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New £130million Grassroots Grants programme seeks local funders

Local third sector funders across the country are today invited to become a local partner in delivering a ground-breaking £130million fund that will give grass roots third sector organisations access to grants for as little as £250.

As well as providing much-needed small grants for third sector organisations, the Grassroots Grants programme will also help local funders to build endowment funds to provide a continuous source of small grant funding, by matching the money that the local funder raises in the community. The Community Development Foundation (CDF) is administering the programme nationally and the search has begun for local funders.

The £130 million fund, which will run from 2008-2011 will be divided into two parts: an £80 million small grants fund for community organisations; and a groundbreaking £50 million endowments programme to enable local funders to generate additional donations on a matched basis and invest them in endowments, thereby building their capacity to provide long-term funding for frontline community organisations.

Alison Seabrooke, Chief Executive of the Community Development Foundation said:

“The Grassroots Grants programme is a great opportunity for local funders to build not just the capacity of local community and voluntary groups in their area but their own. CDF are delighted to be involved in the programme and look forward to receiving applications from local funders.”

Phil Hope MP, Minister for the Third Sector said:

“Sometimes it only takes a little money to make a massive difference. Grassroots Grants will give the groups which are tackling local issues the support they need to make a difference. It is a ground-breaking programme with £130million from central government to boost the smallest third sector organisations and the local funders that are often the best at reaching out to the most vulnerable people in our communities.

“I want grass roots organisations in our communities to thrive so that they can help with the individual challenges that face each local community. The Government recognises their work and is prepared to take action to support them. £130million will go a long way and help many groups but it is vital that we have local funders to help us deliver the money where it is needed and to raise and build endowments to sustain funding in the future.”

The Government first announced plans for the Grassroots Grants Programme in July in the Third Sector Review which involved the widest ever consultation with the third sector through which small organisations told the Government that they were often unable to get the small amounts of money they needed to do their work because traditional funding focuses on larger projects.

Local funders interested in applying should go to [External website] and download a copy of the guidance notes and application form. The closing date for applications for local funders is 30 April 2008. The funding is only available in England.

For further information contact:
Cara MacDowall, Communications Manager, CDF
020 7812 5444 or email:

Notes to editors

  1. Funding for community and voluntary groups will not open until after July 2008 but each local area will open at different times – as the programme may fit in with local funding streams.
  2. The closing date for local funders to apply for funding is 30 April 2008. Local funders in each top local authority area will be told whether they are successful or not by the beginning of July 2008.