Grant-making FAQs

Frequently asked questions regarding funding from City Bridge Foundation


Your organisation must fall into one of the following categories:

  • Registered charity
  • Registered Community Interest Company
  • Registered Charitable Incorporated Organisation
  • Charitable company
  • Exempt or excepted charity
  • Registered charitable industrial and provident society or charitable Cooperative (BenCom)
  • Constituted voluntary organisation are eligible to apply for our Small Grants programme, but must meet our Small Grants eligibility criteria and Governance Standards for funding.

A Charitable company” refers to an organisation which is both a registered company (normally a private company limited by guarantee) and a registered charity (all charities with an income over £5,000 p.a. being required to register with the Charity Commission

We give grants for either running (revenue) costs or capital costs (not both). Revenue grants can be for up to five years and applications for core funding are encouraged.

Yes. We recognise that core costs are incurred in the delivery of good services and are willing to consider funding these costs, provided the work supported meets our priorities and you can demonstrate the costs cannot be found elsewhere.

You can also apply entirely for core cost funding in relation to elements of your organisation’s work which meets our funding priorities. For example, for a community centre which has five areas of work, only one of which meets our criteria, only the core costs relating to that particular area of work can be considered.

In addition to City Bridge Foundation’s standard criteria, there are limitations on the amount of core funding an organisation can apply for. In the first year, the cap is 10% of annual turnover or £50,000 whichever is lower, with subsequent years subject to tapering

We are sympathetic to full cost recovery where proper costing exercises have been done and where costs requested are not already funded from other sources. All requests are dealt with on a case-by-case basis, taking into account your available resources and other funding possibilities.

There is no minimum or maximum revenue grant on our main funding programmes, however, it is not our policy to award large grants to small organisations. A revenue grant from the Foundation cannot amount to more than 50% of an organisation’s turnover/​income in any one year. 

For example, if your income last year was £100k, you can only apply for £50k per year. Thus, if applying for a three year grant the maximum you can apply for is £150k.

Capital grants for access improvements and building works will not exceed £150,000.

Our Small Grants Programme has a maximum grant amount of £20,000 per year for up to five years.

No, it is not a requirement but we do look at what other funders are already involved or have been approached.

You must complete and submit our online application form together with the necessary documents as advised. We do not consider draft applications or proposals, including by email. 

There are no deadlines for our programmes. Our Grants Committee meets six times a year (usually in January, March, May, July, September and November) and applications are accepted on a continuous basis.

One-off programmes may have specific deadlines, and these will be clearly stated.

Application turnaround times vary according to application volumes and staff capacity. For the latest guidance on application turnaround times see Deadlines and timetables

Organisations cannot hold more than one grant at a time, except in the case where the application is for:

Please contact the Foundation before applying if you are not sure.

In some cases, organisations with branches or running discrete activities in different London boroughs may apply for/​hold up to a maximum of three grants at the same time – but you must speak to us first if you think this might be relevant.

Yes, provided the work is for a discrete London project. Organisations based outside London also need to demonstrate that they have the necessary skills and experience to work in London and that they are meeting a need that London-based organisations are not.

If you have received a grant on our Investing in Londoner’s programmes, providing that you meet the priorities of Bridging Divides you may apply for a continuation grant, for whatever period takes your funding up to five years in total. Therefore, if you have already received two years of funding you may apply for a further three years; if you have received three years you may apply for a further two etc. Any application for continuation funding should be made at least four months before the end of the previous grant to allow sufficient time to assess this without a gap between funding although there is no guarantee that a request for continuation funding will be successful. Please contact your Grants Officer for advice on when to apply.

If you have received five years funding, you may not apply to the Foundation for the same purpose until two years after the final monitoring report on the previous grant was received and was of a satisfactory standard. However, you may apply for a different purpose (i.e. meets significantly different outcomes) one year after we receive a satisfactory final monitoring report. Please contact the Foundation if you are unsure as to whether your new application is sufficiently different.

