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Charities receive further funding from COVID-19 Response Fund

Charities and community groups responding to the threat of COVID-19 across the county have received a financial boost from the Cumbria COVID-19 Response Fund this week.

Almost £62,000 from the Fund, established by Cumbria Community Foundation, has been split between 17 local charitable and voluntary groups. The money will help those who have been homeless, provide food for young people living in temporary accommodation, assist the volunteer community effort in various locations and provide online support for those with learning disabilities.

The coordination of volunteers to support vulnerable people who are self-isolating is imperative during this time. Cockermouth Emergency Response Group (CERG) received £4,890 to facilitate the community volunteer response and across the town.

CERG was created in response to the frequent flooding of the town and is a partnership between Churches Together, Rotary and Cockermouth Flood Action Group. More than 160 new volunteers have signed up in the last couple of weeks, providing dog walking services, foodbank and pharmacy deliveries and shopping for those in isolation.

Volunteers are also reaching out to isolated older and vulnerable people by telephone and social media to support positive mental health. Initiatives like its newsletter, linking residents with appropriate support is reducing the feeling of isolation and vulnerability.

There are a number of initiatives under way around the county to look after friends and neighbours. A new support group has launched in Cleator Moor to assist residents in the town that have to self-isolate due to the pandemic.

Home to Work is part of the local COVID-19 response group and received £5,000 to manage the helpline and requests for support, which are then directed to a team of volunteers. The group is also delivering prescriptions on behalf of the local chemist as well as supporting the local foodbank.

Ulverston Mind is reaching out to isolated people to encourage positive mental health with the support of £1,362 from the Cumbria COVID-19 Response Fund.

The charity anticipates that the ongoing crisis will result in a deterioration of mental health for a significant number of people, some of whom will have experienced a drastic loss of income with associated anxiety and stress. The funding will provide online and telephone counselling through its one-to-one ‘listening ear’ support service to people, who until the pandemic, were attending a weekly peer group.

Essential advice and emotional support are being offered remotely by Eden Carers with the support of £1,684. The charity, which supports 800 carers across the Eden district, is supporting the NHS via the hospital discharge service and needed additional IT equipment to support this.

Dani Leslie, Chief Officer, said: “As COVID-19 is present in acute hospitals, it is very important that those patients who have health issues that are not related to the virus and who are not virus positive leave the hospital as soon as possible.”

The charity will be contacting discharged patients, phoning them once a day for five days to ensure they are supported, and any welfare needs are addressed.

Thanks to £10,000 from the Cumbria COVID-19 Response Fund, People First Independent Advocacy (PFIA), based in Carlisle, will continue to support people with learning difficulties through virtual self-advocacy groups.

People will stay connected and supported by trained facilitators and peers via online resources and telephone. The aim of this work is to minimise isolation, protect people with learning difficulties and to ensure their continued health, safety and wellbeing.

David Blacklock, Chief Executive, said: “This is a challenging time for all of us, for those with a learning disability and/or autism, it can be especially difficult to understand what’s happening around us and to stay well. This funding will allow us to provide vital support to some of Cumbria’s most vulnerable residents during the COVID-19 pandemic. Thank you for making this work possible.”

The volunteer-led ‘Waste into Wellbeing’ project ensures that waste from local shops and supermarkets is turned into nourishing meals or is distributed to areas of greatest need. Run by South Lakes Action on Climate Change Towards Transition (SLACC), it works in partnership with the Kendal People’s Café and Food Hub on Stricklandgate.

The project received £4,000 to support the recruitment and training of additional volunteers and coordinating food donations. Last week, 120 food bags were distributed through three locations in Kendal and the charity states that demand outstrips supply.

Trustee of South Lakes Action on Climate Change, which is the parent charity of Kendal People’s Café and Waste into Wellbeing, Chris Rowley, said: “This is wonderful news for us as it will enable us to cope with the  enormous demand for food coming from a variety of sources. We would like to thank the generosity and support of the many among the local food retailers and from our volunteers, who are currently working hard to expand our operation.”

Andy Beeforth, Chief Executive of Cumbria Community Foundation, said: “We can only support these groups thanks to the generosity of our donors.

