Community Grants Policy

This policy sets out our priorities and approach for the funding of our local Not for profit (NFP) organisations through grants.  The Council recognises the contribution that the local NFP makes both towards the quality of life of local people and in ensuring that all members of the community have a voice.

This policy aims to ensure best use of the limited funding available to support the work of the NFP to deliver high quality outcomes for Horsham residents, through a fair and transparent process.

The purpose of financial support is to:

  • Enable engagement between NFP organisations and the Council on a wide range of activities which promote community and wellbeing in Horsham district.
  • To reach the most vulnerable and disadvantaged in our communities to enable them to access the support and services they need
  • Invest in local organisations that are in a position to provide high quality services and to make a significant contribution to well-functioning and cohesive communities.

Our priorities

This funding policy is underpinned by the Council’s overall Corporate Priorities, which are articulated below:

  • Communities – Support our Communities
  • Economy – Improve and support the local economy
  • Efficiency – Great value for money services
  • Environment – Manage our natural and built environment

Key funding themes

  • young people (under 25s)
  • older people (over 50s)
  • disabled people
  • mental health
  • people living in relative deprivation
  • people that are marginalized or excluded in some way including those of risk of social isolation or who have issues relating to financial exclusion
  • people involved in crime/ASB, or at risk of being involved
  • families affected by domestic violence and abuse
  • improved access to services (including Community Transport)
  • support the infrastructure of the Community and Voluntary sector, including funding advice. Training and governance

We support two grant schemes:

  • Community Grants, which are small grants of £500 or under
  • Strategic Grants, for awards between £1000-£50,000.

Community grants

We recognise that many smaller organisations are unable to compete with most of their larger counterparts for grant support. However, many small organisations fulfil a vital role in their local communities and require only a small amount of support to carry out that role or develop their activities. The Council therefore, operate Community Grants to ensure that small organisations are not unfairly disadvantaged. Whilst the Community Grants are targeted at small local community based groups, larger NFP can apply only if they can demonstrate a clear benefit to residents in the Horsham District.

Grants can be awarded for costs up to £500. No organisation will receive more than one grant in a single financial year (April-March) and successful applicants may not re-apply the following year.


  • The organisation must be based in Horsham District or provide activities that benefit District residents.
  • The applying organisation must be a local voluntary, community or not-for-profit
  • The organisation is properly constituted with its own bank account.
  • Projects must not unfairly exclude individuals from participation.
  • Annual subscriptions, joining fees and session charges should be affordable to all.
  • Any grant awarded to an organisation will not exceed £500
  • Horsham District Council will not support projects that promote specific political or religious views.
  • Organisations must have the necessary policies in place including a safeguarding policy for children, young people and vulnerable adults, equal opportunities, insurance and health and safety where appropriate.

Assessment criteria

Higher priority will be given to applications which fit one or more of our funding themes.

Applicants should identify the following:

  • Evidence of financial need
  • Evidence of need and/or support from the community
  • How the project may add to the quality of the participants; lives

Financial viability:

We will assess project costs to establish they are realistic and value for money.

Monitoring and Evaluation

All successful applicants of a Community Grant will need to complete a report at the end of the project to demonstrate the work that was achieved, using our Monitoring and Evaluation Template.

Strategic grants

We recognise the important role that NFP organisations have in delivering key services to the people and communities of Horsham District. The Council therefore run a Strategic Grant programme aimed at ensuring these services are supported. These grants are targeted at larger organisations who can offer a range of benefits to local people across the district.


Grants can be awarded from £1000 to £50,000 per annum. Funding can cover a number of projects and core costs.


The NFP must recognise that receipt of public funds carries with it responsibilities to the funder (Horsham District Council) and to the residents that benefit from their services.  Therefore, organisations applying for a Strategic Grant will have to demonstrate broader organisational principles relating to equality, sustainability, Safeguarding and Value for Money. These are:

  • Equality & Diversity – Contribute to the Public Sector Equality Duty by clearly demonstrating a commitment to equality and diversity.
  • Ensuring everyone has the opportunity to access their service
  • Sustainability – demonstrate realistic development/ business plans to sustain the organisation post funding
  • Safeguarding – Provide relevant documents relating to Children and vulnerable Adults safeguarding
  • Value for Money (VFM) – Demonstrate that VFM factors have been considered in the design and delivery of services and demonstrate a commitment to working alongside the Council to deliver efficiencies when necessary
  • Monitoring & Evaluation – Organisations will have satisfactory systems in place to monitor and evaluate services and activities including finances and expenditure
  • HDC would also encourage applications which offer a ‘Living Wage’.

Previous recipients of a Strategic Grant are able to reapply.  If they are currently in receipt of a Strategic Grant and are successful in a bid for the following year this funding will be held until a satisfactory end of year review has taken place. If the organisation fails to meet this requirement then any grant awarded will be void and the funding can be reallocated.

Assessment criteria

  • Organisations need to demonstrate that their work meets at least two of the HDC Corporate Priorities.
  • Organisations will have to demonstrate that their work also delivers services to at least two of the HDC funding themes.

Priority will also be given to applicants that can demonstrate their project will:

  • bring in match funding from other external sources
  • deliver a number of projects across the district
  • deliver measurable outcomes
  • offers opportunities to volunteers

Financial viability

HDC will assess project and core costs to establish they are realistic and meet value for money criteria.  HDC will also assess the financial resources of the organisation to ensure that work can be delivered.

Monitoring and Evaluation

In making offers of grants HDC will require applicants to agree to terms and conditions, which will include Key Performance Indicators and monitoring and evaluation requirements before payment is made. The exact nature of this agreement will vary from organisation to organisation depending on the funding requested and the nature of the project.

  • Grants of over £7,500 will be paid in in two instalments; the first after the terms and conditions have been agreed and the second after a successful 6 month review.
  • Recipients will be required to undergo two monitoring reviews one at the end of 6 months and one at the end of the project. Organisations will also need to  produce a monitoring and evaluation report. Applicants will have to complete this review satisfactorily before further grants can be accessed.