Funding Sources

Local Funding Streams:

Consider local funding streams i.e.

  • Parish Councils
  • village fete’s
  • business sponsorship etc.

Many external funding organisations examine the local support and commitment before a project is considered for funding.

There are a number of grant funding bodies that can assist with the cost of delivering the community service.

Most Local Authorities have a designated “funding officer” who is aware of all potential funding sources that are available at a District, Borough, County or National level.

Your Parish Clerk, Local Council Association or Local Authority Chief Executive’s office will normally be able to provide the “Funding Officers” contact details.

The Funding Officer can advise on:

  • grant schemes that are receptive to applications for broadband projects
  • how to apply
  • what will likely make a successful application.

Each fund will have specific criteria which need to be reviewed before making any application.  Matching the funding body requirements and objectives for an application submission is an extremely important aspect in terms of being successful and receiving a grant award. 


A community project that demonstrates it meets local needs at all levels is more likely to attract funding especially at times when there is a limited funding pool.

The following funding bodies are not intended to be an exhaustive list but typical of what is available for communities across the UK. Some Local Authorities or county organisations have funding available for projects that are largely county or area specific.

Most LA’s have a grant funding officer who can advise on what funding schemes are operating in the area and the frequency of grant awards.

Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK) Funding

BDUK will be making available £530million of funding by 2014/15 under a Government programme to improve broadband across the UK.

Under this programme, Local Authorities (or Local Enterprise Partnerships) are required to produce a Local Broadband Plan (LBP) to identify the potential phasing of any capital funding for its area that is sought from BDUK. The size of the fund allocated to a LA will be predicated on a successful LBP submission to BDUK. The LA may acquire additional broadband funding from other areas, including its own internal budget to increase the size of the funds available for broadband disbursement within the LA area.

Rural Communities seeking broadband project funding must therefore apply to their LA in order to be considered and allocated grant funding derived through the LBP allocation.

Where a LA already operates a Community Initiative Fund (CIF) scheme it is likely that funding allocation for broadband projects will operate and make awards in a similar fashion. In such cases this means that local communities have a say on how funds are allocated to local projects.

Awards For All – Big Lottery Fund

The Awards For All programme operated by the BIG Lottery Fund can provide funding for community projects. The Awards For All fund has a funding range from £300 to £10,000 but this relates to capital type projects and does not include any operational running costs associated with a community broadband service.

For projects seeking funding over £10,000 or where operating as well as capital funding is sought then review the application criteria provided by the BIG Lottery Fund

Applications are accepted from community groups and social enterprises. Funding is normally paid in instalments matched to project milestones. Telephone 0845 4102030.

The web sites have easy to follow application submission guides and for smaller projects and in principal decision as to whether a project will qualify for funding can be obtained quickly and with the minimum amount application information required.

Community Initiative Funds

A number of forwarding thinking Local Authorities operate a Community Initiative Fund (CIF) such as that in Essex, West Sussex, Cumbria (see the Plunkett Foundation) and Hinckley to name just a few.

Each CIF fund operates differently in the way they determine the approval of project funding, but in all cases they operate to provide grants towards projects that support communities within in the Local Authority area. CIF funding has been in operation for a number of years supporting a wide variety of projects such as play areas, village hall improvements, landscaping projects, new pathways, heritage trails, village signs and recently for community broadband projects.

In some non-Unitary Counties there may be more than one CIF fund open to your project application. CIF funding has been affected by the economic downturn and consequently funds may be restricted in the amount of funding available in any one year. Some CIF’s operate a one project application for each community that applies.

It is advisable to obtain your Parish Council endorsement prior to applying for a CIF grant to avoid conflict with other much needed community projects and to help the CIF award panels to prioritise projects according.

Landfill Communities Fund

In order to encourage increased recycling, every landfill operator has to pay a fee (landfill Tax) for every tonne of waste that goes into a landfill site. For every payment they make, they are issued a credit which can be donated to environmental and community projects.

In some cases these are made available for community organisations to bid into for funding. The following web link identifies landfill operators in your area:

Once you have identified the appropriate operator, you can view their website and search on “landfill communities’ fund” to find details of what projects qualify for funding.