Community Chest

The scheme gives local organisations a chance to bid for funding.

Learn more below about the latest grants.

We are pleased to announce that the Community Chest Scheme for 2024-25 is now open. 

For more information, please contact:

The aim of the Community Chest Scheme is to support community groups and organisations to deliver activities which contribute to achieving the Council’s ambition for Northumberland. This includes Help For You which aims to help young people under 18 to achieve an ambition (see below). 

The Community Chest Scheme 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 £5,000, but not exceeding 75% of the actual costs, i.e. you will need to find at least 25% from your own or other sources. You are advised to read the guidelines carefully before applying.

Grants awarded in previous years: 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 community groups to become sustainable in the longer term
  • groups who have not received a grant from the community chest in the recent 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.
Funding Round Deadline Panel Meeting by
Round 1 07 June 2024  19 July 2024
Round 2 27 September 2024 08 November 2024
Round 3 10 January 2025 21 February 2025

The budget for the scheme is allocated to each of the five committee areas of the council on a per head of population basis, with a set amount allocated each year to projects that benefit the whole county. The money is awarded in three rounds or until budgets are fully allocated. When a budget is fully allocated, there will be no further grants made in that financial year. 
If you would like to apply to the scheme, please click on the form and guidelines links below.  Some users may experience formating issues with the Word version, in which case please check the pdf version to make sure that all of the sections are correct. Please email all of your documents to the email address above, preferably in PDF format. Once your project is finished you will be required to submit a completion form and submit copies of receipts. Unfortunately, we are not able to provide an online application form at this time.

NB If you submit paper documents, please do not use staples. All documents are scanned and the paper copies are then shredded.

Application form  Guidance and conditions Completion form
Help For You

Grants of up to £200 are available for young people aged under 18 to support them in pursuing a particular ambition. Applications must be submitted by an accountable body, such as a sports club, scouts/guides, constituted community group, local charity, or a school. No more than two grants per year per organisation will be allowed. Applications must be made on the form provided below. Submitting Help For You applications will not affect applications to the main Community Chest Scheme.

The grant panel will be looking for demonstrations of leadership, sporting excellence or other endeavour, which will inspire other young people or project a positive role model for others to follow.
For further information, please contact: 

Community Regeneration Team
Economic Growth & Regeneration Team
Economy & Regeneration Service
Place Directorate
Northumberland County Council
County Hall
NE61 2EF
The scheme gives local organisations a chance to bid for funding.

Hear from some of our previous winners below:

Vision Northumberland

Hear from Julie Boyack, Chief Executive of Vision Northumberland talk about how Community Chest funding helped them to create a community cafe to help users regain confidence after Covid-19 lockdowns.

Julie Boyack: What I love about it is when I'm in my office the roars of laughter that constantly come from the cafe, it's just amazing you know you're making a difference.
My name's Julie Boyak and I'm the chief executive of Vision Northumberland,  and we applied for the community chest about 18 months ago.  Having found the information on the website about it, so at that point  we  had been dealing with COVID 19 and a lot of our clients  had been isolated for almost 18 months. At that point a lot of people had lost their confidence and weren't able to get out but they did know Reiver House we were based here in Morpeth.  So we thought about what we could do to help socialise people again so and we looked at open a small Cafe which is not for profit, we're never going to make any money out of it because it's too small. So we came to the Community Chest and asked them if they would fund us for some furniture for the cafe, the tables and the chairs and some equipment and for the kitchen area as well to enable us to open this at the cafe.  So they did just that and we managed to get some additional funding to employ someone two days a week to manage the cafe and now we'll have about eight volunteers supporting it, so currently we're opening two days a week  and it's run mainly by volunteers so it's made a massive difference in terms of social isolation. What I love about it is when I'm in my office the roars of laughter that constantly come from the cafe, it's just amazing you know you're making a difference, and that could only have happened really through the the grant that we got through the community chest. 
Service users:If it wasn't coming here I'd be stuck at home going nowhere,  I really do enjoy coming here. I meet so many nice people, lovely staff and everything and we've got great driver to bring us and take us home. So it's lovely lovely. Just changed my life. 
Julie Boyack: It was a really straightforward experience, the application wasn't onerous and the decision was made pretty quickly and so we're very lucky and we're very fortunate and people all say the same thing about the cafe, that it's warm it's friendly and the love the furniture. They all want to know where we got it from.  So I'd like to thank Northumberland County Council and I'd also like to encourage other people to put in for it because it was a straightforward application and there's lots of us know in the charitable sector, quite often it's small amounts that can make a big difference, so thank you for that.

1st Swarland Rainbows

Megan from 1st Swarland Rainbow unit tells us how Community Chest funding has been used to purchase craft supplies for their new unit.

Rainbows children: We love Rainbows!

