Somerset County Council (SCC) has set up Growing Grants to support community-led food projects that make healthier food affordable for everyone.
Growing Grants will support projects that involve:
- growing food as a community effort
- educating local people about healthy food and nutrition
- teaching and supporting people in your community how to shop and cook healthier
- serving balanced and nutritious communal meals
- using food and growing projects to help connect local people to each other
- building networks of community-led food projects.
How much can my group apply for?
Groups can usually apply for a grant of between £500 and £5,000, which would need to be spent within 12 months.
We can consider requests up to £10,000 to be spent over 24 months. If you would like to apply for more than £5,000 then please contact us, using the details at the bottom of this page, before starting an application.
We expect most grants to be around £2,500.
When can we apply and when will you make awards?
You must submit your application by 5pm Friday 10 June 2022. We will not consider any applications submitted after that date.
Our panel will consider your application in early July 2022 and we’ll let you know if we can support you by the middle of that month.
There will be another opportunity to apply in January 2023.
Which groups can apply for this money?
You can only apply if you work or volunteer for a group that:
- is based in Somerset (but not BANES or North Somerset)
- is run by a committee or board of at least 3 unrelated people
- has a governing document or set of rules
- has an appropriate level of free reserves. If this is more than 12 months running costs, then you should have a policy explaining why
- has a safeguarding policy
- has a bank account in its name, which requires two unrelated signatories.
We welcome applications from groups that exist to promote community engagement and inclusion. We can award money to groups that are not registered charities, but the purpose of the funding must be charitable. This means we can give a grant to:
- community groups
- registered charities
- community amateur sports clubs
- community interest companies (CIC) limited by guarantee that have a clear asset lock benefitting local communities
- companies limited by guarantee that are not-for-profit with all surpluses re-invested back into the organisation
- faith organisations, but not for the promotion of religion
- community benefit societies
- local statutory organisations, like parish councils or schools.
What can my group use this money for?
You can use these grants for new or existing community-led food projects.
Among other things, this means you can use this money to:
- buy things like fencing, seeds, topsoil (peat free), or compost
- install water supplies, water harvesting equipment, small timber buildings
- pay for people's time to run courses or training programmes
- buy cooking equipment and food supplies for cookery classes
- improve disability access to your cooking or growing venue
- cover the cost of venues for community meals
- fund some of your group’s core running costs, like insurance and utilities.
You may have other things in mind that you need money for, so if you’re unsure then please contact us.
What can’t my group use this money for?
We can’t give money to:
- individuals, sole traders or companies limited by shares
- pay for statutory duties
- activities that have already taken place or purchases that you have already made
- groups that give money to another group, rather than spend it on their own activities
- activities that are about animal welfare.
Please note that we cannot help you to buy land. We also can’t use this fund to support emergency food distribution via foodbanks.
How much money is available?
We have £200,000 to give out and expect to make about 70 grants in total. We aim to award around £100,000 now and the same amount in the early part of 2023.
What sort of projects will you support?
Our aim for this fund is to make healthier food affordable for everyone.
There are different ways to do this, and we want to support a wide range of projects.
This might include things like:
- creating or developing a community garden, farm or orchard on unused local space
- school or nursery pupils raising seedlings and sharing them with a local care home
- cookery classes that build people’s confidence and skills to cook healthy meals on a budget
- building networks of community food projects to share ideas or produce
- developing local awareness of where our food comes from and the impact this has on the natural environment
- bringing people together to grow and eat as a community.
Take a look at some of the projects that already exist in Somerset for more inspiration: Growing Grants – Inspiring Community Growing Projects.
Which groups are more likely to get some money?
We expect lots of groups to apply and we will not be able to support everyone. We’re more likely to give you some money if your group:
- is based in a neighbourhood that is within the 20% most deprived nationally. You can find out if you are in one of these areas by putting your postcode into this tool. If you’re based outside of these areas then you can still apply, but we will give priority to more deprived neighbourhoods.
- has thought about how your project could become sustainable in your community beyond the life of a grant, although we understand some projects will need more funding to continue.
- can clearly explain why it is needed and in what ways it aims to promote inclusive community-led food initiatives.
What safeguarding checks do you do?
We take the safeguarding of children and adults at risk seriously. Every group that applies to us for money must have a safeguarding policy which is up-to-date and relevant to the people they work with.
We ask for a copy of your safeguarding policy when you apply. When we read it, we need to be able to understand your commitment to protecting the people you support, your staff, and your volunteers. We may need to ask you questions if there are things that we would expect to see in your policy that are missing. These expectations are listed here.
How do I make an application?
You can apply for this money using our online application form via the button below.
By clicking the button below you’ll be taken to a registration page. Read the instructions and then enter your email address. We’ll email you a link to an online form. If you don’t see an email from us after a few minutes, then please check your spam folder.
You don’t have to complete the form in one go. Instead, you can complete some sections then click ‘save draft’ at the bottom of the page. Use the link in your email to return to the form at another time.
If you would like to see what you must do before you start filling in the online application form, then this word document includes all the questions.
You also need to attach the following documents alongside your application:
- your governing document or set of rules
- your most recent accounts
- the names and addresses of the people who run your group, if it is not registered with the Charity Commission or Companies House
- your safeguarding policy
- a bank statement from within the last three months. This can be a scanned paper statement, or a copy downloaded from an online account. We need to see the bank name, your group's name, the address where statements go, the account number and the sort code. You may redact transactions if needed.
Apart from the bank statement, please do not provide the above documents if you have sent them to us within the past six months unless they have been amended during that time.
Finally, you must read the terms and conditions and click ‘submit’.
Please contact us if you can't use the online form, or you are unable to attach any of the documents. We'll support you to make your application in another way.
You must submit your application by 5pm Friday 10 June 2022, including all supporting documents. If you cannot attach your supporting documents, then these can by submitted separately using the contact details on the application form. However, they must reach us by the deadline.
What happens to your application?
Every application we receive by the deadline will be looked at by Somerset Community Foundation. If you meet the criteria and have supplied all the supporting documents, then we’ll read your application and make a recommendation to the grants panel.
The grants panel will include people from the County Council, SCC Healthy Lifestyles Team and Somerset Community Food.
What do I have to do if I get a grant?
We want to use this money to try and understand what works well in Somerset.
So if you’re successful we will set up some opportunities for you to talk to other grantees and share ideas.
We’ll ask you to send us a quick progress report halfway through your project via email. Then you will have to submit a form at the end of your project to tell us how the money was spent and what you’ve achieved.
If you need some help then you should contact Andy Ridgewell, who works for Somerset Community Foundation. It’s usually best to email him here to ask a question or to arrange a time to talk.
Training and technical support is available from the SCC Healthy Lifestyles Team (healthy food and cookery projects) and Somerset Community Food (growing and cookery projects). Andy will put you in touch with the best person if this is required.