Third Party and Community Grants

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Hi everyone

Many LPs run community grant schemes, through which a modest pot of money is set aside for community groups to apply for to deliver small projects that contribute towards the aims of the scheme.

It can be an excellent way for an LP to engage with the community and for local people to define what is important to them. There are many examples of LPs delivering good small grant schemes and I recently visited the ‘Up on the Downs’ LP ( to hear first-hand about the positive impact small grants were making in the area, both in terms of delivering projects and bringing groups together in partnership.

I’m keen to learn more about what the key factors are in making them a success and also what the main things someone should think about are when planning and running such scheme as part of an LP. This could be anything from setting the right level of grant, to how decisions are made and how a project is monitored and evaluated.

It would be great to hear your thoughts on this and any good examples out there we can share and learn from.

All the best


View Chris Falconer's profile Chris Falconer Aug 21 2015 - 11:47am
  1. At Up on the Downs we introduced a small grants scheme (Landscape Heritage Grants) to help us engage with smaller community groups and grass roots organisations and, in our parlance, help them to ‘make decisions about their heritage’. The grants scheme was also a device to get investment to the very rural and little known hinterland of our scheme area, for which there was little activity originally identified in the LCAP.

    We are about two-thirds of the way through our delivery phase and have allocated almost all of the money from the small grants. We recently produced a mid-term review of the grants scheme which you can find here

    Overall I think the grants scheme has been a great success: we have funded a wide range of projects and organisations; there has been good interaction (which we encouraged) between grantees, helping to achieve each other’s outcomes and the forging of new partnerships; we have supported grantees with a wide range of training, providing them with the skills to manage projects/access grant funds and increase their understanding about their local landscape and heritage; and, we have ensured that our funding is spread more widely across the scheme area.

    On reflection, perhaps we haven’t got as much money to small community organisations, such as parish councils, as we would have liked; however, uptake with voluntary organisations will so often depend upon individuals and time. We have promoted the grants scheme extensively to these organisations and offered support as appropriate; therefore, I can console myself with the old adage: ‘you can lead a horse to water…’

    So, some things to consider if you are considering a community grants scheme:

    • You will need an officer to manage and monitor the grants scheme; this is not just an administrative role but also requires considerable outreach work to promote the scheme. Make sure you get the right person.
    • Assemble a grants panel that reflects the heritage and communities of your scheme area. Use it to bring new organisations to the table and challenge traditional perspectives. Our grants panel meetings are some of the most enjoyable meetings I’ve been to!
    • Think of global VAT implications
    • Are you going to use match funding from applications as match funding for your LPS? If so, how are you going to square this with the internal finance of your host organisation and HLF?
    • Be very clear about the type of organisations you want to apply and how you are going to encourage them to do so. For example, the big players in our area (National Trust and Kent Wildlife Trust) were very well placed to take advantage of the grants scheme but we actually wanted parish councils, schools and community groups to apply. Upping the match funding requirement for larger organisations and lessening it for smaller groups helped to encourage the latter to apply without putting off the former.
    • There is a tension between making the grant scheme competitive from the start (e.g. allocating a fixed budget per round) and needing to allocate enough money early on for grantees to complete and manage the risk of not spending. We allocated the majority of the money as quickly as possible as we were not sure there would be enough quality applications to allocate all of the money in the grant scheme.  With hindsight, this was not necessary and has caused the application process to be very competitive as the scheme has progressed.
    • However, for volunteer led community groups, having as much time as possible to complete their grants has been important as slippage often occurs.
    • Monitoring has involved site visits and keeping in touch with successful applicants on a regular basis to ensure that grants are progressing as planned.

    You can find all the necessary information on our grants scheme here

    Feel free to get in touch if you would like more info etc.

    Cheers, Richard.

  2. View Richard Haynes's profile Richard Haynes
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  3. in reply to

    What is an “LP”?

  4. View Simon Vincent's profile Simon Vincent
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  5. in reply to

    Hi Simon, in this forum, LP will almost certainly always refer to Landscape Partnership. You can find out more about our Landscape Partnership funding on this page.

  6. View Amy Freeborn's profile Amy Freeborn
    Offline | Last seen: 2 hours 58 min ago
  7. Recently HLF commissioned consultants Icarus to undertake some exploratory research into the use of third party and community grants in projects. Thanks to all schemes that helped us out with it.

    It has given a useful foundation of information to consider how schemes can use this form of grant making to further their aims and how HLF can better support and advise projects in future. We will be discussing the content of the report internally early in the new year to consider if we need to update guidance and ensure there is clarity around HLFs position on third party and community grants. From a LP programme perspective, we see both forms of grant making as a positive contribution to schemes where they are well planned and adequately resourced in terms of administration.

    Attached is the summary from the report received in December that you may be interested to see.


  8. View Chris Falconer's profile Chris Falconer
    Offline | Last seen: 3 weeks 7 hours ago
  9. Hi Chris

    the report looks really positive, and I am so pleased as we are planning to have both a 3rd party grant scheme for farmers & landowners, and a community heritage grant scheme as part of our LPS.

    Just a quick question:  do we need to have all the paperwork in place as part of our stage 2 application at the end of the development phase- ie grant scheme criteria, sample application and appraisal forms, evaluation and monitoring plans?

    many thanks

    Cathy (Pendle Hill LP development)

  10. View Cathy Hopley's profile Cathy Hopley
    Offline | Last seen: 1 month 3 weeks ago
  11. in reply to

    Cathy - I would if I were you! Not least because you'll have a lot else on your plate when stage 2 starts.

    Happy to email you samples of our community grant scheme forms  - somewhere to start from anyway. We didn't have any formal eval and monitoring specifically for the community grant scheme.

    We didn't have a 3rd party (landowner) scheme.

    Bill (ex Touching the Tide LPS).

  12. View Bill Jenman's profile Bill Jenman
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  13. in reply to

    Hi Bill

    you can email me at

    many thanks for your advice


  14. View Cathy Hopley's profile Cathy Hopley
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  15. in reply to

    Hi Cathy

    There is very little guidance to be honest around community grant schemes which is one of the things we're looking at (in a proportionate way!).

    Technically, you don't need to have everything you mention in place. However as part of the assessment of risk in a second round application, and in making a judgement about which outcomes are likely to be met,  the case officer will look at planning in relation to grant schemes and expect to see these questions considered and a plan in place to develop the fine detail of a grant programme for roll out.

    However, I'd say Bill has offered good and informed advice. It's worth getting it done if possible in your development phase, especially if there are other schemes willing to share their lessons learnt around administration of grant schemes.

    For the third party grants with landowners, we would expect to see a good degree of consultation and clarity on how the grants would be targeted (at who and why) based on an understanding of the natural heritage needs of the area. Also, clear plans for management post-capital work (via third party agreements) should be demonstrated.

    All the best with developing you scheme.


  16. View Chris Falconer's profile Chris Falconer
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  17. The West Wight Landscape Partnership ran a successful small grants programme from 2009 - 2013. I've uploaded a copy of the evaluation report for the programme we produced when it came to a close.


    Pete - Down to the Coast (East Wight Landscape Partnership)

  18. View Peter Fellows's profile Peter Fellows
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  19. in reply to

    Hi Pete

    thanks very much - what a brilliant report and what a major grants scheme that was, are you running a similar scheme in your current LP?

    do you have any grant guidance and application paperwork you are willing to share?

    many thanks

    Cathy - Forest of Bowland AONB/Pendle Hill LPS

  20. View Cathy Hopley's profile Cathy Hopley
    Offline | Last seen: 1 month 3 weeks ago


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