Grants & funding

Grants & funding

Here you will find information on grants and funding for individuals, organisations and businesses in Northumberland.

Grants & funding

This page will tell you about funding opportunities available through Northumberland County Council.

Funding eBulletin
The Corporate Programmes and External Funding team produce a regular Funding 'e'Bulletin that is distributed by email to NCC staff, external organisations, individuals and businesses. This 'e'Bulletin includes various live funding opportunities available from national and local charities, trusts, government and other sources. There is a brief description of the funding opportunity and an active web link to take you directly to the funder’s website.

You can access the latest, and other recent editions below:

Latest Funding eBulletin:

Previous issues:

To be added to the distribution list, please email: or telephone 01670 623888.

For NCC staff whose function involves searching for funding to support or develop Council services, we can provide you with a free licence to access the full range of Grantfinder services which is distributed by the Idox group and is Europe’s leading provider of up-to-date grant and policy information.

Licences are restricted by number and service, so if your service already has a licence you may have to arrange to share. To enquire about a licence please email:    

Links to potential funders and other support
If you’re a community group, business or funder and you wish to promote a funding opportunity or related funding activity, please email:

Note: the editor’s decision on what is considered appropriate is final.

The information contained in these webpages is meant as a general guide only. It has been prepared from information provided by third parties and NCC accepts no responsibility for any actions taken or not taken in reliance on or in connection with this information.

Where reference or links (which may not be active links) are made to external publications or websites, the views expressed are those of the authors of those publications or websites, which are not necessarily those of NCC. NCC accepts no responsibility for the contents or accuracy of those publications or websites.
Supporting businesses
Arch, the development company for Northumberland, is responsible for the council’s business development activities. This includes being responsible for inward investment, strategic account management and the commissioning of a range of business support initiatives.

Its mission is to:
  • attract private sector investment in business and property
  • promote enterprise and support business growth
  • support the regeneration of disadvantaged places and neighbourhoods
  • help create prosperous, attractive, sustainable communities throughout Northumberland
For further information, please go to Arch's website.

Tel: 01670 528400
Arch corporate strategy

Arch Corporate Strategy 2012 - 2015

Arch Business Plan
Contracts Finder
Contracts Finder lets you search for information about contracts with the government and its agencies which are worth more than £10,000.
TED (Tenders Electronic Daily)
TED provides free access to business opportunities and is updated five times a week with approximately 1,500 public procurement notices. These are from the European Union, the European economic area and beyond.

You can browse, search and sort procurement notices by country, region and business sector. For further information, visit TED's website. 

Community Ownership & Management of Assets programme (COMA)
COMA supports partnerships between local public bodies and community groups to develop multiple asset transfers or a single ground-breaking asset projects. Direct support and certain grants will be available for up to 50 partnership areas through COMA in 2015/16.

The programme will focus on tackling things like deprivation, management of green space, abandoned buildings and underused land. Partnership areas with a clear commitment to partnership working are invited to apply.

Grants of up to £10,000 per organisation will be available. It is expected that the 50 places will be filled within eight weeks of the scheme opening.
Shire Leasing
Leasing and asset finance from Shire Leasing are alternative sources of finance for small to medium enterprises.

It allows them to invest in assets or equipment for growth, including communication equipment and catering equipment, and has even supported the purchase of livestock and small wind turbines.

The average lease size is £6,000 and the average agreement term is four years.
North East micro-loan fund
Rivers Capital Partners manage a micro-loan fund from the finance for business North East programme. It’s designed to support small businesses looking for funding to expand operations and start-ups.

There is just over £2m to invest in loans up until the end of 2015. The fund works exclusively with struggling businesses to secure mainstream finance, stimulating the creation of new business and securing jobs.

They can offer:
  • loans between £1,000 and £25,000
  • credit for those with a bad credit history
  • fast solutions - on average it takes two weeks to receive funds
  • competitive interest rates
  • no hidden fees
  • simple and hassle-free application process
To speak to the investment team, please call 0191 230 6270 or 01642 903 902. Alternatively, email: Rivers Capital Partners Ltd is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA no: 519469).
North East Access to Finance (NEA2F)
North East Access to Finance is responsible for several ‘legacy’ funds, which have now realised most of their investments. However they hope to have over £25m available in the near future to support SMEs across our Local Enterprise Partnership areas.

NEA2F help businesses in the region to access finance. They do this in two ways. The first is acting as a signpost to direct businesses to sources of finance and support them in this. The second is working to develop new sources of public investment funding that will become available to the region’s small to medium enterprises.

Historical funds which have contributed to this legacy include:
North East Investment Funds 3, 3b and 3c: These mezzanine funds generated £9.5m legacy.
NEL Growth Fund: This seed capital fund invested in 25 SMEs. Anticipated legacy over £2m.
Three Pillars Fund/ Design & Creative/ Creative Content Funds: A range of pilot funds investing in hi-tech growth businesses, the creative/digital/film sectors.
Proof of Concept and Co-Investment Funds: Helped early stage businesses to prove their viability and invested in hi-tech SMEs. Legacy is over £10m with more to be realised.

To be redirected to their website

The business support finder
Enhanced capital allowance scheme for energy-saving technologies
This scheme, based around energy-saving technology, encourages businesses to invest in energy-saving plant or machinery specified on the energy technology list, which is managed by the Carbon Trust.

The scheme allows businesses to write off the whole cost of the equipment against taxable profits in the year of purchase.

EU funding

This page gives details of European funding currently available.

European Structural and Investment Funds (ESIF) 2014 – 2020
ESIF is the EU’s main funding programme supporting investment in innovation, businesses, skills and employment.