We can fund any such groups as long as they satisfy the general eligibility criteria, but not for work in connection with the promotion of religion. We can support work that benefits the wider community, for example, making a church hall accessible for disabled people.

Yes, you must. We can make grants of up to £5,000 towards the costs of an independent Access Audit (and disability equalities training and related consultancy) where an organisation could not be expected to fund these costs itself. More information on how to apply can be found on our Access Audits page.

If you are considering making access improvements to your building, we strongly recommend that you contact the Access and Sustainability Adviser we fund at the Centre for Accessible Environments, telephone 020 7822 8242 or email

You are also recommended to consult our report Opening Doors Across London available from the publications section of this website.

Applications for capital funding must have an accompanying access audit or design appraisal prepared by a suitably qualified individual. We can cover the costs of this through our Access Audit strand and this should be an application in its own right.

Please allow sufficient time in your project for the completion of the Access Audit before approaching us for capital funding. If you have already received a grant for an Access Audit, you may apply at any time for funding towards associated capital works, once the audit is complete.

If you have held capital funding from us in the past you must wait at least five years before applying for further capital work, and any new capital application would need an updated Access Audit or design appraisal. City Bridge Foundation is willing to fund a further Access Audit, which would need to apply for through the normal application process.

If you have received capital funding, a year must have elapsed since the receipt of a satisfactory monitoring report accounting for one years’ usage of the facility before you can apply for revenue funding. If you want to apply for further capital funding this gap must be at least 5 years and you must be able to justify why the proposed works could not have been foreseen at the time the original capital grant was made.

You can re-apply one year after the date the Foundation received your original, complete application.

The only exception is Small Grants. If your Small Grants application was rejected, you can re-apply six months after the Foundation received your original, complete application.

You are free to contact the Foundation to ask for feedback on your unsuccessful application before re-applying.

No. The level of grant awarded is often different from that requested. A Grants Officer will usually talk to you about this in an assessment meeting, so it is unlikely to come as a surprise. This can be for a number of reasons (beside our own budget constraints). You may have over-budgeted; you may have added things which are not really part of the same project; you may have asked for more than is reasonable in relation to our usual funding patterns; or we may take the view that you could find some of the costs from another source.

Get help from someone who can because it is very important as we use this information to help us assess the financial strength of your organisation. Also, if you as an organisation cannot complete this section it may bring into question whether you are able to manage a grant properly.

Your finance worker, accountant/​auditor, council for voluntary service or other support agency should be able to help. The boxes on our application form are designed to reflect the same categories as the Statement of Recommended Practice (SORP) requirements set out in the Charities Act. So if your accounts meet the SORP requirements, it should not be too difficult. Remember, the totals for assets and reserves should always be the same as they are two ways of showing the same money (assets are the funds you have and the reserves show what they are for). You should also double-check that all the totals add up and that the deficit/​surplus is correct.

Yes, one of the Foundation’s Grants Officers may visit an organisation as part of the assessment process. If you receive a visit you should make sure that someone is available to answer any financial, organisational or governance questions that the Officer may have, as well as whoever will be in charge of managing the proposed project.

All applicants are advised in writing of the Trustees’ decision on their application within a few working days of the relevant Grants Committee meeting. If the application is successful, the letter will be accompanied by a copy of the Foundation’s standard Terms and Conditions, which must be signed by the organisation’s Chair or Treasurer and returned promptly. This does not constitute a request for payment.

The organisation should write to the Foundation when it is ready to start using the grant – this letter should be signed by whoever signed the Terms and Conditions. Payments are made by bank transfer and take a couple of weeks from receipt of the request, providing any or all relevant conditions have been met. Further details can be found in the Payments section of this website.

Yes. If this is the case, you must select one organisation to be the actual applicant on behalf of the consortium, and the financial/​organisational information must be that of the applicant charity. Any grant will be the legal responsibility of the trustees of that charity. You must also give a clear account of why a consortium is the best approach and how it will steer the work.

