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Apply for a Grant - FAQ

Who can apply for a grant?

We fund not-for-profit organisations who work with disadvantaged children and young people aged 18 years and under, living in the UK, the Isle of Man or the Channel Islands.

These include:

  • Registered charities
  • Voluntary organisations with a clear not-for-profit clause in their governing document
  • Schools
  • Churches
  • Community Interest Companies limited by guarantee

We do not fund local government bodies, including councils at all levels. We do not fund any NHS bodies.

We expect all organisations to have met our minimum standards for grantmaking.

If you are still unsure whether your group is able to apply for a grant please check our A to Z Guidance or contact us.

Grants for individual children and young people are available through our Emergency Essentials Programme. This programme provides struggling families with items that meet children’s most basic needs, such as a bed to sleep in, a cooker to give them a hot meal or clothing in a crisis.

As a result of these commitments, we do not accept applications from other organisations to provide general welfare funds to families and individuals unless an exceptional case can be made. For example, we might consider a case from an appropriate organisation seeking to make specialised types of grants (starter packs for young homeless people, for example) or from organisations who specialise in addressing the needs of specific disadvantaged communities.

If support is sought for a specific item to assist a child affected by illness an application must be made by an eligible organisation who must be able to answer any questions we might have about the child and the circumstances of his or her situation.

You can apply for funding from us as long as a significant majority of the children and young people benefiting from the project are aged 18 years and under. This age limit also applies to projects working with disabled young people.

We will only fund the costs associated with working with the young people aged 18 and under.

You can apply for another grant to continue running the same project in the final year of the project. We expect you to provide clear evidence of how your previous project has made a difference to the children and young people. We will also look back at your annual grant reports when assessing your application.

Being in receipt of a current grant offers no guarantee of further funding as each application will be considered on its own merits.

If you are successful, we will not release new grant funds until we are satisfied with the previous grant’s final report. You will need to start spending the new grant within 12 months of the date awarded.

You can’t have two Main Grants at the same time, or two Small Grants at the same time.

If you already have a Main Grant, you can apply for a Small Grant as long as it’s for a different project which targets different children from the one we are already funding. Likewise, if you already have a Small Grant you can apply for a Main Grant for a different project that specifically targets different children.

Emergency Essentials grants are a bit different. These are for individual children and young people. If you have applied for one of these grants on behalf of a child or young person, that doesn’t exclude your organisation from applying to our Main or Small Grants programme.

Yes. You will have to show that:

  • You have the ability to plan and deliver the project
  • The activities or services you intend to run will make a difference to the lives of children and young people.

You should submit a 12 month financial forecast with your application instead of a set of accounts. At a minimum, your forecast should include:

  • Projected income
  • Projected expenditure
  • Some planning/ clarity around income generation

That depends on whether your sister branch is based in the same nation as you.

UK-wide organisations can have one Main Grant and one Small Grant in each of the four nations (England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales).

Within each nation our usual rules apply to local branches of a larger organisation. The charity as a whole can only hold one Main Grant and one Small Grant at a time.

We treat independent branches of national organisations as separate organisations. Independent branches have their own constitution, their own management committee and are fully responsible for their own finances. We can accept applications from each branch.

Yes, we can fund applications from groups working in partnership. A nominated organisation must be the lead organisation and make the application. Our usual rules will apply to that lead organisation. They may only have one Main and one Small Grant at a time, including the grant for the partnership project.

The lead organisation will be legally accountable for:

  • managing the grant and reporting back
  • for project delivery
  • management of any workers funded by the project,
  • ensuring that the project achieves its stated outcomes.

Applications from partnerships are subject to the same guidance as other applications with regard to the status of the applicant body.

What do you give grants for?

We fund a broad range of projects working with disadvantaged children and young people – too many kinds to list here! Please check our A to Z Guidance to see whether we support your type of project.

We support people that understand the needs of disadvantaged children and young people. We expect organisations to place making a difference in their lives at the heart of all activity. We’re looking for projects that:

  • Take the initiative and show clearly how they will make a difference in children and young people’s lives.
  • Address the challenges the children and young people face, build their skills and resilience, empower them and extend their choices in life.
  • Involve children and young people in the design, delivery and evaluation of their work.
  • Are keen to keep learning about their work so that their ability to make a difference in children and young people’s lives can keep on improving.