There are three types of funds:
  • European Social Fund (ESF) focuses on improving the employment opportunities, promoting social inclusion and investing in skills by providing help people need to fulfil their potential.
  • European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) supports research and innovation, small to medium sized enterprises and creation of a low carbon economy.
  • European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development (EAFRD) supports rural businesses to grow and expand, improve knowledge and skills and get started.
The following documents provide information about the funds:

ESF Operational Programme for England 2014 to 2020
ERDF Operational Programme for England 2014 to 2020
EAFRD Operational Programme for England 2014 to 2020

The following guidance explains who is eligible to apply for funding. Northumberland County Council, as part of the North East Technical Assistance Project (part funded through the 2014 to 2020  ESIF Programme), is able to provide support to help you apply for ERDF and ESF.
Key contacts:
Heather Smith                     Corporate Programmes & Funding Manager
                                                Tel. 01670 623883

Carol Johns-McLeod          Senior Project Officer (ERDF)
                                                Tel. 01670 623875

Elaine Maylin                        Senior Project Officer (ESF)
                                                Tel. 01670 623876


Latest funding opportunities

The following are just a few examples of the latest opportunities, there are many more in our eBulletin.

Funding for business
North East Business Support Fund
The North East Business Support Fund is managed by NBSL, a North East Enterprise Agency that works to assist pre-start, new and existing businesses by providing information, advice and support on running and developing a business.

The fund offers:
  • up to 35% support, to a maximum of £2,800 (total project costs between £3,000 and £8,000)
  • assistance in finding the right provider
  • links to other complementary funding in the North East
To be eligible, organisations must:
  • be a registered private sector business or social enterprise based in Northumberland, Tyne and Wear or County Durham
  • have already commenced trading
  • be planning to increase turnover or number of employees
For further information and guidelines, click here.

Business start-up loans
Start your business venture with start-up loans with added support, advice and finance for young entrepreneurs in the North East and Cumbria. The start-up loans initiative is a new, government-backed loan fund for people aged 18-30 who want to start a business.

When you apply for a start-up loan you don't just get financial help, you also get support and advice as you embark on your journey, helping turn your great idea into a successful and sustainable business.

Start-up loans are provided by a network of delivery partners across the country. For the North East and Cumbria, that partner is PNE, supported by Virgin Money and Virgin Unite.

Click here for more information or visit their Facebook.
Shell Live Wire
Shell Live Wire has up to four £1,000 grand ideas awards to give away each month to new businesses in the UK in their first 12 months of trading. Applicants and all business partners must be aged 16 to 30.

For further information, click here.
Let's grow
Business and Enterprise Commercial Limited has been awarded £30m from the Regional Growth Fund by the Department of Business, Innovation and Skills to provide grant support to North East businesses.

The fund will focus on manufacturing and service sector businesses which offer more than a local service and will support:
  • capital investment
  • research and development
  • training costs (as part of an investment project)
Individual grants will be between £50,000 and £1m (appraisal and acceptance fees apply) and will depend on location, state aid, company size and type of activity. The fund will run as a quarterly competition with closing dates for applications to be published in the Journal and Evening Gazette.

To apply online, click here.

The Rural Growth Network (RGN) Funds 

There are two capital grants available to support businesses within the Rural Growth Network (RGN) area covering rural Durham, Gateshead and Northumberland. These are the:-
Rural Business Growth Fund (RBGF)
  • Support for SME business capital investment projects;
  • Rural growth projects that expand productive capacity or enable diversification into new markets or products
  • Priority sectors - manufacturing, knowledge intensive businesses, renewable energy, environment, food and drink and niche tourism.
Please note accommodation projects are NOT eligible to apply through this grant scheme.
Strategic Economic Infrastructure Fund (SEIF)
  • Development of rural enterprise hubs or multiple enterprise units to accommodate a number of businesses within priority locations;
  • Infrastructure works to unlock employment development sites where an end user is in place; or
  • Tourism assets of a strategic nature that will transform the quality and added value of the rural tourism economy (i.e. significant projects identified as strategic priorities within the relevant area Destination Management Plan and/or strategic economic development plans).
Please see the Project Call Guidance documents to check the eligibility of your proposal and read these carefully, if you consider your project to be eligible and would like an application form to apply or you require further clarification please contact the following:
RBGF - Katy McIntosh, RGN Implementation Officer on 01670 528 489  or email:
SEIF - Julie Bullen, RGN Implementation Officer: on 01670 528476 or email: 
Further information on the RGN programme can be found by following the link below:-
Funding - charities and lotteries
The fresh ideas fund
Northern Rock Foundation has announced that one of its legacy programmes is to run in partnership with the Northstar Foundation and the Community Foundation Tyne and Wear and Northumberland.

The fresh ideas fund is looking for ideas that will help applicants grow, explore new ways of generating income and achieve greater impact. They may have plans to develop new social enterprises, spread their work into their neighbouring town or work with completely new clients. They may also want to take on a new asset or build a partnership with a like-minded charity.

With this support they’ll be able to take their ideas to the next stage. The fund will provide organisations with grants of up to £50,000 to establish whether their ideas are feasible, pay for expert advice and to cover start-up costs. The aim is to help them to produce the evidence they need to secure the support and investment to make their ideas happen.

Successful applicants will receive expert help and guidance from Northstar Ventures to ensure their proposals are tested thoroughly.

To be redirected to the funder’s website, click here.

Triangle Trust 1949 fund - development grants
The Triangle Trust provides development grants for specialist community and voluntary organisations working with carers or the rehabilitation of offenders/ ex-offenders within the UK.

The emphasis of the grant is to support the development of a solid foundation for the future. A grant could, for example, be used to enable an organisation to make a step change, such as diversifying its income streams or setting up a social enterprise, to help it become more sustainable.

Grants are available for up to £40,000 or 50% of the organisation’s current annual income, whichever is lowest, per year for three years. Applicants must be a registered charity, not-for-profit social enterprise or community interest company working within the UK.

For further information click here.

In Kind Direct Charity
Exclusively for charities, social enterprises, non-profit organisations and community groups.
Join In Kind Direct for FREE today to save money on all of your organisation’s everyday essentials.
In Kind Direct, a registered charity, delivers high-quality goods from retailers and manufacturers right to your organisation’s doorstep. For just a small handling charge you can get your hands on a whole range of goods from iPads to cleaning products to clothing and footwear to cookware and much more. You’re sure to find whatever your organisation needs via their online catalogue.
Find out more today at or give them a call on 0300 30 20 200.
(Service is only for registered charities, not-for-profit organisations, social enterprises and community groups. Terms and conditions apply.)