Megan:So tonight we're at 1st Swarland Rainbows and we're gonna play some games we've got our Treasure Island game a rainbow game and then some games with our new activity mats.So within the community there's not that many options we're quite rural there wasn't an opportunity for the girls in this village and our nearest Rainbow unit after here is in Alnwick or in Rothbury so it's given the opportunity for the girls to come together and we've had lots of girls come through. So with us being a brand new unit the additional funding allowed to buy some craft materials so these girls absolutely love craft anything to do with colouring, drawing, glue, paint so we've been able to get loads of craft materials all the programme materials we've managed to get to if you do a broad range of different activities and then all the games equipment so the squares on the floor we've had got balls we've got bean bags anything sporty and crafty and we've got a lovely big field in the back that we've done loads of games on and craft nights

Isabelle: My name is Isabelle and I'm seven years old

Alexandra: I'm Alexandra and I'm seven years old I like rainbows because I like the games we play and I also like doing crafts.

Isabelle: It's fun it's active it's creative.

Alexandra: My favorite thing about rainbows is that I get to see all my friends

Isabelle: And my favorite thing about rainbows are singing with my friends too

Megan:it's been a brilliant grant that's enabled us to get resources materials and crafts that we can enable us to do more things with the girls and without the funding we wouldn't have been able to give the girls the opportunities we've given. So to contact usabout our rainbows we've got poster followed the village and we've also got our own public Facebook page called Girlguiding Swarland and then on Girlguiding's website you can sign up through there.

Rainbows children: We love Rainbows! Yeah!

Ashington Veterans and Elders Institute

Hear Ashington Veterans and Elders Institute secretary Keith Green tell us how Community Chest Funding has helped them to develop the institute.

Like I said we've gone from strength to strength so it's not just an old man's hut anymore it's a it's a community hub for the people of Ashington.

My name is Keith Green and I'm the secretary of the Institute and the place has been here since we think the end of the first world war. It was built to keep the men off the streets of Ashington. The central Hall that used to be just behind the Institute there was a church Hall behind that and that was donated to the the men to come and meet a little bit more orderly and that was too small it became apparent quite quickly that the place was very popular. So the local coal board with the public raised enough funds to build this place and it's been here ever since it's thriving, it sort of has a stigma that it's an old man's hut but we've worked really hard to try and get rid of that stigma. We've got a lot of younger people using the place now we've opened up more to the community which is in line with our objective and like I said we've gone from strength to strength so it's not just an old man's hut anymore it's a community hub for the people of Ashington. We've been successful with a community chest a few times now and it was to help redecorate the inside of the Institute. We've got new carpets, we've reupholstered the furniture and because we got that grant we have applied to the community chest on at least three further occasions and it's helped us to develop the Institute even further. I found the application process very easy I used the online form but I understand you can print forms off and send them into County Hall as well. But the process is very simple. I would say you should go for it because like I say we've been successful three or four times not only has it helped us develop the inside but the outside has taken a completely different tact thanks to the funding that we've got from the community chest. The garden's been redeveloped we've put a shade here because the garden itself is in brilliant sunshine all day. I would just say the money's there and if you've got a facility in the community that's in need of investment then that's the avenue I would go through because we've we've had three or four chunks of it and will not be shy in applying again.

Age UK Northumberland

Age UK Northumberland applied for Community Chest funding to improve their community cafe and public access computers. Amy Whyte tells us how this has improved the organisation.

More and more people are coming in they're queuing out the door to be able to have food in here which is fantastic and and utilise all the other groups and facilities that we've got here as well.

I'm Amy Whyte I'm Chief exec here at Age UK Northumberland. Age UK Northumberland is an independent charity supporting older people across Northumberland over the age of 50 to live the best lives they possibly can. So we applied for the Community Chest Grant online we did so to be able to look at improving our Hub in Ashington to ensure that as many people as possible can access the facilities that are available here. It allowed us to be able to put in some additional computers for access for anybody to be able to come in and use. So as you can see behind me here we've got three computers currently being utilised. An additional one that's being used by our volunteers as well and we tend to have people coming in and out throughout the week to be able to use them for whatever facilities that they wish to do so. Since we received the grant obviously we've refitted the whole of the reception area and the cafe. It allowed us to be able to put together a really welcoming hub for everybody new tables, new chairs, new flooring and a really kind of sunshiny space for people to come in and utilize. The warm welcome in particular has been very successful we've had people coming in for soup on a regular basis and the odd baked beans on toast as well and we've had people traveling as well as being able to take advantage of some of the facilities that we've got where we have actually set up a small kind of food bank as well at a time where it's been needed more than ever. More and more people are coming in they're queuing out the door to be able to have food in here which is fantastic they're spending more time in here and not just have food but just to be able to socialize and and utilize all the other groups and facilities that we've got here as well. So I would say if you get the chance to be able to apply for a Community Chest grant and you can see that it's going to make a difference to your organisation please do so I have to say it's made a huge difference to our organization it really has made this a true Hub and a really welcoming space and we very much look forward to welcoming lots of new faces into the door over the coming weeks, months and years.

