The application process

The application process is in two stages.

Stage 1: Tell us about your idea and what you want to do.

  • Find out if your area is open for applications.
  • Check the deadline for your area.
  • Complete the short Stage 1 form.

If your project is neighbourhood-based, you can apply online. If your project is a community of interest, contact us to request an application form. Find out more.

We will contact you within 10 working days after the deadline to let you know if you have got through to Stage 2.

Stage 2: Tell us more about your project, your costs and the funding you need.

  • Complete the Stage 2 application form.
  • We will contact you within 12 weeks after the Stage 2 closing date to let you know if you’ve been successful.

Core criteria

Your project should:

  • Be designed and led by local people
  • Support their neighbourhood or community to come together to address an issue that is important to them
  • Create stronger connections between people by supporting them to meet up regularly (weekly, fortnightly or monthly, for at least one year)
  • Be for people who experience greater social and economic disadvantage than people living in other parts of the country


Be either:

  • small and local, for example, involving residents living in a few streets, an estate, a small village and working in one or more of our 'fundable neighbourhoods', or
  • a community of interest - a group of people who have a shared identity or experiences, and wish to come together to address specific issues that are important to them. They may live across a wider area but they must live close enough to each other to meet up regularly.

Key eligibility criteria

  • You are a non profit organisation or group. Find out more about eligible organisation types.
  • You have unrestricted reserves (savings) of less than six months of your yearly expenditure, after deducting the amount you are thinking of requesting from the Trust.
  • Your organisation or group been constituted for at least three months and have a governing document.
  • If you are a new organisation, and do not yet have full year accounts, your projected income for a full year is less than £350,000.
  • Your total yearly income is less than £350,000, or an average of £350,000 over two years.
  • At least 80% of your participants come from fundable neighbourhoods. If you are applying as a community of interest, 80% of participants must come from the fundable neighbourhoods, or be experiencing social and economic disadvantage.

Other criteria

  • We support new and existing projects which last between one and two years.
  • The minimum grant that you can apply for is £5,000 over one year, £7,500 over 18 months, or £10,000 over two years.
  • The maximum amount of funding we will invest in a project is £40,000. We are highly unlikely to fund a grant of £40,000 over one year.
  • One organisation can apply for a maximum of two projects in one area that is open for funding.
  • Existing Active Communities grant holders can only apply if their current grant ends within twelve months from the closing date of their funding area.

Delivering a project online

The Trust will consider projects with delivery online if applicants can demonstrate:

  • there is evidence that participants have asked for it and it works well for them
  • there is a way to ensure that 80% of participants are coming from fundable neighbourhoods
  • digital exclusion and online safety has been considered
  • they meet the core criteria.

Completing the Stage 1 application form

In Stage 1, you need to tell us about your idea and what you want to do. This will enable us to tell you whether you can go forward to a Stage 2 application. It is important that all questions are completed fully. You are asked to do this in step six of the online application in 'Your project details'. You can download a copy of the questions in Step 6 of the online neighbourhood based application to prepare your answers here.

We will assess your Stage 1 and Stage 2 application against the following key criteria:

The project:

  • is designed and led by local people
  • supports the neighbourhood or community to come together to address an issue that is important to them
  • creates stronger connections between people by supporting them to meet up regularly (weekly, fortnightly or monthly for at least one year)
  • is clearly explained

Find out more about eligible organisation types.

Find out more about what we don't fund.

Find out more about fundable neighbourhoods