Lloyds Bank Foundation - Transform Fund Opens
Charities or Charitable Incorporated Organisations registered with the Charity Commission for England and Wales can apply as long as their annual income is between £25,000 and £2 million; their core work is focused on domestic or sexual abuse; and they have a proven track record of expertise in in domestic and sexual abuse.

The Foundation expects to award grants of up to £100,000 to up to 10 charities. The activity can be funded for up to two years, starting from the date at which the grant is made.

To be eligible, proects need to meet Transform's objectives through one or a combination of:

  • Influencing policy and practice at either a local, national or regional level.
  • Building the evidence base around needs and identification of effective interventions.
  • Developing and sharing models that help and support small and medium-sized specialist providers.
  • Developing and supporting effective partnerships within and across sectors.
  • Be focused on a distinct project/activity/change that can be delivered over one/two years.
  • Have identified a demonstrable need with a clear set of objectives built upon meeting this need.
  • Demonstrate how they will achieve the objectives set.
  • Have a framework in place for monitoring progress against the objectives. 
  • Be able to start quickly after being awarded funded, and certainly by April 2017, so that it could be completed within the two year funding period.

There is particular interest in proposals presenting innovative ways for small and specialist services to make greater impact. Projects will be prioritised which show the greatest potential in sharing learning and have a clear plan to achieve it.

The funding can be used for all costs related to the proposed project to be covered. This includes but is not limited to:

  • Staff costs.
  • Activity costs.
  • Materials costs.
  • Evaluation costs.

For further information click here


Funding for coastal communities
Coastal communities fund
In his budget statement, the chancellor announced that the coastal communities fund has been extended for another five years. The aim of the fund is to invest in projects that stimulate the economies of seaside towns and to create jobs.

The coastal communities fund, which was launched in 2012, will make a further £90m in funding available until 2020/2021. Seaside towns across the UK will be able to bid for a share of the funding. To date, almost £119m in funding has been distributed. 

The funding prospectus can be found here.
Funding for the disabled, disadvantaged or deprived
Wolfson foundation - disability and special needs grants
Grants of between £15,000 and £100,000 are available to special schools and colleges, as well as charities that work with people with particular health needs or disabilities.

Grants can fund:
  • new buildings
  • major refurbishment work
  • equipment
  • vehicles
For further information, click here.

Greggs foundation - the major grants programme
The major grants programme helps organisations in Northumberland, Tyne and Wear, Durham and Teesside to support core running costs. Grants of up to £15,000 per year for up to three years can be made to charities that most closely meet the criteria.

The programme usually supports organisations that work in the most disadvantaged neighbourhoods in the North East or organisations that support otherwise disadvantaged people, particularly those that support:
  • people with disabilities
  • homeless people
  • voluntary carers
  • older and isolated people
Before you apply, please contact our grants manager, David Carnaffan, on 0191 2127813. He will help to make sure your application is eligible before submitting it for consideration.

For further information, click here.

Funding for the environment and health
The Prince's Countryside Fund
The Fund has grants of up to £50,000 available for innovative projects that will provide a lasting legacy to the individuals and communities they seek to benefit. The Fund recognises that rural communities face a range of challenges.

The Fund seeks applications to support activity that results in a long-term positive impact on rural communities by helping the people that live and work in the countryside. The grant programme currently aims to tackle the following key rural issues:
  1. Developing thriving rural communities by improving service provision in rural areas.
  2. Transforming rural livelihoods by supporting rural enterprise and farming businesses.
  3. Creating the farmers of the future by providing training opportunities for young people and unemployed people.

For further information click here

Woodland creation planning grant (WCPG)
WCPG contributes towards the costs of gathering and analysing the information land managers need to consider to ensure their proposals for productive multi-purpose woodland take account of any impacts on: biodiversity, landscape, water, the historic environment and local stakeholders.

Proposals need to meet some basic criteria, being at least 30 hectares in area and showing potential to benefit the forestry sector in the long-term through the provision of timber or other wood products. Applications will be accepted that span multiple land holdings.

Existing native, semi-natural habitats are likely to have a high value for biodiversity, and for landscape and visual interest. This will need to be compared with the value of new woodland. Moreover there is a specific presumption against the conversion of priority habitats, such as deep peat or active raised bogs. Where the proposed planting is on semi-natural habitat the presumption is that the planting will be restricted to native broadleaved species or it will be retained as open ground adding to the forest mosaic.

For further information click here

Landscape partnerships
The programme is for schemes led by partnerships of local, regional and national interests which aim to conserve areas of distinctive landscape character. You can apply for a grant from £100,000 up to £3m.

Parks for people
For projects related to historic parks and cemeteries in the UK. You can apply for a grant between £100,000 and £5m.

For further information on the new strategic framework, these and other HLF targeted programmes, click here.

People's Health Trust
The active communities funding programme aims to close the gap between those communities who experience the worst health in England, Scotland and Wales and the majority of the population.

It seeks to support local people to use their skills and knowledge to make their communities better places in which to grow up, live and work.

Projects will be supported where local people can:

  • shape activities and/or services in their neighbourhoods
  • feel that they have closer social links and ties with others
  • feel that they are making a positive difference to their community or neighbourhood
The People's Health Trust is looking to support projects that encourage community activism - projects designed by local people that address issues relevant to them and benefit their community.

They’re keen to support projects that bring communities together, foster a sense of belonging and encourage people to be involved in activities and services in their neighbourhoods.

For further information, click here or email: or call 0207 6974021.
Historical or heritage funding
Heritage Lottery Funding (HLF)
Sharing heritage

Grants of £3,000 to £10,000 are available to support any not-for-profit group wanting to explore, share and celebrate their community's heritage. Supportable activities include events, exhibitions, festivals, celebrations or producing local history publications.

Our heritage
Grants of £10,000 to £100,000 are available to support all types of heritage projects, for example smaller parks and green spaces, as well as activity projects exploring language cultures and memories.

Heritage grants
Grants of £100,000 to £5m are available for all types of heritage projects.