A consortium must be a minimum of three eligible organisations although often, more partners might strengthen the case. Being the lead in a consortium bid will not affect the organisation’s own funding relationship with the Foundation and they will still be able to hold a grant in their own right.

Your carbon footprint is one measure of the impact your organisation has on our environment and climate, through releasing CO2 and other greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. Most of your activities contribute to this – through energy used for heating, lighting, equipment and travel. Your footprint also includes the energy used through the things you buy from others and the waste you generate.

If you have not yet taken steps to reduce your carbon footprint, this will not count against you in the assessment of your application. However, as part of our contribution to accelerating the shift to a low-carbon economy, we do encourage all our grant recipients to adopt better environmental practices. Many such changes are simple and can save your organisation money, as well as help to conserve our environmental framework and resources. You can request a free eco-audit to help you with this – even if you do not hold a City Bridge Foundation grant.

Organisations applying for, or in receipt of, an Investing in Londoner’s grant are encouraged to consider requesting a free eco-audit. However, it is not a requirement for applicants or grantees to have an eco-audit.

In carrying out due diligence we will need you to provide us with your safeguarding policy and we may need to follow up with some questions both on your policy and practice – either at the assessment stage or, if in receipt of a grant, as part of the general monitoring or grant management process.

These four stages were identified as a result of our Bridging Divides Strategic Review as being crucial in the delivery of services. Therefore, our aim as a funder is to help people move positively between any of the four stages of Surviving, Coping, Adapting and Thriving.

A full definition on these four stages can be found in our Funding Strategy 2018–2023

A Bencom” or Community Benefit Society” is a form of Co-operative that may be established by a geographical community or people with common interests.

Charitable Community Benefit Societies operate for public benefit and do not operate for profit. They are classed as exempt charities and not required to register with the Charity Commission. They are regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) and applicants should provide proof that they have been registered as a Charitable Community Benefit Society with the FCA (please see the FCA guidance here) and with the HMRC as an exempt charity for tax purposes.

Not all Community Benefit Societies are necessarily eligible for City Bridge Foundation funding, and our assessment of eligibility will depend on the applicant organisation’s objects, the extent to which it operates for the public benefit and whether the organisation and its work could be considered charitable in line with relevant legislation.

We do not usually fund work in schools, for several reasons. These include avoiding undue pressure on schools to accommodate extra activities and not wanting to compromise curriculum time. Additionally, young people may benefit from activities taking place outside of the school environment.

However, City Bridge Foundation recognises there are instances where it is of greatest benefit to participants for project activities to take place in school. Where this justification can be made, we can fund work in schools by exception.

Examples may include projects working with disabled young people when changing location would require additional accessible transport, or projects working with young people experiencing domestic abuse when school may be the safest place for activities.

If applying for funding for work that takes place in school, it is important that a robust case for its location is included in your application.

Yes – City Bridge Foundation understands and values the importance of digital for the future of civil society, and for London’s community and voluntary sector.

We can fund projects that are solely digital or work which has both digital and non-digital elements, meeting our criteria. 

The work must be a discreet project for the benefit of Londoners, although we understand that for some online work a small percentage of non-Londoners may access resources due to the nature of the online resource.

Examples of digital projects/​digital elements we can fund include:

  • Creating/​curating resources for a community
  • Hosting a community space online
  • Providing services online/​in a hybrid format
  • Delivering training and development digitally (eLearning)
  • (Re)designing content so it works for the web
  • Undertaking discovery work, like user research and prototyping, to test new ideas/​approaches
  • Ensuring digital services are accessible and inclusive
  • Ongoing digital costs relating to your projects such as software and licenses

If you have an idea for a digital project, or have an existing one but need support, Catalyst is a network which helps civil society organisations grow digital skills and processes. Read their blog post: What we mean by digital’: a guide.

Unanswered questions

If you have a question which isn’t included here, please email