“Funding projects that are adapting and supporting the most vulnerable in our communities is exactly why we set the Fund up. Over the coming weeks, we will continue to support groups who are responding to the needs in their communities. Looking ahead, our community groups will need support to get back on their feet after the outbreak eases so they can keep up their vital work and I encourage anyone that can donate to the Fund, to please do so.”

For more information about the Fund and how to donate click here.

Funding to improve mental health & wellbeing in response to COVID-19

A fund established to help communities respond to the COVID-19 pandemic has received a welcome boost.

The North East and North Cumbria Mental Health Integrated Care Systems (ICS) will provide additional funding to the Cumbria COVID-19 Response Fund, which will support people struggling with their mental health and wellbeing.

The NE&NC Suicide Prevention Network has allocated the funding to support organisations and community groups who are looking after those who are isolated and vulnerable within our communities.

Katherine McGleenan, suicide prevention lead across north east and north Cumbria, said: “As a mental health nurse, I’m aware of the impact struggling with mental health and wellbeing can have for people and how getting the right support can make a real difference. We want to do everything possible to get support and information to help people manage their mental health and wellbeing during this incredibly difficult and stressful time. This is especially important for people in our communities who are more vulnerable and already are struggling. People who are social isolating are perhaps feeling at the moment there is less support available so I hope this funding will make a real difference.”

Cumbria Community Foundation launched the Cumbria COVID-19 Response Fund with £100,000 of its own funds. That total now stands at over £800,000 thanks to generous donations from local companies and charitable trusts.

Andy Beeforth, CEO at Cumbria Community Foundation said: “Our communities will be hit hard by the impact of Coronavirus and they will need significant support over the next few months. Thanks to this additional donation, voluntary organisations will be able to increase their support to local people who will need help for many months to come.”

For more information about the Fund and how to donate, visit

Community Foundation awards first grants from COVID-19 Response Fund

Communities responding to the threat of COVID-19 across the county have received a financial boost from the Cumbria COVID-19 Response Fund this week.

The first £82,000 in grants from the Fund, established by Cumbria Community Foundation, focus on extending and expanding the capacity of charitable organisations that are providing support to those most vulnerable, specifically the elderly and those who have self-isolated.

Cumbria has already seen widespread community and voluntary sector support for the response to COVID-19, with the creation of many self-help groups, alongside a commitment from existing community emergency planning groups, and formal voluntary sector organisations who are working with the County Council and partners including District Councils and NHS.

The money awarded will support vulnerable and older people in their homes, providing food and medicines, provide equipment to support groups remotely working, such as Citizens Advice and carers organisations, offer online youth services for disadvantaged young people, and create a dedicated phone line to provide counselling to people who might be worried, isolated or anxious about the pandemic and need someone to talk to.

Birchall Trust received £2,168 to put its staff and volunteers through an online training programme so they can continue to offer counselling and therapy to survivors of rape and sexual abuse in South Cumbria and North Lancashire.

Chief Executive Officer, Karen Greenhow, said: “The training will ensure that all our counsellors and support staff are operating safely. They will learn and consider new ways of providing counselling over the phone and online and how they need to adapt their practice accordingly. The training will enable our staff to continue to provide the best quality service that we can, providing a vital lifeline to our clients during these challenging times.”

In most rural communities across Cumbria, the population is older than the national average, putting a higher percentage of the community at risk of COVID-19. This is the case across the Northern Fells region. The Northern Fells Group received £2,729 to expand its Lend a Hand service in response to the huge number of people self-isolating. The charity has delivered leaflets, recruited an additional 70 volunteers to pick up shopping and prescriptions, provide dog walking and help with its telephone befriending scheme.

The Lend a Hand service is already funded by Cumbria Community Foundation and provides practical support to residents such as the handy man service, social and domestic care and a medical loan scheme.

Northern Fells Group Fundraising Co-ordinator, Libby Graham said: “The response has been overwhelming and we are inundated with requests for help – particularly from the most vulnerable older residents in our catchment area. We work in a 200 square mile area with many of our users living in isolated households. Distances travelled to deliver help can be many miles.” Our catchment area incorporates seven parishes – Ireby & Uldale, Boltons, Westward & Rosley, Sebergham & Welton, Caldbeck, Castle Sowerby and Mungrisdale.”