Heritage enterprise
The heritage enterprise programme aims to support community organisations to stimulate economic growth by rescuing neglected historic buildings and sites and returning them to use.

Grants of between £100,000 and £5 million are available and applicants must make a contribution to the project, which will include the cash value of the asset once the conservation deficit has been calculated.

Projects are expected to create sufficient revenue to provide a reasonable return and enough income for the ongoing and future maintenance and repair of the building.

Other HLF funding programmes include:
  • Young roots
  • First world war: then and now
  • Skills for the future
  • Resilient heritage
  • Heritage endowments
  • Townscape heritage
  • Parks for people
  • Landscape partners
  • Grants for places of worship
For further information click here

Great Place Pilot Scheme Opens for England
The scheme will invest in 12 places across England, including four rural areas, to achieve the following:
  • Build on existing strengths within the local arts, culture and heritage sectors in order to maximise their positive cultural, social and economic contribution.
  • Build new partnerships to realise this contribution and lever resources into the sector to support that.
  • Develop these partnerships so that the contribution of the sector is recognised in and supported by long term plans and strategies for the area – for instance, the Joint Health and Wellbeing Strategy, the Local Enterprise Partnership’s Strategic Economic Plan, or destination management plans.
Grants of between £500,000 and £1.5 million are available for activity to be delivered over a period of up to three years. Match funding of at least 10% is required. Applications must come from partnerships led by a not-for-profit organisation.

Partnerships include but are not limited to:

   - Arts organisations
   - Museums and libraries
   - Historic environment and natural heritage organisations
   - Community and voluntary groups
   - Social enterprises
   - Commercial businesses
   - Unitary, upper and lower tier local authorities
   - A combined authority with a devolved powers agreement
   - Parish councils
   - Local Enterprise Partnerships
   - Destination organisations
   - Further and higher education institutions
   - Public Health and Wellbeing Boards
   - Clinical Commissioning Groups and other NHS bodies
   - Other national strategic agencies
   - Other public sector organisations

The funding is for a range of activities that take place between 1 April 2017 and 31 March 2020 in the 12 pilot areas.

For further information click here

Funding for housing
Isos My Community fund
Isos Housing wants to improve the wellbeing and quality of life of residents who live in areas where they have development, and make them more desirable places to live.

Helping the communities to become strong and sustainable is one of our top priorities. The fund can award grants from £50-£10,000 and covers seven community investment strategy themes:
  • setting up a new, or supporting an existing, social enterprise
  • tackling unemployment and under-employment
  • young people
  • community health provision
  • rural transport
  • digital exclusion
  • fuel poverty
Further information can be found in the attached applicant's guidance pack and application form or by contacting:

Sara Parker-Clark
Funding for young people
Northumberland Children’s Trust
Northumberland Children’s Trust is a registered charity which provides grant funding in furtherance of the education and training of children and young persons (up to age 21) in the Northumberland, Tyneside and Newcastle areas
Grants in the main are made to organisations whose activities broadly support the general education and training of children and young persons. Applications from individuals will, however, also be considered where appropriate
The Trust has a general discretion to award monies in accordance with its overall objects but will look to support funding applications where a lasting benefit will be provided to children and young persons in the relevant geographic area such as the purchase of sporting and recreational equipment, improvement works to physical assets as well as the medium term funding of the salary costs of community and youth workers 
For further information and to obtain an application form please contact

Funding for Schools
PE and sport premium conditions of grant 2016 to 2017: local authorities and maintained schools
The primary PE and sport premium 2016 to 2017 will be paid by the Secretary of State for Education to the local authority. The authority will then distribute the premium to maintained schools in its area as stated in Section 14 of the Education Act 2002. In accordance with Section 16 of that Act, the Secretary of State lays down the following terms and conditions on which financial assistance is given in relation to the premium payable for the academic year 2016 to 2017.

The premium must be used to fund additional and sustainable improvements to the provision of PE and sport, for the benefit of primary-aged pupils, to encourage the development of healthy, active lifestyles.

Allocations for the academic year 2016 to 2017 are calculated using the number of pupils in years 1 to 6, as recorded in the January 2016 census, as follows:

  • schools with 17 or more pupils receive £8,000 plus £5 per pupil
  • schools with 16 or fewer pupils receive £500 per pupil

Where a schools’ pupils are not recorded by year group, pupils aged 5 to 10 are deemed eligible.

For further information click here

The Children's Health Fund
The Children's Health Fund is inviting not for profit organisations such as schools, community groups, charities, church groups, housing associations and local authorities, etc that want to provide good food as part of holiday learning, play and activity programmes to apply for funding between £1,000 and £5,000. The Children's Health Fund expect funding applications at the higher end of the scale (£5,000) will be for more strategic bids. The number of applications accepted for this round of funding is limited to 150 to ensure every application receives sufficient attention. The Board will meet in November to decide which applications will receive funding. Funding awards will be announced in December. The fund will close once 150 applications have been submitted.

For further information click here

The Ernst Cook Trust (ECT) Grants Programme

As well as offering a wide-ranging programme of land-based learning for children and young people, the Ernest Cook Trust gives grants to registered charities, schools and not-for-profit organisations wishing to encourage young people’s interest either in the countryside and the environment, the arts, or in science, or aiming to raise levels of literacy and numeracy.

Since the ECT is a land-based Trust, work which encourages or ensures the continuation of rural skills and crafts is of particular interest to the Trustees. All applications are expected to link in with either the National Curriculum or with recognised qualifications.

Each year the ECT Trustees give around £1.8 million to support hundreds of educational projects throughout the UK. Click here to download a list showing a selection of recent grant recipients.

A large grants programme for awards of over £4,000 and a small grants programme for awards of under £4,000 operate throughout the year.

For further information click here


Northumberland grants portal

This page talks about funding news and searches. The service is free to individuals, community groups and businesses in Northumberland, but you need to register to view them.

