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16th May 2023


A monthly bulletin facilitated by your membership of the Rural Services Network highlighting a selection of current funding opportunities

– Download a printable version of the Funding Digest here

Project Viability Grants – the Architectural Heritage Fund

The Fund is offering grants of up to £10,000 to support early-stage feasibility work on historic building projects.

You may be thinking about forming an organisation, have been recently constituted, or be a longstanding organisation tackling a new project. You have identified a building – either already in your ownership or one you have a reasonable prospect of acquiring. You may have some ideas about how the building could be restored and used but want to explore the options and test whether these will work.

In 2023/24, we will prioritise projects that meet the following criteria:

  • Involve new use of a vacant historic building.
  • Help revive high streets.
  • Are in the top 30% most deprived areas (according to the Index of Multiple Deprivation).
  • Involve and support diverse communities.
  • Have a strong focus on environmental sustainability and energy efficiency.
  • Contribute to local regeneration schemes.

These grants should help you to establish whether a project is feasible. Work will probably focus on understanding the condition of the building, how it might be used, and whether that intended use is appropriate for the building and likely to be sustainable.

This grant programme is supported by funding from Historic England.

England | The Architectural Heritage Fund (

Reimagine Fund – Arts Council England

The Reimagine programme is designed to inspire creativity and increase stability in the sector. In 2023, there is one key aim for the Reimagine programme. They want to fund projects that will:

  • help organisations reimagine their support for the workforce.

The term ‘workforce’ could include your colleagues, volunteers and/or your professional networks. They can support a range of activities that enable you to develop, diversify and/or sustain the sector in the face of the most pressing challenges.

They want to support your colleagues, volunteers and/or partners working in these priority areas:

  • Collections
  • Exhibitions
  • Learning

The priority outcomes are:

  • Strengthening Equity, Diversity and Inclusion within the sector
  • Creating and improving opportunities for people to work in the sector
  • Increasing and enhancing partnerships

Grants between £10,000 and £50,000 are available. The closing date for applications is 26 May 2023.

Reimagine grants – Art Fund

Trust Capacity Fund – Department for Education

The Trust Capacity Fund (TCaF) aims to help trusts develop their capacity and take on underperforming schools, particularly in education investment areas (EIAs).

The Fund is open to academy trusts and local authority-maintained schools forming a multi-academy trust (MAT).

From 3 April 2023 the department will accept applications for a new TCaF for 2023 to 2025. This fund will be for growth projects approved by a regional director from 1 January 2023.

Funding will be available over 2 financial years, where appropriate. Larger tariffs will be available for trust growth projects which involve underperforming schools in EIAs. They will also welcome applications for projects which involve groups of schools.

Grants will range from £50,000 to £750,000. There are five windows for applications through until 30 September 2024. The first application window closes on 1 June 2023.

Trust Capacity Fund (TCaF) – GOV.UK (

Community Fridge grants – Hubbub

Community Fridges bring people together around good food. Across the UK they are reducing social isolation, increasing access to skills, sharing knowledge and repurposing fresh (surplus) food. 

The funder knows that many groups want to do more, and so in partnership with Starbucks they’re offering £7,000 (per group) in funding for up to 50 Community Fridges to develop additional food initiatives.  

These additional activities could be skills workshops, growing initiatives, gardening schemes or cooking (to name a few)! So, if you’re already running an open Community Fridge feel free to apply.

The closing date for applications is 31 May 2023.

New ‘Food hubs’ grant funding available for Community Fridges (

Rewilding Innovation Fund – Rewilding Britain

The idea behind the Rewilding Innovation Fund is to help remove barriers to rewilding projects within Britain, whether they’re at the early planning stages or want to move a project one step wilder.

They’re particularly keen to encourage those who are taking an innovative approach to land and marine rewilding, which will help develop learning and evidence for others within the Rewilding Network.

Funds are awarded to projects with potential for the highest impact for people and nature.

The next round of the Rewilding Innovation Fund is now open and will close on 31 May 2023. To apply for funding – of up £15,000 – projects have to be:

  • based in Britain (England, Wales and Scotland)
  • part of the Rewilding Network
  • rewilding (or about to) at scale – potentially as a group of landowners – and to our rewilding principles

Rewilding Innovation Fund | Rewilding Britain

Libraries Improvement Fund – Arts Council England

This fund will enable library services across England to invest in a range of projects to upgrade buildings and technology so they are better placed to respond to the changing ways people are using them.

The grant range is between £50,000 and £499,999. The fund is currently open for expressions of interest and will close on 19 June 2023.

Libraries Improvement Fund (LIF) Round 3 | Arts Council England

Community Grants – Nationwide Building Society

These grants aim to find local solutions to the housing crisis and help the most vulnerable people and communities across the UK. This year the grant limit has been raised to £60,000.

