External Funding Opportunities

We are not the only source of funding to the Community and Voluntary Sector.  External funding is money awarded from grant giving organisations such as;

  • the National Lottery,
  • national or local trusts,
  • European funds and
  • central Government.

Funding bodies are generally keen to see evidence of partnership working between the private, statutory and voluntary sectors.

Funding Central is a free smart website for the whole community and voluntary sector providing access to thousands of funding and finance opportunities.

The Arts

Arts Council England is funded by the National Lottery. This funding is for activities carried out over a set period and which engage people in art activities and helps artists and art organisations in England to carry out their work.


Connecting Classrooms is a global programme that creates partnerships between clusters of schools in the UK and others around the world. The programme is delivered through the British Council.

Generalist Funds

  • Comic Relief funds projects that address people's immediate needs as well as tackling the root causes of poverty and injustice.
  • Esmee Fairbairn Foundation supports projects across the broad range of interests, which include the arts, education and learning, the environment and projects that enable disadvantaged people to participate fully in society.
  • Oxfordshire Community Foundation has a variety of grant programmes available to community and voluntary groups who are working to tackle disadvantage and make life better for people in Oxfordshire. 
  • The Henry Smith Charity makes grants for work throughout the UK. Applications can be made for revenue and capital activities. Priority is given to work with groups experiencing social and/or economic disadvantage, for example, people with disabilities; and work that tackles problems in areas of high indices of deprivation. 

Sport Foundations and Trusts

Support, advice and funding information for particular sporting activities or for specific groups of people is available from sports foundations and trusts.

For non specific sporting activities the following links may help you get started.

  • Sport England supports projects that create opportunities for people to participate and succeed in sport. They are launching programmes open to a wide range of organisations which include sports clubs, voluntary or community organisations, schools, colleges and universities.
  • UK Sport invests Exchequer and National Lottery funds in Britain's best Olympic and Paralympic sports and athletes to maximise their chances of success on the world stage.
  • Sports Aid Charity fits comfortably between Sport England and UK Sport, This charity supports young and amateur sportspeople into participation in competition.

Young People

  • Children in Need focuses firmly on children and young people experiencing disadvantage. They will fund organisations working to combat this and to make a real difference to children and young people's lives.  There are two large general funding streams as well as more specific opportunities on rotation.
  • The Wooden Spoon Charity exists to improve the quality and prospect of life for children and young people who are disadvantaged physically, mentally or socially.  They will fund revenue or capital projects.

Help and Support

If you have difficulty searching for other sources of funding or would like some help and support completing your application contact Oxfordshire Community and Voluntary Action (OCVA) on 01865 251946.