Age UK West Cumbria received £10,000 to support its COVID-19 Community Helpdesk and Support service. A response team will support queries and requests for help via a dedicated helpline number staffed 8.30am to 4pm weekdays. The team will also provide a befriending service for those feeling lonely and isolated. The support service will offer a daily phone call for those who have little contact with anyone else. In addition to this, it will deliver food parcels if people are unable to leave their homes because of isolation and poor mobility. Many older people do not have the facility to book shopping deliveries and some are not be able to access food banks either.

Age UK West Cumbria Deputy Chief Executive Officer, Jane Mindar, said: “We want to make older people in West Cumbria feel supported as the COVID-19 crisis is very frightening, especially for those who are isolated and lonely. We want to connect people with services in their local area alongside offering telephone befriending to help people feel less isolated and stop this daunting time effecting their mental health.”

Residents in Appleby will receive help from the Appleby Emergency Response Group after it received £9,030. Volunteers are offering support to those who are self-isolating and do not have a network of family, friends or neighbours to help them. That support may change as the situation develops, but currently includes helping with organising shopping deliveries, collecting prescriptions, and supporting the local convenience store, ensuring deliveries are on the shelves as soon as possible.

WittWoo Photography

Appleby Emergency Response Group Co-ordinator, Caroline Dodgeon, said: “The funding will allow us to provide a robust and sustainable response to the people of Appleby. It will allow us the flexibility to change and adapt plans as the situation changes. We are dealing with a large increase in the number of people who wish to volunteer. We have set up a network of Street Wardens and cards offering help have been distributed to all properties in the town.”

Carer Support South Lakes is an independent, local charity and network partner of Carers Trust. It provides a range of services to support and enhance the lives of unpaid carers of all ages throughout South Lakeland. Carers are frequently isolated due to the demands of their caring role and this is only intensified by the social distancing that is now being imposed on the whole of the UK population as a result of the coronavirus.

The grant for £3,000 will help with IT equipment, to enable the charity to upgrade its current IT systems. This includes installing appropriate software for all its staff, trustees and volunteers and upgrading its existing server to enable it to have full remote access. The extra equipment will also enable the charity to provide appropriate support online and provide more counselling support to its carers and members of staff. Over the next 12 weeks, the charity will offer counselling over the phone to its clients through a network of volunteer counsellors, as well as to members of staff who are supporting carers in challenging situations.

Cumbria Community Foundation launched the Cumbria COVID-19 Response Fund with £100,000 of its own funds. Since then, almost £700,000 has been raised by local businesses, charitable trusts and individuals.

Chief Executive, Andy Beeforth, said: “Local closures, cancellations and limited social contact are profoundly impacting our way of life. Charitable organisations are leading the community response, working to continue, adapt, and even expand their services to help residents through this tumultuous time. They are on the front line, providing advice and guidance, food, and critical care for our most vulnerable neighbours.

“These initial grants will support the urgent and immediate needs of those most vulnerable and adversely affected by this unprecedented crisis.”

The Community Foundation expects to award further grants on a weekly basis to respond to emerging needs.

The Cumbria COVID-19 Response Fund is working alongside the National Emergencies Trust’s Coronavirus Appeal which is raising money nationally to financially support groups across the county. For more information about the Fund and how to donate click here.

For groups wanting to enquire about funding, they should click here or contact the grants team on

Cumbria COVID-19 Response Fund gets boost from national appeal

Cumbria Community Foundation is one of the 46 local community foundations across the country that will be distributing grants to front line charities to help them respond to those affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The National Emergencies Trust launched an appeal to raise funds to help community foundations to make those grants to local charities. With the nation’s businesses and major charitable trusts stepping forward, that appeal has raised almost £11m, and Cumbria Community Foundation has received a £50,000 share. That money will be used alongside the Cumbria COVID-19 Response Fund that the foundation administers which, due to the generous donations from charitable trusts and generous individuals, now stands at just over £500,000.

Chief Executive Officer of Cumbria Community Foundation Andy Beeforth said, “The national appeal launched by the National Emergencies Trust will distribute money raised through community foundations, including Cumbria Community Foundation. This funding will be in addition to grants we award from our own Cumbria Covid-19 Response Fund. The generosity shown so far will ensure that we get through this unprecedented time with the most vulnerable people in Cumbria cared for and supported.”

