Comic Relief – Core Strength Funding


People living in deprived areas, or who face a range of social issues, often get vital support from smaller organisations based within their communities. It’s these locally-based groups that truly understand the needs of the people they serve and make a huge difference to their lives.

Sadly though, recent research shows that small and medium sized organisations across the UK are being hit particularly hard by the current economic climate, forcing many to either scale back their work or dissolve completely. These voluntary organisations urgently need core funding to continue their crucial work.

We want to recognise the importance of local community organisations and the pivotal role they play across the UK. That’s why, for the first time ever, we’ve developed this exciting programme to solely fund organisational costs (rather than financing the delivery of a specific project).

Open: 16th June, 2016 to 27th July, 2016 (midday)

Funding available

In total, £4 million will be invested through this initiative with approximately 100 organisations receiving grants for core funding across the UK.

Please note, this programme is partly funded by HM Treasury’s ‘Tampon Tax’ to help tackle the various issues that many women and girls face. Therefore, out of the £4 million available through this pilot programme, a minimum of £1 million will be awarded to organisations working primarily to support women and girls.

We define ‘core funding’ as a grant that will pay towards the core costs of running an organisation, including salaries, overheads and day-to-day running costs such as rent, heating and lighting. As well as running costs, we will also award grants to support specific work that will strengthening organisations for the future. This could include improving leadership and governance, or planning and development.

Here are some examples of the kind of work we might fund through this programme:

  • Strategic planning and policy improvement – including business planning; fundraising strategies; income generation; policy and procedure reviews.
  • Planning to improve structures and systems that will improve efficiency and quality – including financial controls; human resources; management of volunteers; risk management; monitoring frameworks; impact assessment; accredited quality marks.
  • Improvements in leadership and governance – including review of board/committee policy and practice; Trustee training; involving users; change management; new skills development e.g. around social entrepreneurship.
  • General running costs – including rent, lighting, heating or contributions towards salaries.


We welcome proposals for up to £40,000 over 24 months of activity (£20,000 each year) from organisations in the UK that:

  • deliver services in one of our programme areas (at least 75% of an organisation’s activity must fit one of these themes).
  • have been in existence for at least five years, are embedded in their community and are committed to creating long-term change.
  • can demonstrate regional or local significance and can work with us to raise awareness of the important issues they are tackling in their area.
  • work in areas of significant disadvantage, deprivation or poverty, including rural isolation.
  • have an annual income of between £100,000 – £500,000.
  • have a current organisational plan and budget covering the period to at least 2017.
  • do not have more than one year’s unrestricted reserves (not including fixed assets).

If an organisation is already in receipt of funding from Comic Relief, they may only apply for core funding through this programme if their current grant is due to expire within 12 months.

For more information and to apply to the fund go to the website at




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