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Frequently Asked Questions

We do hope you find the answers to your questions in this section. Please don’t hesitate to contact us on 01606 330607 if you have further questions or if you would like to talk to us in more detail.

We want to achieve our Vision to ‘Make Cheshire Better’.

We want Cheshire to be a place where, regardless of where people live:

  • They can feel fulfilled and reach their full potential
  • They can achieve economic, social and physical wellbeing
  • They share a strong sense of community
  • Inequalities in life expectancy, health and employment opportunity are reduced
  • Voluntary and community-based activity can thrive and flourish

To achieve this, we will endeavour to:

  • Understand the needs and aspirations of people in Cheshire, recognising that ‘disadvantage’ can take many forms
  • Develop grant making programmes that are responsive and flexible, to take account of changing and emerging needs
  • Be responsive to the wishes of donors
  • Ensure that our grant making makes a significant difference to people’s lives
  • Work strategically on a Cheshire-wide basis, making links across sectors and working proactively to bring about change
  • Develop ongoing relationships with the voluntary and community organisations we work with and fund
  • Create an enduring legacy for Cheshire

We want to fund activities that:

  • Will help us to achieve our Vision for Cheshire
  • Demonstrate a clear understanding of existing or impending need and its causes
  • Are informed by local consultation and local knowledge
  • Encourage community involvement, volunteering and self-help
  • Are well-planned, realistic and achievable
  • Will make a practical difference to people’s lives, in a way that can be clearly demonstrated and evidenced
  • Can achieve a great deal with a relatively small amount of money

We want to fund organisations that:

  • Understand clearly the needs of their beneficiaries
  • Have a clear vision of what they are trying to achieve
  • Involve the local community and value their volunteers
  • Are competent, well managed and resourceful
  • Are able to deliver value for money / seek to maximise a return for any funding provided
  • Are accountable and transparent
  • Are able to manage their finances appropriately
  • Can demonstrate that they are best placed to meet the needs they have identified
  • Prioritise the beneficiaries of their services above the needs of their organisation
  • Are willing to share their learning and resources

We want to reinforce our Commitment to Sustainability

  • The Foundation is committed to promoting environmental, social and economic sustainability in all its grant making. We are particularly keen to encourage the organisations we fund to consider the environment, make ethical purchases and operate in a way that promotes social co-operation and partnership.

Each grants programme that we manage has criteria outlining the types of projects that can be considered and the size of grant you can apply for. We recommend you look at the criteria for each programme and the fund supporting it, to find which one is most suitable.

The size of grants available varies for each fund and is dependent on specific criteria laid out by the donor, the type of project and what can reasonably be achieved with the money. Funding criteria can specify grants of typically between £250 and £25,000.

Please refer to each grant programme for further information on deadlines. Some programmes have specific closing dates whilst others operate on a rolling basis and you can apply any time.

All of our grant programmes have their own online application form. All forms can be accessed by clicking on the “Apply” section on our website and accessing a link within the details of the specific programme itself. The questions we ask in each programme are very similar, so if we feel that there is a more appropriate programme for your application, we can work with you to process the application through a different programme.

We require you to upload online a copy of your:

  • Constitution/Memorandum and Articles of Association
  • Latest annual accounts or income and expenditure sheet
  • Relevant safeguarding policies
  • Copy bank statement

If these documents are too big to upload, they can be posted to us or scanned and emailed to us.

If you have received a grant from the Community Foundation within the last 12 months you do not need to re-submit all your supporting documents – unless you want to show us any updates or changes. We do, however, need to see your most recent accounts. If you have produced new annual accounts since the last application, please send these in.

An organisation can only hold one grant per CCF grants programme at any one time. Further funding can be applied for – to either continue the existing funded project – or apply for a different project, at the point when the monitoring on the existing grant has been satisfactorily received. The organisation will need to be able to provide convincing evidence of the differences the CCF grant has made to the lives of disadvantaged people they have worked with and the learning that will be applied going forward (where applicable).

If an organisation currently has a Main Grant they can apply for a Small Grant – if it is for a different project working with a different cohort of people, and vice versa.

In addition to any grants made under our own CCF programmes, applicants are also able to apply to any partner programme distributed by CCF on behalf of other organisations for example “New Beginnings”, “Building a Stronger Britain Together”, “Comic Relief”, “Youth Social Action” etc. however the project applied for must be different to those already awarded under our own programmes.

Applicants are strongly advised to talk to CCF in the event if wishing to apply to multiple programmes, to ensure advice including and realistic chances of success is sought.

If you need clarification on a specific question then please do not hesitate to contact one of our staff here at Cheshire Community Foundation. However, if you require further assistance or are new to writing applications we ask you to please contact your local Council for Voluntary Service, Voluntary Action organisation or Community Development Agency.

Yes. Please advise us that you are in the process of setting up a bank account. If your application is successful we will need a letter from the bank confirming the account details.

Our grant programmes have their own specific online application forms. If you are not able to access these for whatever reason, then please contact us for further information on how we can support you with your application.