Northumberland County 4 Community
GRANTfinder and Northumberland County 4 Community is a user-friendly, accurate and UK wide professional funding tool which has helped users to secure millions of pounds’ worth of support. It is an online, step-by-step process which enables you to identify and select funding schemes and awards that are appropriate to your project:
  • A convenient one-stop-shop of funding information.
  • Information source provided on over 8,000 funding schemes including grants, loans and awards from local, regional and national UK government, European funding, charitable trusts and corporate sponsors.
  • Content ranging from modest community funds at one end of the spectrum to major, multi-level European initiatives at the other.
  • Authoritative reference library of articles on topical funding issues (full subscription only).
  • Newsflash service sending approaching deadlines, news of launched funds and policy decisions direct to your inbox (full subscription only).
  • Information is presented jargon-free and in plain English.
  • Interactive Update Bulletin sent weekly and categorised by subject, keeping you up-to-date on areas of interest to you (full subscription only).
The site also contains access to useful self-help guides, including:
  • 10 steps to writing a constitution
  • a beginner’s guide to regeneration terminology
  • writing a fundraising strategy
  • writing a successful business plan
  • how to write a winning financial plan
You can access GRANTfinder by registering some basic details; Northumberland County Council hosts this service and pays a licence fee, but partners and community users can access the funding search service free of charge using the Council licence.

To register click here: GRANTnet webpage - Northumberland County 4 Community

Other free funding search websites and portals:
Grants Online Local Funding for Northumberland

For further information on Northumberland grants and funding searches, or if you wish to receive our funding bulletin by email, please contact:

David Baird
Tel: 01670 623888
You can view the latest funding eBulletin by following this link: Northumberland Funding eBulletin.
Northumberland Knowledge
If you are involved in writing funding applications, the Northumberland County Council InfoNet website can provide informative research and statistics. Relevant documents


Funding policy & strategy news

The latest information on funding policies and strategies.

Government to review Social Value Act
The government has announced that Lord Young will lead a review of the Social Value Act. It requires commissioners to consider the economic, environmental and social benefits of their approaches to procurement before the process begins.

The act currently applies only to service contracts above the EU threshold at the pre-procurement stage. The review will help decide:
  • if the act should be extended, for example to cover contracts for goods and works as well as services
  • how the act might be extended in a way that continues to support small businesses and voluntary, charity and social enterprises to bid for public contracts 
Government publishes response to Lord Heseltine’s report
In his report No Stone Unturned, Lord Heseltine made 89 wide ranging recommendations to the government across areas of public policy that affect economic growth.

In response, the government has accepted 81 of these recommendations. The aim is to reverse excessive centralisation, freeing local areas from Whitehall control and giving businesses and local leadership power and funding.

The government will:
  • create a new single local growth fund from 2015 that will reduce the key economic levers of skills, housing and transport funding
  • harness the power of competition to get the best from places, negotiating a local growth deal with every local enterprise partnership, with the fund reflecting the quality of ideas and local need 
Community-led local development
Community-led local development is a tool for involving citizens at a local level in developing responses to social, environmental and economic challenges.

The approach requires time and effort but for relatively small financial investments it can have a marked impact on people’s lives.
  CLLD draft guidance 300113.pdf 610 KB (.pdf)
The government’s mid-term review
The reform proposals set out in the mid-term review includes:
  • further investment in infrastructure, house building and economic growth
  • the introduction of a consumer bill of rights
  • the implementation of the new universal credit
  • the introduction of advanced learning loans
  • supporting more parents, community groups, charities and others wanting to set up new schools
  • ensuring all two-year-olds from low income households can access 15 hours per week of early education
  • reforms to the state pension system reflecting changes in life expectancy
For further information, click this link.
The Localism Act - new community rights for England
The Localism Act could bring about significant change in national life, empowering individuals, communities and councils at grassroots level, creating space for local authorities to lead and innovate and giving local people the opportunity to take control of decisions that matter.

The act sets out five key measures which will give new powers to town and parish councils to take on more responsibility, run local services and preserve community assets.

Measure one - community rights
Community rights are intended to ensure community organisations have a chance to bid to take over services, land and buildings important to them.

The community right to build enables parish councils and community organisations to develop their plans for community developments such as building houses, shops, businesses or community facilities.

It also enables voluntary and community organisations to purchase assets from the register of "assets of community value" if they’re put up for sale.

Measure two - neighbourhood planning
Local groups, through a parish or town council or neighbourhood forum, can draw up a neighbourhood plan. These can be used to grant or outline planning consents in areas where residents think that new houses, businesses and shops should be built.

Measure three - housing
The act empowers local people to take more decisions about social housing.

Measure four - general power of competence
The act is intended to give town and parish councils power of competence to carry out lawful activities, undertake lawful works, operate lawful businesses and enter into lawful transactions.

Measure five - empowering cities and other local areas
The act enables major cities and local authorities to develop their areas, improve local services and increase competitiveness and local economic growth.
The growth and infrastructure bill
The growth and infrastructure bill will help the country compete on the global stage by setting out a series of practical reforms to reduce confusing and overlapping red tape that delays and discourages business investment, new infrastructure and job creation.

The measures include:
  • unlocking thousands of new jobs and billions of new investment in energy projects and releasing £160 million in new gas infrastructure
  • creating a new optional ‘employee-owner’ status for companies to offer, giving workers a financial stake in their firm’s growth and success through tax-free shares
  • preventing unexpected hikes in business rates on local firms during the next five years
  • getting building going on stalled housing sites, by allowing the reconsideration of economically unviable Section 106 agreements. This could release some of the 75,000 affordable and private homes that are currently stalled.
  • helping remove red tape hindering superfast broadband being rolled out to local homes and businesses, especially in rural Britain
  • cutting back the volume of paperwork which applicants have to submit with a planning application
  • stopping misuse of town and village green applications to undermine planned development, while protecting its use to safeguard cherished community spaces and ensure the protection of genuine town and village greens
  • implementing the recommendations from the Penfold Review to remove other overlapping development consent regimes, where multiple permissions from different government agencies are required on top of planning permission
  • speeding up the planning system for large-scale business and commercial projects (existing requirements to consult local communities are retained)

Northumberland Portas pilots

In 2011, Mary Portas was asked by the government to carry out a review of the problems faced by high streets and town centres.

