Voluntary Sector Support Fund criteria for funding

The below information covers the requirements that applicants are expected to meet in order to complete a full application form. Each of the sections relate to parts of the application form and the questions within it. You will need to read and understand the information before starting an application form.

The following information applies to all applicant organisations and forms the core eligibility criteria for all grant streams. 

Who can apply? We will consider applications from the following organisations as long as they work on a not-for-profit basis: 

  • Registered charity - A registered charity is registered with the Charity Commission.
  • Exempt or excepted charity - An exempt charity has charitable status and is required to comply with charitable law but cannot register with the Charity Commission and an excepted charity does not have to register or submit annual returns to the Charity Commission, but the Commission still regulates them like registered charities.
  • Charitable incorporated organisation (CIO) - A charitable organisation solely registered with the Charity Commission.
  • Social enterprises/Community Interest Companies (CICs) - Social enterprises are businesses that use their profit to create positive social change and CICs are registered with Companies House and are primarily set up to benefit a community or to pursue a social purpose. 
  • Charitable company (limited by guarantee) - A company set up with special charitable articles and is registered both as a company at Companies House and as a charity with the Charity Commission).
  • Constituted but unincorporated club or association - The club or the association has a constitution, which sets out a simple set of rules which help make it clear to everyone involved what the club or association intend to do and how it intends to operate, but is unincorporated and has therefore not been set up as a Company and registered on Companies House.
  • Constituted community group - As above, the group has a constitution, but is not incorporated and has therefore not been set up as a Company and registered on Companies House.

Please note that we will not fund companies limited by shares. Non-constituted groups can apply for a VSSF grant up to £15,000 in total, however, they will need to have a sponsor organisation that can vouch for their work in the community, who is willing to hold the grant in their bank account, ring-fenced for your project, and complete this letter of reference. The sponsor organisation will have to work on a not-for-profit basis, be fully constituted and incorporated and have its own bank account.

Applicant organisations must deliver services or will deliver services for the benefit of residents in the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea. 

Eligibility Requirements

  • Local representation and shared lived experience at the decision-making levels: Your organisation will need to be managed by a Trustee Board/Director Board or Management Committee with at least three members. At least 50 per cent of your Trustee Board/Director Board or Management Committee needs to have a local connection (either live, work or study) to the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea. In addition, if you provide a service for a specific group, we will expect that your Trustee Board/Director Board or Management Committee is not only made up of local people, but also representatives from the people that you support. For example, if you provide a service for deaf people, we expect there to be deaf people on your Trustee Board/Director Board or Management Committee.
  • User-led organisation: You will also need to demonstrate that your Trustee Board/Director Board or Management Committee is a user-led organisation and be able to evidence where local people have been able to contribute to the design of a service. 
  • Good governance: You will need to provide evidence of good governance. You will need to confirm that you have a bank account in the name of your organisation and that there are at least two unrelated signatories. You will also need to provide a copy of your constitution, your latest accounts, your safeguarding policy, your equalities policy (if not available, you will need to tell us how you ensure equality of access to services and do not exclude any of the protected characteristics) and confirm you will have the relevant insurance policies. In addition, you will need to provide your organisation’s financial policy and tell us about your financial management processes. 
  • Evidence of your financial position: Where available, you will need to provide financial accounts for the last two years. If you are a new organisation and do not have a set of accounts yet, we still require evidence of your financial position over a 12-month period. For example, if you have been in operation for six months, you can provide management accounts or a cash flow statement for this six-month period, and a projection of income and expenditure for the latter six months.

Priority ares for funding

Our Council Plan

You will need to demonstrate that your request meets one of the Council’s five strategic areas for the borough of Kensington and Chelsea:

  • Grenfell Recovery (However, the VSSF is not able to fund duplicate services already funded for the bereaved and survivors, as well as projects funded through the Grenfell Projects Fund.)
  • A great place to live, work and learn
  • Supporting and safeguarding vulnerable adults
  • Healthy, clean and safe 
  • A place of culture to visit and explore

We are also keen to find out if organisations have a public health focus. Please note, however, your application will not be scored down if you are not addressing a public health priority.

Public health priorities

  • Creating and developing healthy and sustainable places and communities
  • Strengthening the role and impact of ill health prevention
  • Expanding employment support to those affected by the pandemic
  • Supporting green recovery, improving home insulation and energy efficiency
  • Supporting residents to address digital exclusion
  • Tackling isolation and the impact of bereavement
  • Actively engaging residents to develop public health services and campaigns
  • Addressing inequalities through community initiatives/projects
  • Culturally appropriate mental health and wellbeing support for ethnic minority groups/hard to reach groups by engaging and supporting through language interpretation via phone/face to face or through innovative peer-led initiatives
  • Income maximisation for residents

Other priority areas for funding

  • Covid-19: The Covid-19 pandemic has demonstrated the different ways in which voluntary and community sector organisations can quickly and dynamically respond to community needs. Applicants need to demonstrate how their project responds to the needs of the community as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic. In addition, you will also need to incorporate in your bid how your project will operate in response to the Covid-19 pandemic or in the event of a major civil incident or future pandemic. Whilst we are unclear at this stage whether there will be Covid-19 restrictions in future months, you will need to show that you are thinking about contingency options.
  • Value for money: You will need to make clear that your application represents good value for money. We will review the budget and the number of service users that you expect to reach. Services should be free at the point of access for the majority of services and, where fees are necessary, fees must not be a barrier to accessing services that are delivered using RBKC funding. If you are going to charge a fee to access a service, you will need to explain how it does not act as a barrier.
  • Reaching marginalised and seldom heard voices: We are keen to fund applications that are targeting seldom heard voices. This could include members of the LGBTQ community, members of the deaf community, individuals who are blind or have a visual impairment, individuals with a developmental disability, individuals with a mental health condition, young and adult carers, the homeless and people who have been shielding due to the Covid-19 pandemic. This list is not exhaustive and there may be other groups who you consider seldom heard. If you are not providing a targeted service/project, then you will need to demonstrate how your beneficiaries are representative of the borough population.
  • Supporting new organisations: We encourage applications from organisations that have not received funding under the previous Corporate Services Grant Programme.