We will first check that your application meets the eligibility policies for the grants programme (our First Stage assessment checks). If you are not eligible we will let you know. If you have a fit with the grants programme criteria, we will then assess your application.

Depending on the complexity of the project and size of grant requested, we may contact you for clarification by telephone, carry out a more in-depth telephone assessment or visit your project during the assessment process.

If your application is unsuccessful at a Grants Panel, you will be notified with the reasons for the declination within 2 weeks of the Grants Panel by email.

You will receive an email informing you on this occasion that you have not been successful. Included in this will be a summary of the panellists’ comments, detailing why you have not been supported. You are able to apply again to the Community Foundation and do not have to wait 12 months to re-apply, if you can fully address all feedback provided.

However, if the sole reason for the application being unsuccessful (as outlined in the feedback provided) was due to insufficient donor funds being available for the project activity, it may be worth considering whether the work involved in reapplying to CCF, would be better directed towards other sources of funding, which have a stronger fit with your project – as it could be the case, that CCF continue to lack donor funds for your specific project activity, geography or beneficiary group.

Please note: Some programmes are only available for a short period of time and may no longer be open, to reapply to.

Most of our grants are paid by electronic transfer direct to your bank, which is why we ask for an up to date bank statement. If for some reason this is not possible then we will send a cheque in the group’s name to the contact.

Unfortunately, we do not accept applications from individuals.

Yes, although we require at least 3 Directors to be in place and they must not be related. We would expect that there would be a quorate of at least three Directors at Board meetings to enable robust financial procedures to be followed for the expenditure of any restricted grant funds.

We ask that you check there is an available grant fund that appear to be a good match for your project before you apply. The criteria for each fund is clearly stated and you are welcome to contact us if you are unsure. This will save you time, as applications that do not meet the criteria of our available funds will not be assessed.

We will fund:

  • Organisations whose work primarily benefits people living within one of the three local authorities of Cheshire East, Warrington and Cheshire West & Chester
  • Organisations that are ‘not for profit’, such as charities, community groups and social enterprises, that can demonstrate a clear community benefit in their constitution or governing document. The governing document should state clearly how any profits are to be reinvested for community benefit. There is no requirement for applicant organisations to be registered charities
  • Regional or national organisations working in Cheshire may be considered if they can demonstrate that they are the best organisation to tackle a particular issue or address a specific need and there is no local organisation able to do this. We are unlikely to fund regional or national organisations that are simply requesting a contribution towards a percentage of their core costs, relative to the proportion of their beneficiaries who live in Cheshire
  • Where partnership applications are received, we will consider project proposals where some of the partner organisations are based outside Cheshire, but we would expect local organisations to take a lead in that partnership
  • We will give priority to frontline organisations that are working directly with local people ‘on the ground’
  • Where organisations are ‘in crisis’, we will endeavour to offer our support but this may not necessarily be financial support

We cannot consider:

  • Organisations that are statutory bodies (such as a local authority, primary care trust, schools, parish councils and hospitals) or private/commercial  businesses, including sole traders
  • Activities which a statutory body is responsible for
  • Projects for personal profit
  • Groups comprising just one family
  • Activities that have already taken place before we offer you a grant
  • Organisations whose work does not benefit people living within at least one of the three local authorities of Cheshire East, Cheshire West & Chester or Warrington
  • General appeals i.e. a request for a general contribution to a larger project, where an identifiable aspect has not been defined
  • Projects where the organisation making the application is not the same as the organisation that will deliver the project
  • Political promotion, including political party activity
  • The support or promotion of a religious doctrine, mission, proselytism or promotion of the beliefs of a particular faith (beyond basic religious/cultural awareness raising). For projects which propose to use healing therapies (such as, but not limited to, Reiki, Indian Head Massage, Mindfulness and Meditation) such therapies must be non-religious in nature. Our grants assessors will also want to understand how healing therapies will lead to measurable, positive outcomes for service users – and how the organisation supports service users before, during and after therapy.We want to be reassured that any therapies used are suitable for a diverse range of service users – with a robust process for assessing any risks including safeguarding risks and any third party safeguarding risks.We will also want to understand the experience and qualifications of staff and/or volunteers, delivering healing therapies (for example, are the therapists affiliated with a recognised body/regulator/do they have any accreditation, are their methods suitably recognised by health and other professionals, how often is their training updated. We would not pay for the training of individuals in these therapies.Grant applicants must also be able to demonstrate that they have procedures in place, to refer serious health issues to a General Practitioner – or another appropriate professional as needed.Applications will be considered on a case by case basis reflecting on the information received.
  • Medical research, medical equipment or medical treatment
  • Activities that are for the sole relief or benefit of animals or plants. The Foundation is interested in the difference its funding makes to Cheshire’s people
  • Debts and other liabilities
  • Reclaimable Tax
  • Travel outside of the UK
  • Organisations requesting funding towards reserves, or those that have significant financial reserves, other than in exceptional circumstances. We accept that it is good practice for organisations to maintain an appropriate level of reserves and this will be looked at on a ‘case by case’ basis
  • We can only consider funding projects involving land or buildings if the applicant organisation can demonstrate that they either own the premises in question, or have security of tenure for a significant length of time. This will be assessed on a ‘case by case’ basis. Please note that we will only make significantly large awards for building projects in exceptional circumstances. In most cases our awards for this type of project will not exceed £5,000 and may be less. For any application asking the Foundation to contribute to a larger capital or building project, the element of the project that the Foundation is being asked to fund should be clearly identifiable. The application should demonstrate the direct community benefit that the Foundation’s contribution will have at the end of the grant period
  • Applications involving sport will be considered on a ‘case by case’ basis. The Foundation welcomes applications for projects that intend to use sport as a tool to tackle a social issue or bring a community together, but is reluctant to fund sport for sport’s sake, as there are other sources of funding for sport in Cheshire
  • In certain circumstances a donor may ask us to make an award to a named individual, but we cannot accept general applications from or on behalf of individuals