The Portas Review was published in 2011, with recommendations of how to ‘kick start our high streets.’ In April 2012, local government minister Grant Shapps announced a £1.2 million high street innovation fund for 12 areas, with each area receiving funding of £100,000.

Round one
Newbiggin town team became one of the first 12 Portas pilots in May 2012. The team received £94,300 of Portas money, which was matched by £100,000 from the council.

With further funding secured from Newbiggin Town Council, Rio-Tinto and the Arts Council, the team has more than doubled the project budget to £248,300.

As well as funding, the team received packages of support from national government and local authorities.

The team’s tier one group have approved and delivered various activities including:
  • marketing and branding initiatives
  • festivals and events
  • shop improvement
  • the youth arts pilot
If you live or work in Newbiggin-by-the-Sea and want to contribute to future developments, you can attend one of their tier two community meetings which are usually held quarterly.
Round two
In July 2012, Berwick’s town team, supported by Berwick Town Council, became one of a further 15 towns to win £100,000. It helped to regenerate the town’s high street, along with funds matched by Northumberland County Council for a further £100,000.
A number of activities have been funded to date, such as the Lowry exhibition, the establishment of a pop-up-shop (Serendipity) and new signs at Berwick’s railway station.

The town council is now leading on delivery of the Portas pilot (completion expected March 2016), supported by Northumberland County Council officers and the Department of Communities and Local Government.
Town team partners
In August 2012, MPs were invited to liaise with town teams who had been unsuccessful in the first two Portas rounds. They wanted to endorse them to come forward as a town team partner. These partners could access funding of £10,000 and a support package from the Association of Town Centre Management.

In October 2012, 326 partners were announced nationally, including:
  • Alnwick
  • Amble
  • Ashington
  • Morpeth
  • Blyth
  • Cramlington
  • Prudhoe
This scheme is no longer open for applications.

Northumberland County Council is the area’s accountable body for Portas funds.

For further information contact:

Tracey Armstrong
Tel: 01670 623873

North East rural growth network

This page gives information about the North East rural growth network.

What are rural growth networks?

The national Rural Growth Network has specific funding and expertise available for businesses located in rural locations, to help generate rural economic growth.

The North East Rural Growth Network is one of five regional growth networks across England, covering Northumberland, Durham and Gateshead.

Between 2012 and 2015 £15 million was allocated nationally from DEFRA to support Rural Growth Networks to deliver proposals aimed at helping rural areas overcome barriers to growth, such as poor infrastructure, scarcity of business premises and lack of business networks.

The North East Rural Growth Network delivered a programme of pilot initiatives between 2012-2015, which has been highly successful. With a funding allocation of £3.2m it has helped around 200 new businesses to establish themselves within rural areas; assisted more than 1,000 businesses with either financial support of business advice; created more than 100 new enterprise spaces at 13 business hub sites across the rural North East. 

Click here to find out about the current 2015-2020 programme and eligibility.
DEFRA evaluation report of the RGN Pilot initiative
Click the following link to read the DEFRA evaluation report of the Rural Growth Network (RGN) Pilot initiative May 2016: 


State aid & EU procurement

The term ‘state aid’ refers to a form of public-funded assistance used to support organisations or businesses. State aid rules have been designed to prevent the use of this support in ways that distort competition and free trade in the EU.

What is state aid?
The treaty on the functioning of the European Union defines state aid as any aid granted by a member state or through state resources which distorts, or threatens to distort, competition by favouring certain undertakings that could affect trade.

The commission has said that state aid can include:
  • grants direct subsidies
  • tax exemptions
  • preferential interest rates
  • loans, guarantees and provision of goods or services on preferential terms
  • indemnities against losses
  • contracts not open to competitive tendering
  • tax relief
Please note: this list is not exhaustive.

The rules restrict the support the public sector can give organisations that operate in a commercial or economic environment. They don’t apply to the whole sector, only where support could inhibit fair competition with other businesses.

Some aid is illegal under EU rules because it distorts competition in a way that is harmful to the EU. But where it is unavoidable, state aid can be given legally by using a set of approved EU mechanisms for state aid, such as:
  • compliance with de minimis regulation
  • compliance with a block exemption regulation
What counts as state aid?
Not all public funding is necessarily state aid. It is present when a scheme meets all the criteria listed in Article 107 of the treaty of the function of the European Union (TFEU).

If your answer to all four of these following questions is “yes,” your assistance is almost certainly state aid. If some of your answers are “no” then aid may not be present. If you are unsure, seek legal advice.

1. Is the assistance granted by the state or through state resources?
‘Granted by the state’ means by any public or private body controlled by the state (in the UK, this means national or local government). ‘State resources’ can include tax exemptions, lottery funding and EU structural funds over which the state has significant control.

2. Does the assistance give an advantage to one or more undertakings over others?
An ‘undertaking’ is any organisation engaged in economic activity. This is about activity rather than legal form, so non-profit organisations, charities and public bodies can all be undertakings, depending on their activities.

Support to an organisation engaged in a non-economic activity isn’t state aid, e.g. support to individuals through the social security system. This can also include operators and ‘middlemen’ if they benefit from funding ‘economic activity’ means putting goods or services on a market.

It is not necessary to make a profit to be engaged in economic activity. If others in the market offer the same goods or services, it is an economic activity.

An ‘advantage’ can take many forms. It’s not just a grant, loan or tax break but also the use of a state asset for free or less than market price. Essentially, it is something an undertaking could not get normally.

3. Does the assistance distort or have the potential to distort competition?
If the assistance strengthens the recipient relative to its competitors, then the answer is likely to be ‘yes.’ The ‘potential to distort competition’ does not have to be substantial or significant. It may include relatively small amounts of financial support and firms with a modest market share.

4. Does the assistance affect trade between member states?
The interpretation of this is broad, as it is enough that a product or service is tradable between member states, even if the recipient itself does not export to other EU markets.

