Who can apply for a grant?
The primary aim of First Utility Foundation is to make life better for vulnerable families and individuals. The Trustees are looking for projects run by UK-registered charities which deliver support for vulnerable communities in the UK. The eligibility criteria below will help you before preparing your application. Whilst the grant application must be submitted by the charity itself, First Utility employees and customers are also invited to recommend organisations for support through our nominate a cause page.
What type of grants are available?
There are two categories of financial grants available:
- General Support grants: These grants specifically cover an organisation’s core costs.
- Flagship grants: These larger scale grants contribute to a specific initiative or project.
Are we eligible for a grant?
The Trustees are specifically looking for projects which:
- Change the lives of the UK’s most vulnerable families and children for the better
- Improve the quality of life of older people
- Make life better for people with disabilities
All applicant organisations must as a minimum:
- Be managed and delivered by a UK-registered charity (preferably with a turnover between £50k and £1.5m)
- Reach vulnerable individuals and families
- Have transparent plans and budgets
- Have available documentation as specified in the application form including two years of externally audited accounts
- Directly deliver their services (as opposed to advocate or co-ordinate them).
The Foundation now receives several hundred applications each year but works with fewer than twenty charities. As a result, the Trustees apply the following criteria when selecting which charities to support. They are looking for clear, straightforward projects which can demonstrate that:
- Have a track record helping vulnerable communities to create a new and better future
- Are delivering or pioneering solutions to help the vulnerable in a particular locality
- Are empowering beneficiaries with the knowledge to better manage the challenges they face
- At least 30% of the project funding is being secured from other sources
- Are making the most of technology to make the grant go further
- Are perceived by beneficiaries as reliable, friendly and accesible
- Have a clear plan is in place for the organisation’s project’s long term sustainability – or indeed an exit strategy depending on the situation
Further, as can be seen by our grantees in 2015 and 2016, the Trustees have a preference for funding relatively unknown, niche charities which have built from the ground up, operating ‘at the coalface’, and able to demonstrate that the Foundation’s contribution will make a material difference. They are looking for homegrown, independent charities where there is a high volume of volunteers; charities which can demonstrate a clear outcome of beneficiaries being in a better place as a result of the charity’s support.
The Foundation will take a particular interest in projects that serve demographic groups affected by fuel poverty or other clear poverty indicators. When Trustees are overwhelmed with applications, the Foundation will prioritise areas where First Utility customers, who ultimately fund the foundation, are most represented.
Please note that the Foundation does not make grants towards the following:
- The promotion or advancement of religion or political campaigning
- Capital projects
- Endowment funds
- Exclusively grant-making charities
- Public institutions such as schools, hospitals and universities
- Residential care homes and hospices
- Health interventions which can otherwise be provided by the NHS
- Holiday and transport programmes
- Sports organisations
- Arts organisations
- Charities that have been registered for less than two years
- Charities operating outside the UK
- Charities with a deficit
How much can we apply for?
General Support grants (for core costs) are valued at between £3,000 and £5,000 per annum. Flagship grants are valued at between £10,000 and £15,000 per annum. Amounts awarded depend on the amount requested, the scale of the project in question and the resources available within the Foundation. The final decision is made by the Board of Trustees.
Full cost recovery means securing funding for all of the costs involved in running a project. This means that you can request funding for direct project costs and for a proportionate share of your organisation’s overheads.