Community Planning: Funding A - Z
  • introduction
  • suggestions

An annotated selection of mechanisms and sources of funding for community-led neighbourhood projects.

For a free-standing project or for part of an action programme in a community-led neighbourhood plan.

Entries are summaries and provide links to further information or examples.

If you know a funding source that should be listed here, or want to suggest changes to an existing listing, please contact the site editor Nick Wates for further details.

funding A - Z

(To print out a selection from the list check individual consultants and click on any of the printer icons or click here to print all)


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Last updated on: 01 September 2011

Assets of Community Value
This allows a community group or an individual to ‘list’ a site which they argue is of value to the local community. The local authority has to maintain a list of sites. An owner wishing to sell the asset must notify the local authority which then imposes a moratorium on the sale. The moratorium period gives the local community time to develop a proposal for the transfer of the asset to community ownership. These assets might include meeting rooms, swimming pools, village shops, markets or pubs which, if closed or sold into private use, can be a damaging community loss. To download a pdf with further information click on Go to website.
Go to website

Awards for All
Helps improve local communities in the UK and the lives of people most in need. Supports projects in the pipeline with grants of between £300 and £10,000. Short and simple appilication form. Response within 6 weeks. An ongoing Big Lottery programme.
Go to website

Big Local

Community development programme running in 150 local areas in England funded by Big Lottery Fund. Each local area gets at least £1million. Key features are: 

  • continuous, inclusive, thoughtful involvement of local people; 
  • accountable local partnership; 
  • maximising long-term, inclusive benefit; 
  • building capacity and sharing learning; 
  • flexible and realistic planning; 
  • additional to public money. 

Go to website

British Gas Energy Share Fund

Aims to support inspiring, community led, renewable projects across Great Britain which:

  • have the objective of saving or generating energy locally;
  • are supported by their local community;
  • will benefit the local community and have a tangible and lasting impact;
  • have some aspect (of the project) that is realistically achievable within one year;
  • will inspire even more community renewable projects
In the first round, a shortlist of 100 groups were invited to make a formal application for funding of up to £500,00. A final short list of 10 will be voted on by all groups who have signed up as members of energyshare. A further £3m to be allocated in the next 3 years. (2011) See website for how to apply.
Go to website

Carbon Emissions Reduction Target (CERT)
Grants and discounts towards the cost of energy efficiency installations - such as loft and cavity wall insulation and replacement of old, energy inefficient heating systems. Aim is to reduce CO2 emissions. Can take up offers from any energy provider.
Go to website

Co-operative Membership Community Fund
Helps communities throughout UK. Can fund anything from equipment to event costs, rent or fixtures and fixings, sport and computer equipment. Members of The Co-operative Group, who want to help improve the lives of others, donate part, or all, of their share of the profits to the Community Fund - £1.7 million was donated in 2010.
Go to website

Communities Living Sustainabiy
Development grants for partnerships in England building up sustainable and resilient communities to help deal with the potentential impact of climate change. Big Lottery. Closing date: January 2012.
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Community action against crime: innovation fund
Encourages creative new approaches to tackling crime. Worth £5 million in 2011/12, with a further £5 million set aside for 2012/13. Aims to encourage greater community activism and enable communities to develop innovative approaches to tackling the local crime issues that matter to them. Funded by the UK Home Office, administered by the Community Development Foundation.
Go to website

Community Energy Savings Programme (CESP)
Aims to improve energy efficiency standards and reduce fuel bills in 400 poor UK neighbourhoods. Funded through an Energy Company Obligation (ECO) on both energy suppliers and electricity generators. Energy efficiency measures delivered on a ‘whole house’ basis (rather than incremental installations) in combinations best suited to the individual house. Projects developed and delivered through community-based partnerships between local authorities, community groups and energy companies. Energy action is co-ordinated with other neighbourhood initiatives. So in some cases the programme delivers energy-efficiency-led neighbourhood regeneration. In other cases it supplements and strengthens existing and ongoing community-based action.
Go to website

Community Generation Fund
UK fund providing loans as a catalyst for the widespread development of community-owned renewable energy infrastructure. Lead partner is the National Energy Foundation. Periodic calls for proposals. 
Go to website

Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL)
A charge which local authorities can levy on any new building or extension with a floor area of 100 square metres or more to pay for the local infrastructure needed for new development – schools, community and health facilities, green space, roads. The charge is levied according to a tariff (£x per building) which is set by the local planning authority in consultation with local communities. The Localism Act requires charging authorities to allocate a meaningful proportion of revenues to the neighbourhood where they were raised.
Go to website

Community right to build
A Community Right to Build Order can be prepared by any local community organization with 50% members living within the neighbourhood. It is site-specific for small scale developments, with any profits distributed among members. It is a special type of Neighbourhood Development Order which creates opportunities for local people to implement development proposals for new homes, playgrounds, meeting halls, businesses or shops. As long as the proposals meet certain criteria and are approved in referendum, they will not need a traditional planning application to be approved. To download a pdf with further information click on Go to website.
Go to website

Community right to reclaim
A beefed up version of the established, but little used, Public Request to Order Disposal (PROD) process. Registers of publicly owned land are being compiled and published. This will enable community groups to hold to account the owners of sites which are not fully used. Securing a A PROD will normally mean that the land is sold on the open market. Community groups or others may then be able to acquire it and bring it back into a beneficial use.
Go to website