The Foundation has been inundated with enquiries for funding and the first grants will be distributed early next week. Those grants will be made to charitable projects across Cumbria that are supporting people affected by COVID-19, particularly those who are at risk from the virus, helping to keep them safe and supported in their homes, and reducing pressure on the NHS.

A number of applications have already been received from local community response groups. New and existing groups are supporting the community across Cumbria. With the help of a grant from the fund, one group in a rural area of 3,000 residents will offer support to those self-isolating. That support may change as the situation develops, but will include picking up shopping, posting mail, dog walking, collecting prescriptions, and making befriending phone calls.

Smaller groups are also applying; one application is for a ‘Chit Chat’ phone service for a Craft Group for the visually impaired. The COVID-19 virus restrictions mean that this vulnerable group cannot meet for their usual regular face-to-face sessions right now and this phone service will be an opportunity for them to maintain contact and combat isolation.

In response to COVID-19, the Foundation has already helped support the website: with a grant of £1,000. The website provides a central point to help coordinate volunteering efforts to support Cumbria residents who may need help. The website can help you find local organisations to register an interest with volunteering in your community.

The Foundation is aware that many people and businesses will be struggling financially, however, for those that are able and would like to donate to the Fund, they can visit or contact 01900 825760. The Fund is dedicated to Cumbria and provides a focus for charitable trusts, companies and other organisations who wish to support the community and charity response in the county.

For further information about The National Emergencies Trust appeal to raise funds to help local charities across the country please visit:

For groups wanting to enquire about funding, they should visit: or contact the grants team on

Half a million raised for Cumbria Covid-19 Response Fund

Cumbria Community Foundation launched the Cumbria COVID-19 Response Fund last week with £100,000 of its own funds. Since then, the total now stands at just over half a million.

Grant funders and charitable trusts in Cumbria have shown a sign of solidarity by collectively contributing to the Fund and an anonymous couple have donated £250,000.

With the over-70s and vulnerable being told to self-isolate to reduce the risk of them catching the virus, it puts even more pressure and demands on charities. To try and alleviate this pressure, the Fund will initially give priority to applications from charities supporting those considered to be the most vulnerable during this pandemic.

Francis C Scott Charitable Trust donated £50,000. John McGovern, Chair of Trustees said: “The virus may be invisible, but its impact will be seen and felt by many in Cumbria. We hope others will join us in providing support to Cumbria Community Foundation in its efforts to protect the most vulnerable.”

Sir John Fisher Foundation also donated £50,000. David Dawson, Executive Officer at Sir John Fisher Foundation, said: “By working in partnership with other Cumbrian funders, we’ll use our collective knowledge to reach the organisations helping vulnerable people on the ground.

“Our communities will be hit hard by the impact of coronavirus and they will need significant support over the next few months. We hope that our participation and contribution will increase the benefits the funding can bring to those who need it most and will serve to strengthen communities under pressure at this difficult time.”

Another £50,000 was donated by Copeland Community Fund. Board Member, David Moore, said: “Given the potential impact of the current situation on individuals and communities in Copeland, our Board made a unanimous decision to support the Cumbria COVID-19 Response Fund with a £50,000 donation for Copeland based community organisations.

“It is more important than ever that we collaborate as funders to ensure funding is swiftly made available, supporting delivery of vital support services to the most vulnerable members of our communities.”

The Cumbria COVID-19 Response Fund will work alongside the National Emergencies Trust’s Coronavirus Appeal which is raising money nationally to financially support groups across the county.

Andy Beeforth, CEO at Cumbria Community Foundation said: “We’re thrilled that our funding partners have made this commitment to the Fund, building on their already fantastic support in the community through their own grants. With this additional funding, we’ll be able to make more grants to reach the organisations helping vulnerable people on the ground. We expect to make the first grants within the week.”

For more information about the Fund and how to donate, visit

For groups wanting to enquire about funding, they should visit: or contact the grants team on

Funding available for overseas travel

Young people who are wanting to travel abroad and experience foreign culture can apply for funding towards the cost.

The Mary Grave Trust was set up in 1971 by Burton Dunglinson in memory of his mother, Mary Grave, who was from Maryport. Having worked in America in the 1920s, Mr Dunglinson was aware of the value of travel for young people.

The trust began working with Cumbria Community Foundation in 2005. It awards an average of £55,000 each year, supporting more than 70 young people, primarily from West Cumbria.