Cramlington District Red Squirrel Group

Cramlington District Red Squirrel Group used their Community Chest funding to buy more monitoring stations to place throughout East Cramlington Nature Reserve to help protect and preserve the red squirrel.

Helen: They want to make you smile. I've been smiling all day if you'd seen a red squirrel it does it makes you have a brighter attitude and a happier day all together.

Jack: They're a symbol of the English Countryside. If you see a picture of anywhere with a red squirrel people like it you can't help but like it. the groups been going 10-11 years approximately it was formed originally by a guy called John Carr and the aim of the group is to ensure that the red squirrels are fit and healthy and the shortage of food we are here we'll put the monitoring stations throughout the woods you know of this nature we've top them up with feed, we've got a little pad on the inside which is a Velcro pad and through that we can tell what what's reasonable whether it's a red Squirrel, gray squirrel or birds etc etc and we monitor these every seven to ten days and we're finding that the red squirrels are are increasing but without us doing this there wouldn't be any red squirrels

Helen: we do work very, very hard I've got to say
you know but it's all worthwhile because otherwise that creature would disappear and for biodiversity you need those squirrels running around. 

Leon: Before we received the funding or thought about applying for the funding, the group was a lot smaller we only had about 30 to 40 monitoring boxes but obviously that wasn't enough to cover the whole area so in order for the group to expand we needed more funds to buy materials ,equipment, PPE.

Jack: We've put the rope bridges up which has attracted attention people come and film the squirrels going over the rope bridges.

Leon: We applied for the community grant to create a nature trail around the site which is 16 interactive posts which have got a QR code on you scan and that tells you about the species on on each post so as an example of our red squirrel or red fox, roe deer, Buzzard generally things that you would see when you were walking around the Nature Reserve itself we're always thinking of ideas. We'll possibly apply for a another one next next year and hopefully we'll we'll get it but like I say it's a it's a it's a funding source that's there for everyone to use uh like I said if you come up with a good idea generally we've been lucky and each one that we've submitted has been accepted.

Morpeth Repair Shed

The Morpeth Repair Shed is a space for the all ages and genders in the local community to come and learn new skills and repair household items. The space is owned by Barnabas Safe and Sound, a charity which aims to make a difference to the lives of young people and help support their journey to independence through the provision of youth work, advice and housing. The Greater Morpeth Development Trust has been supporting the project helping it go from strength to strength.

The Man Shed movement's been going for a lot of years they've got them in the Isle of Man they've got them in Blyth they've got them in Cramlington. Morpeth doesn't have one um and it's one of those places where you know traditionally people retired and found they had lots of time on their hands a lot of skills and you know predominantly men were getting together and making things in their sheds and then realised that they could do it as a group and support each other in that and have a bit of camaraderie yeah I think the ability and interest to fix things to reuse things to repair things is very useful and particularly in this day and age and things are so expensive and a lot of people are struggling financially it's often the case that you can reuse something for a very modest outplay well I hope to to learn lots of new skills with some of the the kit that's here meet lots of new people sort of also work with some of the the youths and do some charitable work so it's a bit of um learning things for myself and also helping the community generally this all came about um between Mike Willis one of our local pastors and the greater morbath development company got their heads together and decided we needed something in morpeth to um encourage people to come and discuss in the traditional manshed way their day-to-day comings and goings just a place for people to hang out and hope to do some cross-generational stuff so it's not just old fellas drinking tea it can be all ladies as well it can be young fellas in young ladies it'll be anyone

the trust's mission is to make more of a better place in which to live work and visit and when the idea of a man shed was put to us we thought that was really worthwhile activity [Music] we see it as a space where anybody and everybody can come together can do stuff hopefully obviously more practical stuff somewhere where youngsters can grow in confidence and require some skills from the all the users and something where the older users can benefit from interacting with youngsters and can be good for emotional health of other people who sometimes get a bit isolated particularly men because we're not very good at talking about our feelings generally [Music] well I just hope it goes from this initial start to to a much bigger thing and and becomes really successful because it's something more Perth really needs we do hope that in the coming months and years this will become a vibrant and busy place where lots of people will feel free to be able to pop in and out learn new skills share new skills and help each other along with life's journey

we are here we are open for business and we're all in all ages if anybody has an interest has anything that needs repaired bicycles we've got a handful of donated bicycles that were doing tutoring or with young people on bicycle maintenance but hopefully we can help people service their bikes if you've got any bits and pieces of household equipment that you might think like well lawn mowers and things like that that might need a service or a check over I know there are other companies that do that but you know pop in see us see what we can do if I don't know I might know someone who does