If you’re a local organisation with a great housing solution, you can apply for a Community Grant of up to £60,000. Your project will need to support one of three aims:

  • helping people into a home
  • preventing them from losing their home, or
  • supporting them to thrive at home

They’ll look at all applications and give a shortlist to regional Community Board members, who’ll discuss and decide which projects will receive grants in their local area.

You can check to see if your region has reached capacity by taking an eligibility quiz.

Nationwide Grants (

Building Improvement Grants – Benefact Trust

Benefact Trust’s Building Improvement Grants programme provides essential support to protect and enhance churches and Christian charity buildings, ensuring their continued use, viability, and the safeguarding of their heritage.

The programme is open to applications from churches, cathedrals, denominational bodies and Christian charities.

Under Building Improvement Grants, they are able to support direct capital costs relating to the following types of work:

  • Essential, one-off repairs or other capital works to ensure the continued use or viability of a building (capital work must be considered urgent or necessary within 12 months)
  • Minor capital works or equipment purchases to meet operational or accessibility requirements (e.g. essential operational equipment, AV equipment, hearing loops, ramps, etc)
  • Conservation or restoration of historic features (e.g. stained glass, carvings, interior furnishings, clocks, tower bells, organs etc) which contribute to preservation and appreciation of a building’s heritage.
  • Other aesthetic enhancements (e.g. interior decoration, furnishings or public realm improvements) to improve indoor or outdoor spaces for users.
  • Energy efficiency/renewable energy measures (e.g. heating/lighting upgrades, solar panels, etc) which improve the sustainability of church buildings/facilities and enable their continued use.

All applicants will be expected to have secured funding for at least 30% of their total project costs before making an application.

New – Building Improvement Grants | Benefact Trust

Agency collaboration fund: a supportive home – Youth Endowment Fund

The Fund state: “We know that many children and young people at risk of becoming involved in violence are known to local agencies. Yet this knowledge is often fragmented across multiple organisations, with different people holding different pieces of the puzzle. Opportunities where agencies could and should work together are missed.

“To help understand where those opportunities are, we’re investing in our Agency Collaboration Fund. We want to find out how agencies can better share data, power and information to prevent children from becoming involved in violence.”

They will fund and evaluate up to five local authority area partnerships in England and/or Wales.

Each successful partnership application will test a multi-agency team approach in two different neighbourhoods/localities within one local authority area.

Projects will be initially funded for 18 months. This includes up to six months preparation, including recruitment, and a 12-month implementation phase. Implementation will be evaluated through a feasibility study.

For the feasibility phase, the YEF in partnership with BBC Children in Need and The Hunter Foundation, will invest up to £500,000 per partnership for delivery costs and between £85,000 and £110,000 per partnership for evaluation.

The deadline for applications is 16 May 2023.

Agency Collaboration Fund: A supportive home – Youth Endowment Fund

Magic Little Grants – localgiving & People’s Postcode Lottery

After successfully distributing £500 grants to 2,650 charitable organisations in 2022, applications are now open for 2023. The deadline for applications is 31st October 2023.

With a simple 20-minute application process for a £500 grant and an outcome within six weeks, the Magic Little Grants fund reduces the work required for grass-roots organisations to access the funding they need to launch or strengthen their services. The following criteria apply:

  • Organisations must either be in their first year of operation or have an annual income under £250,000.
  • Funding can be used to launch new projects, support existing ones, or cover core costs associated with ongoing work.
  • Organisations and the projects for which they apply must be located within England, Scotland, or Wales.

Please note that schools are eligible to apply if they are a registered charity. Groups may only apply once in 2023 for a grant.

Magic Little Grants | Localgiving

Nature for Climate Peatland Grant Scheme – Natural England and DEFRA

The Nature for Climate Peatland Grant Scheme (NCPGS) provides funding to restore peatlands in the uplands and lowlands of England. It is a competitive grant scheme that will run until 2025.

The scheme is open to:

  • Environmental groups
  • Local authorities
  • Charities
  • Public bodies
  • Individual landowners
  • Organisations

Natural England is looking for landscape scale applications that work to restore the whole hydrological unit of a peatland. This is likely to involve several sites and landowners, so applications from partnerships or substantial land holdings are encouraged.

Applicants must have the authority to carry out the activities in their proposal. For example, if you do not own the land, you need permission from the landowner as part of your application.

You can normally apply for up to 75% of the total project costs. The next deadline for applications is 26 May 2023.

Nature for Climate Peatland Grant Scheme – GOV.UK (

Find out more funding here : Rural Funding Digest – May 2023 – Rural Services Network (

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