Young people aged 11-21 can apply for up to £1,200 if they are travelling abroad through educational or youth group trips, work experience or gap year activities. Priority is given to those living in Workington, Maryport and Whitehaven areas and is means-tested, meaning household income must be £594 or less per week.

Most grants fund school trips such as language trips to France and Spain or art and religious studies trips to New York. Other activities supported include work experience in Spain, peer education in The Gambia, a maths winter school in Singapore, an expedition up the Amazon and a guide exchange visit to Eastern Siberia.

Mark Bailey, Deputy Headteacher at Netherhall School, said: “I have organised more than 30 international trips over the last two decades and during that time, hundreds of our students have benefited from the support of the Mary Grave Trust. Seeing at first hand the seminal experiences gained by our students has been a true joy; our school cannot thank Cumbria Community Foundation enough for the support it has shown to our young people and the phenomenal experiences it has provided. The impact that the foreign tours have had on each and every student has been incredible.”

Year 13 student, Chloe Lambert, said: “Without the Mary Grave Trust, I wouldn’t have been able to visit New York and fulfil my dreams of going to such a magical city. What the Trust does is remarkable, and I will be forever grateful to it.”

Gary Higgs, Grants & Donor Services Officer at Cumbria Community Foundation, said: “The Mary Grave Trust, which is now worth £1.8 million, is a great example of local philanthropy and how one man has left a lasting legacy for local young people to enjoy for years to come.”

If you would like to apply for a grant, contact Cumbria Community Foundation on 01900 825760 or visit: Mary Grave Trust Fund

Over £89,000 awarded to help make a difference to Cumbrian communities

Community projects across the county have received a share of £89,000 to tackle issues around mental health, rural isolation, financial wellbeing and to improve access to sport and recreation.

26 charitable organisations received a share of the £77,144 at Cumbria Community Foundation’s recent grants panel. The money came from 24 grant making funds, administered by the Community Foundation, including those set up by the Cumberland and Westmorland Herald, the William Milburn Charitable Trust and Westmorland Family Community Fund.

18 people also received a share of 12,616 to help towards educational and vocational training fees.

The Lighthouse Community Mental Health Hub located at the rear of Stricklandgate House in Kendal can now provide a year of mental health support thanks to £3,500 from the Brian & Ann Clark Fund and Johnson Fund. The drop-in sessions are open to anyone wishing to maintain or improve their emotional or mental health.

Madeleine Iddon, Chair of Trustees said: “We provide a safe space for those in South Lakeland who may be struggling with their mental health or emotional wellbeing to drop-in, have a brew and a chat with trained peer support volunteers. This grant enables us to have stability in the lease of our hub, which acts as a home from home for many of our members.”

Penrith Cricket Sports and Social Club has 20 years of delivering high quality coaching. It was awarded £1,500 from the Rowan Fund and the Cumberland and Westmorland Herald Fund to support its volunteer expenses. This will increase the number of coaches and help deliver more sessions during both the winter and summer, and introduce female and disability sessions.

Andy Hall, Chairman, said: “We currently run nine teams and have plans to significantly increase the number of junior and senior teams, with women’s, girls and disability cricket being at the heart of the planned development over the next three years.

“To be able to maintain and significantly develop participation, we rely on volunteers giving their time to coach our players. The support of Cumbria Community Foundation is absolutely crucial to enabling us to develop and go a long way towards securing our long-term sustainability at the very heart of our local community.”

Other grants awarded include £5,500 to Kendal Gymnastics Club from the Castle Green Grassroots Fund, Cumbria Young People’s Grassroots Fund and the Fryer Grassroots Fund. The grant will help the club to relocate and expand into new premises. The club is extremely popular in the local region and more gymnasts wish to join than there is space available. The club wishes to set up a leadership academy for teenagers and adults to train to become a coach or judge.

Carlisle Society for the Blind received £5,000 from Abbeyfield Carlisle Society Over 55 Community First Fund and Janetta Topsy Laidlaw Trust Fund. The grant will support its regular, monthly home visiting service to 80 members with different levels of visual impairment and sight loss across the Carlisle district. This support to predominantly elderly people includes, general advice, demonstration of household adaptations, help in reading mail and writing letters.