We expect organisations to:

  • Have diverse sources of income and sound financial management
  • Have a management committee or trustee board of no less than three unrelated people with a good range of experience
  • Meet our minimum standards for grantmaking

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.

Please refer to our online A to Z Guidance to make sure you don’t waste time applying for things we don’t fund. The guidance will give you valuable details on our policies. Some are relevant to every project, for example safeguarding. Some are important for certain types of requests, for example, counselling or equipment.

We define disadvantage as:

  • Illness, distress, abuse or neglect
  • Any kind of disability
  • Behavioural or psychological difficulties
  • Living in poverty or situations of deprivation

When making an application, you need to:

  • Show that a clear majority of children to benefit from a grant are experiencing disadvantage.
  • Tell us about the children and young people your project is working with.
  • Describe how the disadvantages they experience affect their lives.
  • Describe how you reach the disadvantaged children and young people who can benefit most from the project.
  • Tell us how you will target the hardest to reach children and young people.

Our Small Grants Programme is for grants up to and including £10,000 per year to support projects for up to three years. The maximum Small Grant is £30,000. We will not assess your Small Grant application if you ask us for more than £10,000 in any of the years.

Our Main Grants Programme is for grants over £10,000 per year to support projects for up to three years. There is no upper limit for Main Grants but we make very few grants over a total of £120,000 and most grants are for much less. Each year we are asked for much more money than we are able to give. Requests for larger amounts are always more competitive.

We encourage you to apply for what you need to run your project successfully, as long as you can justify the costs involved. It is important to fully research the costs of running your project. It would be a good idea to speak to similar organisations providing similar services to help you to understand what costs are realistic.

Both Small Grants and Main Grants are available for up to three years. Holidays and residential projects can apply for three year funding but they will be required to provide us with annual safeguarding checks.

We will only fund direct project costs. These are costs that relate clearly and directly to a project. These can include salaries, volunteer expenses, building hire costs and travel costs. In many cases project costs also include less delivery-focused aspects such as line management, administration, insurance and utilities.

We will not fund any overheads, sometimes referred to as management costs, to the organisation running the project. These are costs the organisation would be incurring with or without the project in place.

You can apply to us for all or part of the project costs. In both cases, we would like to know:

  • The budget breakdown for the whole project, not just the costs you are asking us to fund.
  • How you intend to fund the rest of the costs.
  • Which other funders you have applied to, if any.
  • If you are waiting to hear a decision from other funders, when you are likely to hear.

Yes, we accept applications for staffing costs as long as the roles are focused on making a difference to the lives of children and young people.

When applying for staffing costs please think about these things:

  • Please ask for the salary you think the post deserves and not what you think we will want to pay. We want to fund posts to succeed and expect the salary to be in line with similar posts across the sector.
  • The costs for all salary posts should be detailed on your application form. If you are not completely sure about the costs, please involve your treasurer to make sure that these are correct.
  • New posts need to be publicly advertised; consider whether you need to include recruitment costs as part of your application.
  • Don't forget to include other costs associated with employing someone. This could include National Insurance and pension contributions.
  • Remember to allow for inflation in your costs.

We recognise the need to engage sessional staff for the purposes of delivering specific forms of project or activity. For example, this could be short term or one-off holiday play schemes. However we believe that, where possible, it is more likely to produce good outcomes for children if organisations offer fixed-term contracts to cover projects.

All main grant applications, which involve an element of staffing costs must provide a:

for each different post requested during the second stage of the main grant application process. This includes sessional staff, tutors, coaches, employees, contractors, freelancers, play workers, artists, therapists

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.

We consider projects that support parents or which offer training in parenting skills as long as they are working with parents as a means of directly improving the lives of children and young people. Very clear evidence of outcomes for children needs to be provided.

We have specific policies for these types of applications. Please see our A to Z Guidance for more detailed information.

When should we apply and what happens next?

We are open to applications all year round, but we have a number of deadline and award dates throughout the year. You can find these dates on our website for Small Grants and for Main Grants. The time of the deadline is always 11:59pm.

If your application is successful you will have to start spending your grant within 12 months of the award date. So it’s important that you don’t apply too early to be able to spend your grant.

We can only accept one application from your organisation for each of our grants programmes at any one time. For example, you can apply for a Main Grant and a Small Grant at the same time but you cannot apply for two Main Grants at the same time.

If successful, you will not be able to apply for another grant from the same grants programme until you are reaching the end of your final year of funding.

