and help each other is a stronger, happier and healthier community.

2. Productive communities We want to help create flourishing communities, where people feel they are personally thriving, whilst sharing a sense of purpose and prosperity – rather than just ‘making ends meet’. We are looking for organisations who help this happen – it could be through those who provide employment and work support or enterprises / community owned assets whose purpose is to help local residents out of poverty for example.

3. Empowered communities We want communities to be heard and to be able to make the changes they need to thrive. Your organisation will focus on building the confidence of local people to tackle the issues they face and empower them to make changes as they need. This is about supporting community led solutions to improve their own lives.

If your organisation fits one of the above priorities then we would encourage you to consider what would help you over the next 12 months to run your organisation. It could be as simple as paying rent for 12 months or it could be funding additional hours of staff time to focus on creating and implementing a business or fundraising plan that would have an impact on the whole organisation. We are not being prescriptive – this is your opportunity to get non-project funding and invest in you as an organisation.

Each organisation will be able to choose one outcome to report against, from the following:

  • Connected communities: seeking to improve inclusion and cohesion in communities

  • Productive communities: investing in local residents to help them solve the issues they are facing using local people and resources

  • Empowered communities: working to empower marginalised and disadvantaged communities

Your organisation may be working under one or more of these outcomes, in which case you should choose the one where the majority of your work is focused on.


It is anticipated that this will be a very competitive programme. Having priorities helps us to make difficult decisions when there are so many applications. Priority will be given to:

  • Those that are new to Comic Relief and/or Community Foundation funding

  • Those in areas of high deprivation

  • Those in geographically underfunded areas

  • Those with lived experience, where people directly affected by the issues are involved in all levels of the organisation

  • Those with innovative approaches, to respond to clearly defined need

  • Those demonstrating effective practice, with evidence that the methodology being used will be successful


This programme is being managed by UK Community Foundations and each area has a local Community Foundation who will administer and manage these grants. Find out more information on where your local Community Foundation is and how to apply.

Please note, each local Community Foundation will have different deadlines throughout the year.

If you have any questions on applying, contact your local Community Foundation.

Apply now(opens in new window)