Ellen Clements, Senior Grants & Donor Services Officer at Cumbria Community Foundation, said: “Thanks to the generosity of our fundholders we are able to support many worthy community organisations around the county. These organisations are vital for tackling issues affecting our communities.”

The closing date for Cumbria Community Foundation’s next main grants panel is 27th September 2019. For more information, visit or call a member of the grants team on 01900 825760.


CUMBRIA Community Foundation’s Flood Recovery Appeal has given FIVE MILLION POUNDS to people across the county affected by December’s devastating floods.

More than 4,000 applications have been processed. 2,500 households have benefited from £4 million and 85 community organisations have had a share of £1 million.

The organisation to receive the five millionth pound is Churches Together. It was awarded a grant of more than £50,000 to run the Carlisle Flood Recovery drop-in centre on English Street. It offers advice and guidance to those who have been affected by the floods. Staff at the centre can also signpost to other agencies, to make sure people are helped directly.

David Robinson, President of Churches Together in Carlisle, said: “We are delighted to be able to offer this vital support for the next twelve months. Paul Hendy and his team are very keen to hear from as many people as possible. It is wonderful that the public have been so generous to Flood Appeal. It’s true to say that community spirit is alive and well in Cumbria.”

In the immediate aftermath of the floods, the priority was to give urgent financial support to those whose homes had been affected by the flooding – to help them pay for temporary accommodation, buy necessaries such as clothing, and so on. In the second phase people are moving back into their homes, and need much more substantial grants to cover things like carpets, tables and chairs, beds and bedding, white goods and kitchen units.

Cumbria Community Foundation Chief Executive, Andy Beeforth, said: “We want anyone who has been affected by the floods to approach us and apply for a grant to help them rebuild their lives, even if they have already had a grant. The money is there to help people in need across the county and we would like to reach as many people as possible.

“We know there are still more than 1,500 households unable to return home. However, this statistic does not reflect the true situation as some people remained living in their flooded homes, particularly those who were uninsured, and those that have returned home report still having to deal with a number of issues.”

The third phase of the Appeal is to support households implement resistance and resilience measures in their home, awarding almost £100,000 to date.

Cockermouth resident Rob was flooded, causing a substantial amount of damage to his home. He said: “We ended up knee deep in water and lost lots of personal possessions. We applied for the government’s Property Level Resilience (PLR) grant to protect our property, should it happen again. This helped pay for the majority of the flood defence scheme although it did not cover the full costs. A grant from the Cumbria Flood Recovery Appeal enabled me to complete the scheme and cover the shortfall.”

Funding will also support neighbours who wish to ‘pool’ their resilience grants to implement local neighbourhood resistance schemes, in collaboration with the Environment Agency, County and District Councils.

Millhouse Flood Action Group have been allocated just under £8,000 to work with the Environment Agency and develop an improvement plan for the area in Hesket Newmarket. The project includes raising, lengthening and re-enforcing the bund around the beck; works to the bank and flood calming measures. In addition to this, residents from the village also received individual grants towards resistance and resilience measures for their own homes.

Philippa Groves
Philippa Groves, Treasurer for the Millhouse Flood Action Group

Philippa Groves, Treasurer for the group, said: “Unfortunately, no one thing is going to stop the floods but with this help we can build up areas which will all help with the bigger picture. Together with all these measures and the work of the Environment Agency we hope we can protect the village from flooding in the future.”

Community groups across the county are also being urged to apply for funding to cover the costs of community-led flood defence work for public benefit, as well as those providing advice, guidance and emotional support to people affected by the floods.

The trustees of the Foundation wish to express renewed thanks to the thousands of generous people and organisations that donated to the appeal and also recognise the role of the government in providing match funding of £4.8m.

To find out more about the Cumbria Flood Recovery Appeal, or to make an application, visit the Flood Appeal page and complete an online application form. Alternatively, you can call the Foundation on 01900 825760 or email

Cultural Fund

The Fund is the result of an initiative by Miss Mary Burkett and friends to help individuals in the arts. Its aim is to encourage individuals of excellence in their chosen field of the arts. Individuals are prioritised due to the comparative lack of funding available to them.

How much can you apply for?
• There is no maximum or minimum grant level, but the average grant is expected to be £500

Who can apply?
• Individuals resident in the county of Cumbria.

Please refer to Cultural Fund Guidelines for full criteria before downloading the individual application forms.