If you are unsuccessful in securing funding, details about when you can next apply will be included in the email you receive.

Whether you are applying for more funding for the same project, or for a different project, you can apply up to 12 months before the end of your current grant.

When you are planning your project, keep in mind when you will hear about our final decision. We usually make decisions about five months after the application deadline date for Main Grants and ten weeks after the application deadline date for Small Grants. You can find the deadline and award dates on our website for Small Grants and for Main Grants.

We expect you to provide clear evidence of how your previous project has made a difference to the children and young people. We will also look back at your annual grant reports when assessing your application.

If you are successful, we will not release new grant funds until we receive a completed and satisfactory final report for your previous grant. You will need to start spending the new grant within 12 months of the date awarded.

If you already have a Main Grant you can apply for a Small Grant at any time. Likewise if you already have a Small Grant you can apply for a Main Grant at any time.

That depends on when you need to start your project. Bear in mind that we cannot fund projects that have already started spending before we have awarded a grant. You will need to start spending the new grant within 12 months of the date awarded.

We usually make decisions on Main Grants within about five months of the application deadline date. We usually make decisions about Small Grants within about ten weeks of the application deadline date. Some applicants will hear much earlier if they are not going to get a grant. You can find detailed information on application deadlines and decision dates in the Grants section of our website.

If you have any questions about your application you can contact our dedicated helpdesk on 0345 609 0015 or at pudseygrants@bbc.co.uk.Our helpdesk is open from 9am-5pm Monday to Friday. You can also contact your local regional or national office.

We will do our best to answer any questions you may have but we are unable to help you write your application.

We can’t check applications before they are submitted. Your local CVS or funding advice service may be able to help.

If you have any questions about your application you can contact our dedicated helpdesk on 0345 609 0015 or at pudseygrants@bbc.co.uk. Our help desk is open from 9am-5pm Monday to Friday. You can also contact your local regional or national office.

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.

When the application deadline has passed, we will do a basic check to see if you have submitted all the information we need. We check if your organisation meets our minimum standards for grant making and if you have applied for a project which we are able to fund.

We may then contact you to discuss your organisation’s safeguarding, and/or to clarify anything unclear about your application.

A decision about whether to give you a grant will be made in your local region or nation. We will inform you of the decision by email. You can find detailed information on application deadlines and decision dates in the Grants section of our website.

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

We make a decision in your local region or nation, a couple of weeks after the deadline, about whether to invite you to the next stage. We inform you of the decision by email.

If we invite you to the next stage you will need to complete a full application form. You'll have three weeks to complete a full application. You will need to be available in the month after you submit your full application for a telephone assessment. Your referee will also need to be available during this time to provide a reference.

You can find detailed information on application deadlines and decision dates in the Grants section of our website.

If you are invited to submit a Main Grant Full Application form you will receive an email giving you a link to the form and advising you of the deadline for submitting that form.

After you submit the form you will receive an email confirming that we have received it and giving you more information about what happens next.

We will do a check to see if you have submitted all the information we need and if your organisation is suitable for our funding and meets our minimum standards for grantmaking.

We may contact you to arrange an interview with an independent assessor, usually by telephone. This will help us to better understand your project and your safeguarding practices.

A voluntary committee in your region or nation will consider your application, They will recommend to our trustees whether or not to give you a grant.

Our Board of Trustees will make the final decisions and we will inform you of the decision by email. You can find detailed information on when you can expect to hear a decision in the Grants section of our website. We will also include it in the email confirming that we received your full application.

We want our application processes to be a good experience for all applicants. Having two stages in the Main Grants process means we can tell you much earlier that you are not going to get a grant. This saves you having to fill in a second form, provide additional information and then wait a several months for a decision, only to be disappointed.

We usually make decisions on Main Grants within about five months of the application deadline date. We usually make decisions about Small Grants within about ten weeks of the application deadline date. Some applicants will hear much earlier if they are not going to get a grant.

You can find more detailed information on when you can expect to hear a decision on our Grants pages.

If your application is successful you will receive an email informing you of the decision. That email will give you more information on what happens next.

Attached to the email will be an award letter outlining the terms and conditions of your grant and a Grant Acceptance Form. The Chair and Treasurer of your Trustees (or equivalent governing body) should sign and date your form. Send the form and a scan of your original bank document to pudseygrants@bbc.co.uk.