Our reserves policy is very similar to many other funders.  We firstly check if the organisation have a reserves policy, then check if  the organisation is operating to that policy – or if not what are the reasons why – whether operating above the policy or below it.

A reserves policy explains the choices that an organisation has made about whether they want to set money aside to either take advantage of future opportunities or to protect it from future drops in income. It should be reviewed regularly.

The reserves policy should state:

  • How much the organisation needs to hold in reserve and why.
  • How and when the organisation’s reserves can be spent.
  • How often the reserves policy will be reviewed

We are able to consider variations and/or extension requests and these must be made in writing to us by email or letter. We need to know the reason for the extension/variation request, when the funding will be spent by and you should submit a new budget together with the planned outcomes (for a variation).

Cheshire Community Foundation must be recognised as a donor and the grant recorded as restricted funds in your accounts. The Community Foundation logo should be used on any appropriate literature or website relating to the project. Please contact us for logo use.

Once a grant is awarded, our group name, the amount we have been awarded and the overall purpose of the grant may be published on the Cheshire Community Foundation website, Twitter and Facebook. If appropriate, the Community Foundation may also use your project for other publicity purposes.

We love receiving case studies, photos and video materials from your project that we can share with the donors who have supported your work. Please do try and capture as much information to make the project come alive to the donor as possible, permissions allowing.

What level of information are you expecting regarding the difference the project has made?

We are looking for you to tell us about what was delivered, where it was delivered and the numbers of individual people benefitting together with the difference the grant has made.  Wherever possible to evidence this, including any challenges you have had delivering the project, any unintended or unexpected changes (see also below *) and also provide a short case study (ideally through the eyes of someone you have helped – you can give the person a different name to protect anonymity) and where appropriate permissions are in place, we welcome photos and video clips of your project to share with donors.

You should plan to collect information about the differences you are making (your outcomes) routinely from the start of your project. This will allow you to learn and develop your project to improve the differences you make. It will help you to explain to your participants, staff and supporters how successful your project is, as well as enabling you to complete your end of year grant reports and strengthen future applications for funding from many sources.

* What if things have changed since we applied for funding?

We understand that circumstances can change after a grant is awarded, such as changes to job descriptions or members of staff leaving, delays to the project, demand from beneficiaries may increase or decrease, or you may find that the outcomes of your project are not what you expected.

We simply ask that you contact us to discuss any changes relating to your grant. In fact, we believe that the best projects are constantly looking to learn and improve, which is why we ask you to tell us about what you have learnt in your report form.

Cheshire Community Foundation is only funding part of my project. Should I report on the whole project, or just the part you fund?

We understand that lots of different elements within a project and outside a project contribute to making a difference to the lives of disadvantaged people. However, when you report to us you should tell us about the differences that Cheshire Community Foundation funding is making or contributing to.

What financial evidence should I send in with my report?

As part of your report to us, we will ask you to account for how you have spent the money we have awarded.

While we do not request receipts for evidence of spend, you will be expected to complete and return a schedule of expenditure detailing how funding has been spent in the online monitoring form.

All evidence related to the spending of the grant must be kept by your organisation and be made available to us should you be selected for an audit of project expenditure. We request that you keep receipts for no less than 24 months from the end of your project activities, however you may be required to keep your receipts and evidence of expenditure for longer depending on the regulatory requirements relevant to your organisation.   We may select your organisation to check that you have complied with the above as part of a visit to discuss your project.

You will need to have an up to date Child Protection Policy and/or Vulnerable Adults Policy (depending on the service users your project works with) and a named Designated Safeguarding Officer.

You will need to make sure that all eligible staff management committee and volunteers have a Disclosure and Barring Service Check and ensure that all staff, volunteers and management committee members attend child protection training.

Note: some organisations have queried whether such training is required for committee members and trustees, who have no direct contact with children and young people. Our stance on this is very clear. It is the management committee that is legally responsible for ensuring that such policies are in place and appropriately framed and it is therefore essential that they undertake training that equips them to fulfil this obligation. As it is now unlikely that committee members will qualify for disclosure checks, the need for such training becomes more acute.