Funding for peer support
On this page, find out about the types of funding you could get for your peer support projects, and where you can find funding.
There are lots of funding opportunities for groups, from small local initiatives to national projects. But knowing where to go, and what to do to get funding, can feel overwhelming.
While there's no ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach to finding and applying for funding, you'll find some general tips and advice on this page.
Having a clear idea of what it is that your group needs and how you would spend the money will make it much easier for you to find funding.
It's also a good idea to draw up some rough costs, based on actual quotes from suppliers if appropriate. Knowing how much money you need will make it much easier to decide where to apply for funding.
Benefits and challenges of seeking funding
There are advantages and disadvantages to applying for funding. The main benefit is, of course, that money can be used to start, expand, or sustain a group in different ways. It can also give you greater flexibility in what you can do together.
The process of applying for or requesting funding can teach you new skills and introduce you to new contacts who may be helpful in future. However, finding out about funders and filling in application forms can take time and effort, and you may need to supply reports to the funder.
You need to find the right balance for your group between the effort needed to seek funding and the ability to sustain yourselves without it. There might be local organisations who can support you with the application process.
Different types of funding
Smaller sums of money, usually up to £500 or £1,000, which are often distributed by local organisations or larger charities.
Larger sums of money, usually up to £5,000, which are also often distributed by local organisations or larger charities. You can get small grants from grant making organisations.
Gifts (usually money) given to a group by an individual or organisation. These sometimes come from businesses or privately from members of the public. They can include fundraisers from groups like sports clubs.
Gifts in kind
Businesses and organisations can give resources rather than money as ‘gifts in kind’. This could include space, equipment, or a person’s time or skills, food, or anything that the project needs.
Sources of funding
There are local charities that give support to voluntary and community groups, advocate for them, and foster contacts between them. Often these are known as councils of voluntary service (CVS), voluntary action, or volunteer centres. They usually have funds to support local groups and projects.
They may even provide a funding search service. This means you can provide them with details of what you're looking for and they'll generate a report outlining what funding is available. Your local council will know if there is a CVS in your area – or you can try an internet search.
Larger charities, both local and national, sometimes provide micro or small grants as well as wider support to groups through their own funding.
An example of a larger charity that provides small grants is The National Lottery Community Fund. They offer the Awards for All Programme for England, which can distribute grants of between £300 and £10,000. This programme has equivalents for Wales, Scotland, and Northern Ireland.
For smaller amounts of money, or for accessing resources other than money, it's often better to look closer to home. Applying through larger programmes such as the National Lottery Awards for All fund can be more work than may be feasible for some groups.
Your local authority website is often a good starting point as they may offer micro-grants or small amounts of cash for voluntary groups with relatively simple application processes.
Local businesses sometimes offer micro-grants for community groups, and they may offer community spaces or donations of equipment and refreshments. One example is Tesco community grants. Tesco offers local groups the opportunity to access grants of between £500 and £2,000 through a voting system, where the public votes for 3 nominated applicants. This can be a good way to generate publicity about a group or project as well as to access funding.