Please read your award letter carefully as there may be some conditions on your grant. These are changes you have to make or things you have to tell us before we can give 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.

If your application is turned down you will receive an email informing you of the decision. That email will give you some brief reasons why your application was turned down. The email will also tell you when you can next apply.

The email telling you your application has been turned down may give you some brief reasons why your application was unsuccessful or invite you to contact your local team for more feedback. If you would like more feedback, please contact your local national or regional office.

What extra documents do I need to attach to my application form?

Small Grants Programme - What extra documents do we need to send in?

Here is a table detailing the documents required for different organisations

Main Grants Programme - What extra documents do we need to send in?

When you submit your Initial Application Form we do not require any additional documents. If you are invited to our second stage, we require the following documents:

A governing document outlines an organisation's rules, objectives and how they make decisions. This document is often called a constitution. For Community Interest Companies it is called a Memorandum and Articles of Association.

Your governing document should state:

  • The organisation is not for profit, or has a clear clause in its governing document ensuring all income is applied to the organisation’s purposes and are not distributed to members, shareholders or owners.
  • Charitable aims that are suitable for work with children and young people in the UK.
  • Dissolution clause or an asset lock (for CICs) in place stipulating assets are distributed to an organization with similar charitable aims in the instance of closure.

If you are a school or church your governing documents may be different.

Please check our A to Z Guidance for more information about what you should send us.

Your accounts should cover a 12 month period and be signed and dated by your Chair or Treasurer of your Governing Body. Your accounts should be no older than 18 months.

We need different types of accounts from different types of organisation:

A new organisation may only be able to provide a very small document showing projected income and expenditure over 12 months. Your forecast should include at minimum:

  • Projected income
  • Projected expenditure
  • Some planning / clarity around income generation

This is appropriate for a new organisation and shows planning. It should demonstrate how you expect the organisation and the project to grow over the next year.

From an organisation with income less than £25,000 we would expect to receive a document highlighting income and expenditure and any balance sheet items.

From an organisation with income over £25,000 but less than £1 million we would expect to receive accounts that have been reviewed by an appropriately qualified person (this is not deemed an audit). We would expect this to be a slimmed down version, but still similar to the accounts that a large organisation produces. Audited accounts will be needed if total assets (before liabilities) exceed £3.26 million and the organisation's gross income is more than £250,000.

From an organisation with income over £1 million we would expect to receive externally audited accounts. This is likely to be a reasonable-sized document with a detailed Trustee report and notes to accounts.

If your most recent accounts are more than 18 months old you must also provide your most recent set of Management Accounts, showing;

  • income and expenditure over the last 12 months
  • any income brought forward
  • income due to be carried forward.

We look to fund organisations which are financially secure, and therefore a level of reserves of between three and 12 months is normally considered appropriate. If an organisation has more than 12 months reserves, we may consider that an organisation has sufficient funds to deliver the project themselves. If your organisation has less than three months’ reserves, we may ask you for more information. We may want to know about your organisation’s financial stability and why your organisation has chosen or has found itself with low reserves.

However, we have a space on our application form for an organisation to explain any irregularities. This could include high free reserves, if for example an organisation is building up reserves prior to a planned expansion. Please use the application form to give us any further information regarding your finances.

We prefer to receive electronic versions of documents as it saves us a lot of time and money that could be better spent making grants!

If you are having trouble attaching your documents to the online form you can email them to us at pudseygrants@bbc.co.uk. Please make sure you include your organisation’s name so that we can match your documents with your application form.

If you are still unable to send us electronic versions of your extra documents please contact our helpdesk on 0345 609 0015 or email pudseygrants@bbc.co.uk.

If you are applying for a Small Grant we won’t need any extra documents relating to your staffing costs.

If you are applying for a Main Grant we will need extra information from you if you are applying for any wages, fees or salaries for people working on your project. This includes money paid to employees, contractors, freelancers, sessional workers, tutors, play workers, artists, therapists, coaches etc.

For each person whose staffing costs you are applying for you must send us:

If you are applying for staffing costs for a Volunteer Co-ordinator you may be asked to send us role descriptions for the volunteers.

Small Grants applicants do not need to provide any salary documents if applying for staffing costs.

If you are applying for any staffing costs as part of a Main Grant you will need to send a:

for each different person you are applying for.

