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Small Grants

Covid-19 Response Grant Programmes – Update

Last Updated: 11/05/2020

BBC Children in Need’s aim remains to do everything we can to help disadvantaged children and young people across the UK. Over the last few weeks we have paused our normal Small and Main Grants Programmes. This has given us the time to find out more about the emerging needs of the sector, listen to the experiences of children and young people and engage in an ongoing dialogue with other funders.

In these most pressured times, we wanted to make sure that we used and continue to use this information to enable us to adapt as a funder.

We know that during the current COVID-19 crisis, many organisations urgently need certainty about funding for the coming year. Our commitment to those of you who currently have a grant from us is that:

  • your grant payments continue to be made promptly
  • our grant conditions and reporting deadlines are relaxed, where possible and
  • our local teams continue to support you to adapt and respond to the needs of children and young people

But equally, we are aware of the need for additional resources for organisations to adapt to the changes being experienced in your organisation and by the young people you support. While our general Small and Main Grant Programmes will remain paused, we will be launching two new COVID-19 Response Grants. These do not replace or affect any existing funding that you receive from us. Their purpose is to assist you to reach and continue to meet the needs of disadvantaged children and young people, including those young people impacted by hidden risks including poverty and abuse.

We appreciate the crisis is developing rapidly and that accurately predicting how COVID-19 may impact your work will be challenging.  Your organisation may be reviewing its working practices, trying to source equipment and materials, finding new ways of working and adapting to address the current and emerging needs of children and young people. These grants aim to provide you with the funds to respond effectively and flexibly to these changes and continue to meet the needs of children and young people during this time.

The COVID-19 Response Programmes are as follows:

  • The COVID-19 2020 Booster Grants programme will open to current BBC Children in Need grant-holders from Monday 18th May 2020 and will enable organisations to apply for funding up to £5,000 over a 6 month period.
  • The COVID-19 Large Grants programme will open to applications from 8th June 2020 and will enable organisations to apply for funding up to £80,000 over an 18 month period.

More details on both of these funds will be made available on our website.  Please check regularly for updates.


Small Grants – Up to £10,000 per year for up to 3 years

Our Small Grants programme is for charities and not-for-profit organisations applying for any amount up to and including £10,000 per year for up to 3 years. Check the information below to see if your project should apply and that you meet our minimum standards for grantmaking.

We’ve changed the way our Small Grants programme is delivered:

  • You can now apply for up to £10,000 per year for up to 3 years – a total request of £30,000.
  • We have added an eligibility checklist to the form, to help you make sure you are able to apply for our funding.
  • The form has been updated, so please read carefully and follow the guidance provided in the application pages.
  • We will still be calling many applicants to gather additional information, but this call will be shorter.
  • We use our minimum standards for grantmaking to assess whether organisations are eligible. Please read these. If you do not meet these we will be unable to progress your application.

We want to encourage all applicants, whether new or returning to us – to carefully read the new application form and all the guidance within to ensure you submit all the information we need to process your application as quickly and effectively as possible.

Read on to find out more about the Small Grants Programme and how to apply.

If you are looking for more than £10,000 per year please see our Main Grants programme.

We give grants for…

Projects working with children and young people of 18 years and under experiencing disadvantage through:

  1. Illness, distress, abuse or neglect
  2. Any kind of disability
  3. Behavioural or psychological difficulties
  4. Living in poverty or situations of deprivation

Projects we fund make differences in children’s lives that help prevent or overcome the effects of the disadvantages they face. Projects achieve these differences by either working directly with children or seeking to improve their social and physical environments.

In our Small Grants programme we are looking for projects where a relatively small amount of money can make a big difference for children and young people. We are unlikely to fund applications for top up funding for salaries or larger projects where a small grant would only make a marginal impact on their success.

Who can apply?

Not-for-profit organisations of any size that work with disadvantaged children and young people of 18 years and under who live in the UK, the Isle of Man or the Channel Islands.

Information for current grantees

If you currently have a grant for either programme, in the final year of that grant you can apply for further funding to keep running the same project or for a different project. You will need to be able to provide convincing evidence of the differences our grant has made to the lives of the disadvantaged children and young people you have worked with.