A stronger application will be one that meets more than one Council priority and you will need to demonstrate how your project meets the priority (ies) you have identified. This is not necessarily expected for a small grant, but for a core funding grant more than £50,000, it would strengthen your application if your funding addressed more than one priority. However, even if your project fits one of these priorities, but you normally receive funding from a different department within the Council or from the NHS or your local CCG, then you will need to make it clear that this is not a duplication of services. Please see the funding exclusion list in the frequently asked questions and make sure your request does not come under any of these headings.

Equality, diversity and inclusion

All applicants must be able to demonstrate how their work positively impacts equality, diversity and inclusion. The information you provide in your application will need to show how you ensure equality of access and that you do not exclude any of the protected characteristics in the Equality Act of 2010. 

Please think about how you will:

  • eliminate discrimination, harassment, victimisation and any other conduct that is prohibited under this Act
  • advance equality of opportunity between persons who share a relevant protected characteristic and persons who do not share it
  • foster good relations between persons who share a relevant protected characteristic and persons who do not share it.

When completing your application, you should also consider how your delivery might impact the following groups:

  • Those from socially and economically disadvantaged backgrounds
  • Those from more disadvantaged parts of the borough
  • Those who act as a primary carer for an adult or for a disabled child
  • Other relevant groups (please stipulate which groups and why)

Organisations that do not meet the minimum expectations for equality, diversity and inclusion will not be considered for funding.

Services should be free at the point of access for the majority of services, and where fees are necessary, these must not be a barrier to accessing services that are delivered using Council funding. If you are going to charge a fee to access a service, you will need to explain how it does not act as a barrier.

Different grant streams

You can only apply for one of the grant streams outlined below. We expect each stream to be over-subscribed and it will therefore not be possible to provide more than one grant to an organisation. You will need to decide which grant is most appropriate for your proposal.

If you are applying for core funding, your grant will start on 1 October 2021 and end on 31 March 2023. However, please remember that we might extend the funding period by a further 12 months. This will be decided at the discretion of the Council and will be based on the performance of the grant over the previous 18 months. 

For a small project grant, you may choose to deliver your project over a shorter period, such as 12 months or less and you will not be marked down for this. Please decide a timeframe that suits your project.

Core Grants more than £30,000

 

  • For grants that will provide community activities, the maximum grant you can request is £150,000 per annum and a percentage of that in 2021-22.
  • For grants that will provide information, advice and guidance services, the maximum grant you can request is £300,000 per annum and a percentage of that in 2021-22.
  • For grants that provide capacity building services for organisations, the maximum grant you can request is £150,000 per annum and a percentage of that in 2021-22.

Even though we have set these limits, we are not expecting to receive many applications at the top end of each budget. You should only apply for a grant that is considered reasonable in relation to the size of your organisation. You should be aware that we will review your budget and might only be able to offer you a smaller grant than you originally requested.

  • We expect that most community activities grants will not exceed £90,000 per annum.
  • We expect that most information, advice and guidance grants will not exceed £225,000 per annum.
  • We expect that most capacity building grants will not exceed £115,000 per annum.

Smaller grants up to £30,000 in total

Under this funding stream, we will support small, local grass-root organisations with core and/or project costs. We are particularly interested in funding organisations and groups that have not received funding under the Council’s previous Corporate Services Grant scheme. 

Core costs grant

You can apply for a small core grant to continue a service you are currently providing. For core cost requests, you will need to provide evidence that the service you are delivering is needed/wanted by the people it supports and is crucially working. You will need to demonstrate that you have a track record of delivery.  

Project grant

You can apply for a small project grant to investigate the feasibility of tackling a new and emerging or a long-established problem in your community in a better way. This funding will give you the opportunity to test your approach and gather learning. As a local organisation embedded within the community, you will need to provide some evidence that the people you work with want this project, have identified it as an area where support is lacking and that your proposed way of tackling the problem has merit. If your grant has a public health focus, you can also use this funding stream to apply for a one-off event/training or campaign.

Dependent on the period you are applying for, you can apply for up to £30,000 in total over the 18 month period, during which you can apply for a maximum of £20,000 from 1 April 2022 to 31 March 2023. Please note that budgets may be altered depending on the monies available to the VSSF. If successful, we will discuss any changes to the budget with you during the inception meeting. 

We will fund staff salaries, the management of premises, overheads and management costs and other core/project costs you consider needed.  

As we want to fund smaller grass-root organisations under this funding stream, eligible organisations will be those whose average income in the last financial year was £150,000 or less.

It is recommended that you read through the frequently asked questions to supplement your understanding of the criteria for funding.