Crowd Funder
Online crowdfunding platform for creative and social projects. 
Go to website

Energy grants and discounts database
Tool for accessing information on grants and discounts you may be eligible for in UK. Offers provided by energy companies due to obligations imposed on them by government. Enter some basic details (postcode, property type, number of bedrooms, tenure, date of construction) then search for financial assistance for three technologies: insulation; heating; energy generation.
Go to website

Feed-in Tariff (FIT)
Regular payments from energy suppliers to households and communities that generate electricity from renewable or low carbon sources such as solar panels and wind turbines. Community groups can get the tariff for community buildings. Eligible households and groups receive two monthly payments (tariffs): Generation tariff = a set rate for 20-25 years for each unit (or kWh) of electricity generated; Export (sales) tariff = a further amount for each unit exported to the grid, i.e. when not used on site.
Go to website

Green Communities - Energy Saving Trust (EST)
Green Communities was an Energy Saving Trust programme that aimed to help communities deliver effective carbon savings and sustainable energy projects and support them in moving towards a low carbon future. Funding cuts ended this programme on 31 March 2011.
But the EST website still provides some really useful resources to help develop community based energy projects and details of inspirational projects which have been supported. Online tools will help you to work out your communitys carbon footprint, create an action plan and find useful information and funding.
Go to website

Green Deal Energy Saving
Mechanism which UK government expects will revolutionise the installation of energy efficiency measures, such as cavity wall insulation. Private firms make efficiency improvements to homes at no upfront cost. The costs are then paid back over time via the consumers energy bills. Not a loan because the bill-payer is never liable for the full capital cost, only the charges due while they are the bill-payer. The expected savings  must be greater than the cost of installing the measures. The existence of a Green Deal on a property must be disclosed to subsequent occupiers who will be liable for continuing repayments.
Go to website

Online crowdfunding platform for creative projects. 
Go to website

Neighbourhood community budgeting
An initiative to give local people more influence over the provision of local services by getting involved in budgeting at a neighbourhood level. 
Go to website

Neighbourhood plans
Funding from the Department of Communities & Local Government to local planning authorities in England. From 2 January 2012, up to a maximum of £50,000 (up from £20,000) for area designations this financial year up to a maximum of 10. There is an overall limit of £1.5 million on designation payments. Changes from 1 April 2013 - local planning authorities will be able to claim for up to 20 designations (£100,000) in the financial year 2013 to 2014. The overall limit for designation payments in 2013 to 2014 has been set at £5 million. In total, local planning authorities can claim up to £30,000 for each neighbourhood plan. The first payment of £5,000 will be made following designation of a neighbourhood area recognising the officer time supporting and advising the community in taking forward a neighbourhood plan. The second payment of £5,000 will be made when the local planning authority publicises the neighbourhood plan prior to examination. The third payment of £20,000 will be made on successful completion of the neighbourhood planning examination. This money recognises the duties that local authorities have in relation to neighbourhood planning. These are to: provide advice and assistance; to hold an examination; and to make arrangements for a referendum.
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New Homes Bonus
A Government scheme to encourage local authorities to grant planning permissions for new houses by providing government grant. The bonus matches the council tax for any new home, or any empty property brought back into use, for the first six years. It is intended to counter ‘nimbyism’ by providing communities with an incentive to support development. Councils and communities will work together to decide how to spend this extra funding. The Bonus could be used for council tax discounts for local residents, boosting local services, or providing or retaining local facilities such as swimming pools or leisure centres. To download a pdf with further information click on Go to website.
Go to website

People Fund
Crowdsourcing website providing ways for charities and entrepeneurs to raise funds for new projects. 
Go to website

The Clean Planet Trust. Funds carbon reduction projects in communities in the developing world and the UK. Match funding grants and low interest loans. Website contains case studies of projects supported. 
Go to website

Reaching Communities
Funds projects which improve or replace existing buildings in which a wide range of community activities take place and in communities in England most in need as defined by the government’s ‘Lower Super Output Areas’ (LSOA’s). Covers both urban and rural neighbourhoods. Only supports projects where the people who will benefit will also be involved in planning and running them. Big Lottery funded programme.
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Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI): micro-generation
Provides financial support that encourages individuals, communities and businesses to switch from using fossil fuel for heating to generating their own energy from renewable sources – such as solar thermal panels, heat pumps and biomass. Being piloted as the Renewable Heat Premium Payment and will come into operation as part of the Green Deal in Autumn 2012.
Go to website

Renewable Heat Premium Payment (RHPP): micro-generation
UK Government scheme designed to help you to generate your own energy by installing renewable technologies for your home. Grants are for: Solar thermal panels (£300); Air source heat pump (£850); Ground or water source heat pump (£1250); Biomass boiler (£950). Basic insulation – cavity wall and loft - must be installed first. Pilot project for the Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) and ends 31 March 2012.
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Warm Front
Aims to reduce fuel poverty. Provides grants for heating and insulation improvements to households on certain income-related benefits who are living in properties that are poorly insulated and/or do not have a working central heating system. Grants are available for improvements such as: loft insulation, draughtproofing, cavity wall insulation, hot water tank insulation and heating installations.
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