Aid given illegally has far reaching consequences:
  • If the EU Commission investigate and find aid incompatible with the treaty, you will have to recover with interest, regardless of consequences or difficulty.
  • Even if aid is found to be compatible with the treaty (approvable), interest for the period it wasn’t notified may still have to be recovered.
  • If you get it wrong, it is those you want to help who will suffer the most.
  • A competitor could take you to court in the UK and seek damages. 
Guidance on state aids
De minimis
The de minimis regulation is a useful EU mechanism for state aid, based on the commission’s view that small amounts of aid are unlikely to distort competition.

The regulation allows small amounts of aid – less than €200,000 during three fiscal years – to be given for a wide range of purposes.

If you use this you don’t need to notify or get approval, but records of aid granted must be kept and all rules of the regulation must be followed.

State aid modernisation (SAM)
In May 2012, the European Commission set out an ambitious state aid reform programme. The modernisation has three main, closely linked objectives:
  • foster growth in a strengthened, dynamic and competitive internal market
  • focus enforcement on cases with the biggest impact on the internal market
  • streamlined rules and faster decisions
The European Commission has now adopted the long-awaited replacement for the 2008 general block exemption regulation (universally known as GBER).

New GBER and regional aid regulations
The purpose of regional state aid is to support economic development and employment. The regional aid guidelines set out the rules under which member states can grant aid to companies to support investments in new production facilities in advantaged regions of Europe or to extend/ modernise existing facilities.

State aids


Certain categories of state aid can only be granted within assisted areas that fulfill the conditions of Article 107(3)(a) of the TFEU. For the purpose of the new state aid regulations, the assisted areas map for Northumberland has been updated and can be found here.

The BIS state aid manual
The attached manual is intended to assist public sector officials understand the state aid rules, show how they apply in practice and explain that it’s not a substitute for the official documentation available from the EU Commission.

BIS state aid manual


European Commission - press releases on pertinent issues

For general information or guidance on state aids, please contact David Baird on 01670 623888.
Please note: we are unable to give specific advice on individual cases.

EU and UK public sector procurement regulations are changing

For further information please click here

For the council’s procurement webpage click here.

State aid awarded - notified scheme
Project name Amount of aid £ State aid mechanism
The Sill; National Landscape Discovery Centre
GBER Article 53
The Thinford Development
GBER Article 56
Wansbeck Business Park - New Industrial Estate 186,934 GBER Article 56

LEADER 2014-2020

LEADER is a 'bottom-up,' community-led approach to delivering rural and community economic development through the rural development programme for England, managed by the Department for Food, Environment and Rural Affairs (Defra) and the Rural Payments Agency (RPA).

Northumberland LEADER 2014-2020 programme
LEADER update
Since the UK vote on BREXIT, the government propose to review current funding priorities and commitments as part of its autumn statement. As a consequence any new LEADER enquiries and Outline Applications will be added to a holding list until the results of the autumn statement are known. For further information please contact Ivan or Gill using the contact details below.  

General Information
There are six national LEADER priorities:
  • support micro and small businesses and farm diversification
  • boost rural tourism
  • increase farm productivity
  • increase forestry productivity
  • provide rural services
  • provide cultural and heritage activities
From early summer 2015, the LEADER programme will provide grants to rural small to medium enterprises, farmers, foresters and projects that create jobs and grow the rural economy.

70% of the available funding to local action groups will be used for measures designed to directly support the creation of jobs and economic growth and the remaining 30% to indirectly support this.

The main benefits of the LEADER approach are:
  • local people have a better knowledge of their areas and what’s available
  • they are able to organise local resources in a way that ‘top-down’ approaches cannot
  • it gives local people a greater sense of ownership and commitment to the projects
  • it helps develop trust and positive working relationships among locals
Local action groups (LAGs)
LAGs bring together individuals who, through agreed local development strategies, can tackle local priorities in specific, innovative and participative ways.

In this new programme, Northumberland has two LAGs: Northumberland coast and lowlands and Northumberland uplands. A third LAG, North Pennine Dales, covers parts of South Tynedale and rural Northumberland south of the A69.

Northumberland County Council acts as the accountable body for the first two programmes, while Durham County Council accounts for North Pennine Dales. The council is the host employer for staff, supports the groups and also provides administrative and management support to enable delivery of these programmes. 

Project applications
There will be two stages in the process: an outline application and a full application. These are assessed at both stages and only the strongest will be successful. 

LEADER programme officers will liaise with applicants to discuss their project and support them in developing an outline application. This will be considered by the groups to confirm eligibility and strategic fit with their local development strategy.

If successful at the first stage, the applicant will be invited to complete and submit a full application and supporting business case.

Full applications will undergo a technical appraisal by the accountable body, with each action group then making a decision on which projects they will fund based on the project’s eligibility within the LEADER programme and, additionally, value for money and the project fit with each group’s development strategy.
The timescale from application to approval and contracting is typically several months.

The 2014-2020 LEADER programme in Northumberland is not quite ready to receive funding applications yet but further information is available from:

Northumberland Coast and Lowlands LEADER
Ivan Hewitt
Tel: 01670 623927

Northumberland Uplands LEADER
Gillian Cowell
Tel: 01670 623885

Northumberland Uplands LEADER is currently looking for people to join the LAG who wish to share their skills, knowledge and experience in any of the above priority areas.

As a LAG member you will be actively involved in setting the strategic direction of the programme, monitoring activity against the local development scheme, managing the approval process of applications and procuring strategic projects. Attendance at monthly LAG meetings would be required.  

We are particularly interested in hearing from volunteers who have experience in farming, forestry and tourism – and also people who fall within the 18 to 30 age group.
If you are interested in being considered as a LAG member, please request more detailed information on the application process by emailing:
Northumberland coast and lowlands LEADER local action group 2015-2020
Northumberland Coast and Lowlands LEADER has recently been awarded £1.985m from Defra and the rural development programme for England.

This will support projects contributing to the rural economic growth within the coast and lowlands area of rural Northumberland, running from the Scottish border in the north, including Berwick, Alnwick and Morpeth, through to Stannington.