We DON’T give grants…

  • For work which statutory bodies (such as schools or local authorities) have a duty to fund
  • To educational institutions including schools, universities, pupil referral units. The only exception is special schools. Please see our A-Z guidance.
  • To local government or NHS bodies.
  • For any building or capital projects.
  • To local government, prisons or NHS bodies.
  • For projects which promote religion.
  • To fund trips or projects abroad.
  • For medical treatment or research.
  • For pregnancy testing or advice, information or counselling on pregnancy choices.
  • For awareness-raising work, except where it is targeted at those children or young people most at risk.
  • For bursaries, sponsored places, fees or equivalent.
  • For family holidays where there is little or no project involvement.
  • For political activity and we can’t give grants to party political organisations or for direct lobbying.
  • To individuals (unless an eligible organisation is applying on their behalf or through our Emergency Essentials Programme).
  • To be passed on to other organisations
  • For general appeals or endowment funds.
  • To help with budget shortfalls or debt repayments.
  • To projects where the grant expenditure is due to start before the grant award date (retrospective funding).
  • To projects unable to start within 12 months of the grant award date.
  • For unspecified expenditure.
  • For organisational overheads or running costs which the organisation would incur whether the project was running or not. (Although we will consider funding support costs incurred as a direct result of running the project).
  • That funds less than 50% of a project. We fund projects where a small amount of money can make a big difference for children and young people. We will not accept applications for projects where the total request is for less than 50% of the total project cost. For example, if your project costs £10,000 per year to run, we will only accept applications seeking funding for £5,000 per year or more. BBC Children in Need seeks to clearly understand the difference that it’s funding makes. We want to know the role that our funding has played. When we make smaller contributions to projects it is harder for us to demonstrate this.
  • To organisations delivering projects that are directly working to support children affected by Child Sexual Exploitation. We will fund this type of work through our Main Grants Programme. For more information please read our A to Z Guidance.

It is very important that you refer to our online A to Z Guidance to make sure you don’t waste time applying for things we don’t fund and that you meet our minimum standards for grantmaking. You will find valuable details on our policies here – some are relevant to every project (for example safeguarding children) and some are important for certain types of project (for example counselling projects or projects seeking funding for equipment).

How to apply

  1. Plan your project carefully. You may find our guide to planning your project useful before you complete your application.
  2. Read our A to Z Guidance to help you only apply for things that we can fund.
  3. Read our minimum standards for grantmaking to help you make sure that your project can be assessed after our initial check.
  4. Use our online application system to complete an application form and submit additional information.
  • All organisations must include a copy of signed accounts from within the last 18 months.
  • Please refer to our FAQs for advice on what other information you might need to provide.

A common reason applications are unsuccessful is because not all the required extra information is included. If you have any questions about what you need to submit please contact us.

We don’t assess applications:

What happens after we submit our Small Grant application?

After you submit your Small Grant application you will receive an email confirming that we have received it. This email will give you more information about what happens next.

We will do a basic check to see if you have submitted all the information we need if your organisation meets our minimum standards for grantmaking and if you have applied for a project which we are able to fund.

We will then assess your application, taking in to consideration all the information you have provided around:

  • Your project and the children you plan to work with.
  • The differences your project aims to make in the lives of those children and young people.
  • The health of your organisation – such as finances, safeguarding and governance.

We may contact you to ask you any additional questions we may have about your application and to find out more about your safeguarding practices, usually by telephone, to help us to better understand your project.

A decision about whether or not to give you a grant will be made in your local region or nation. You will be informed of the decision by email.

What happens next?

If your application is successful you will receive an email informing you of the decision. This email will give you more information on what happens next and the terms and conditions of your grant. There may be some additional conditions on your grant:

  • Changes that need to be made or things you will have to tell us before we can award you the funds.
  • You will have to start spending the money within 12 months of the date of the email informing you of the decision.

You can find more information in the ‘I have a grant’ section.

If your application is unsuccessful, you will receive an email informing you of the decision. This email will give you brief reasons as to why your application was turned down and will indicate when you can next apply. You can also contact us if would like further feedback.

Contact the grants team

If you have a question relating to our Grant programmes, and the solution isn’t in our Grant guidance section, please contact us.

Log in or apply now

Looking to manage an existing Grant or ready to start the Grant application process?

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