This includes anyone who you will be paying to deliver part of your project or to carry out tasks as part of your application. This could include sessional staff, tutors, coaches, employees, contractors, freelancers, play workers, artists and therapists.

You should make sure that your job description (example) includes:

  • The title of the position you are applying for
  • Main purpose and scope of the job. (Please provide a brief couple of sentences summarising the purpose of the job and an outline of what you want the role to achieve)
  • Duties and key responsibilities (please provide a breakdown of tasks under the main areas of work)
  • Who in your organisation will manage this role?
  • Will the person in the role be managing anyone?
  • Will the person in the role be responsible for the BBC Children in Need budget?

Remember that the documents should reflect the size and scope of the role being applied for.

Here is an example of the information you should include in a job description, and a possible layout.

You should make sure that your person specification (example) outlines the criteria the post holder will need to fulfil. You may wish to describe these under the following headings:

  • Skills and abilities
  • Experience
  • Knowledge

Here is an example of the information you should include in a person specification, and a possible layout.

We require a Work Plan (example) for all posts, both new and existing. It should detail the activities and planned achievements for the first year of funding. Your work plan should bring your job description and person specification to life.

Use it to tell us what the person you are (or will be) employing is going to spend their time doing over the year.

Your plan needs to show us:

  • The activities the post holder will be doing and when they will be doing them over the year
  • Key training and personal development for the post holder
  • The key achievements as they progress through the year

You can write the work plan in a variety of ways. It should be in a format that best suits your organisation and is helpful to your planning.

Please ensure that, whichever format you use, you show the activities clearly as a plan over the course of the year.

Here is an example of the information you should include in a work plan, and a possible layout.

Please make sure the detail in the work plan is appropriate for the post you are applying for. For example, a part-time post working a few hours a week will usually require a less detailed work plan than a full-time post.

We prefer it if you don’t send us more information than we have asked for when you are applying for a grant. This helps us to process more quickly the very high number of applications that we receive.

Help! I’m having trouble with the online application system

If you have any special requirements relating to our grant application form and guidelines, please contact our helpdesk on 0345 609 0015 or email pudseygrants@bbc.co.uk

No, for a number of years now we have only accepted applications online. This allows us to process the very high numbers of applications that we get as quickly and efficiently as possible.

If you are having technical problems with your application form, please contact our helpdesk on 0345 609 0015 or at pudseygrants@bbc.co.uk Our help desk is open from 9am-5pm Monday to Friday. You can also contact your local regional or national office.

  1. Save an electronic version of your documents to your computer somewhere you can easily find.
  2. Choose the name of the relevant document in the drop-down box (e.g. job description)
  3. Click 'Browse' to look through the folders on your computer, and select the file from where it is saved
  4. Once you select the file, click on 'OK'
  5. The file path (this is the name of the document and the folder it is kept in) will appear in the box below. Click 'Upload' and the document will start to attach
  6. When uploaded, the online form will list your document as an attachment at the bottom of the attachments page.
  7. Repeat this for all the documents
  8. Click on 'SUBMIT'

If you are having any technical problems with your application form, please contact the helpdesk on 0345 609 0015 or email pudseygrants@bbc.co.uk Our helpdesk is open 9am-5pm Monday to Friday.

We can support you to complete an application, please contact the Helpdesk on 0345 609 0015, which is open from 9am-5pm Monday to Friday, or you can email pudseygrants@bbc.co.uk

You will only be able to submit your application form if you have answered all the questions and attached the documents we need.

Some of the questions have word limits. Others have specific instructions on how to answer (for example when you have to give number answers you should not use any punctuation). If you haven't followed these instructions red arrows will appear when you try to submit your application to show you where the problems are. Once you have addressed these problems click on the update button at the bottom of the screen and you should be able to submit your application.

If you are still having problems please call the helpdesk on 0345 609 0015 which is open from 9am-5pm Monday to Friday, or you can email pudseygrants@bbc.co.uk

To correct this problem you need to click on the 'update' button which should then clear the arrows. If you continue to have problems please call the BBC Children in Need helpdesk on 0345 609 0015 or email pudseygrants@bbc.co.uk.

This question counts characters rather than words. Each individual letter, space and item of punctuation will count towards your 255 character limit. Therefore you probably have too many letters in your answer. If you continue to have problems please call the BBC Children in Need helpdesk on 0345 609 0015 or email pudseygrants@bbc.co.uk