The aims of the Northumberland coast and lowlands LEADER local development strategy (LDS) are:
  • to support strong and sustainable rural economic growth throughout the Northumberland coast and lowlands area in ways which reflect the area’s local priorities
  • engage local people and businesses
  • build more resilient communities
  • conserve a high quality landscape and environment
Activity will be delivered against the local identified priorities of:
  • rural business farming
  • forestry rural tourism
  • culture and heritage rural services
Northumberland coast and lowlands LEADER is currently looking for people to join the local action group who wish to share their skills, knowledge and experience in any of the above areas.

There will be two levels of membership: group forum members and group executive members. Membership will comprise of a wide range of community, voluntary, public and private sector representatives.

This level of membership will act as a communication channel between communities and the group executive. An annual forum event will be held, giving members the opportunity to demonstrate the value of LEADER.

If you wish to become a forum member, please email your name, organisation (if appropriate) and contact address, including postcode, contact number and email address, to:

Applications to the forum can be accepted anytime.

Executive membership will allow representatives to be actively involved in setting the strategic direction of the programme, monitoring activity, managing the approval process of applications and procuring strategic projects. Attendance at monthly meetings is required.

If you’re interested in being considered as an executive member, please request more detailed information on the application process by emailing:

Please note that applications for the LAG executive are now closed.

Funding for sport & play

Information on funding for outdoor sport and play using section 106 housing developer contributions.

Funding for sport & play - general information
Section 106 agreements are sometimes entered into with housing developers to fund sport and play in some areas of Northumberland. The money collection method is based on current planning documentation from the former districts.

This documentation remains in place until the new local development framework is introduced. This means the amounts collected and the items/projects on which the money can be spent can vary.
S106 housing developer fund for sport, play & recreation
The council is keen to see the development and improvement of children's play and outdoor sports and recreation facilities. In most of Northumberland, S106 money is collected based on individual agreements for precise amounts for a specifically agreed purpose.

However, in certain areas of Northumberland (south east, former Tynedale and parts of the north), funds are collected and may be spent in specific geographical areas on a variety of sports, play and recreation projects.

Please note: the collection of money is due to change when the new community infrastruture levy is introduced during 2015/16.

What can be funded?
The funding is for items only for children's play areas or outdoor sports facilities, plus some indoor sports and recreation facilities in areas of the north. The funding is for new facilities or improvements to existing ones, for example:
  • new children's play areas
  • new sports pitches/areas
  • new equipment in an existing play area
  • upgrading of facilities for outdoor sports such as changing rooms
  • Specialised sports equipment, eg cricket roller
Projects must be within specified locations and be open to the general public.

Who can apply?
Projects must be located in specific geographical areas and applications can be made by not-for-profit organisations, such as:
  • community groups
  • residents' associations
  • sports clubs
  • schools
Individuals or businesses are not eligible for funding. Where a local sports club or school is looking to develop or improve facilities, it needs to include appropriate arrangements for wider community use.

How much funding is available?
The level of funding available will depend upon the amounts collected at the time and requests from other projects in the same area. This means funding can be limited and sometimes there will be no funding available.

How can I apply for funding? Applications will be considered by a cross officer panel, which will meet according to the timetable below, and which will make recommendations for approval (applications of more than £100k will be subject to a longer approval process).
Upcoming housing developer fund Panels 2017/18
Upcoming Housing Developer Fund Panels 2017-2018
Panel date meeting Deadline for receipt of applications  Result of application by:
Tuesday, 7th March 2017 Friday, 17nd February 2017 Friday, 24th March 2017
Tuesday, 6th June 2017 Friday, 19th May 2017 Friday, 23th June 2017
Tuesday, 5th September 2017 Friday, 18th August 2017 Friday, 22rd September 2017
Tuesday, 5th December 2017 Friday, 17th November 2017 Friday, 22rd December 2017
Tuesday, 6th March 2018 Friday, 16th February 2018 Friday, 23th March 2018
Funding for Sport and Play Useful Links
Funding for sport & play - contact us

School - clothing grants and vouchers

Information on obtaining clothing grants and vouchers.

Northumberland County Council is unable to provide financial assistance towards the purchase of school clothing. Schools offer services for families unable to buy uniforms all in one go by:

  • providing a long or short-term clothing loan
  • recycling essential items like blazers, ties and jumpers
  • helping with funding for struggling families
  • directing you to the nearest best value store
Contact your child’s school for more information.

Community chest scheme

Community chest schemes give local organisations a chance to bid for funding.

Our aim is to support voluntary and community groups and organisations to deliver activities which contribute to achieving the council’s ambition of maintaining and creating sustainable communities.

Community chest community grants 2016/17
***  The community chest scheme 2016/17 is now CLOSED  ***

The fund will support one-off initiatives that are:
  • seen as valuable to the area
  • are not able to secure mainstream funding from the council or other sources
They do this by giving one-off grants of up to £10,000.

Grants are also available for initiatives that will support the development of sustainable long-term projects.

You’re advised to read the guidelines carefully before applying. If you would like some ideas about the sorts of projects that have been successful, please see the 2015-16 Annual Report which was presented to the four Area Committees at their July 2016 meeting: To help the council decide between different applications, there are higher and lower priorities for the scheme.

Higher priority will be given to:
  • projects submitted by small community groups, defined as having an income of less than £10,000 per year and no paid staff
  • initiatives that will help to support the development of sustainable, long-term projects
  • groups who have not received a grant from the community chest in the past
Lower priority will be given to groups who have received a community chest grant in the past two years and those that apply for projects similar to previous years.

If your group or organisation does not meet the priorities, then an application can still be made but is less likely to be successful.

If you would like to apply to the fund, please click on the form and guidelines links below.  Please note: The Google form version is an online application. Online applicants will automatically receive a copy of their application as a PDF version to the email address supplied. Once your project is finished you will be required to submit a completion form.

NB If you submit paper documents, please do not use staples.

Application form Guidelines Sample completed application Completion form

For further information, please contact: 

Community Chest Scheme
Community Regeneration Team
Ecomony  and Inclusion Policy Team
Planning and Economy Directorate
Northumberland County Council
County Hall
NE61 2EF