How it works


We understand that this is an immensely challenging time for charities and community groups. They are now operating within very different circumstances since the COVID-19 lockdown and we are keen to be as flexible as can be in our support of our existing grant applicants.

Once the immediate crisis has passed, there will be a lengthy period of recovery and rebuilding. This is a complex and changing situation and as a Foundation, we need to direct money quickly and to where it appears to be most needed. For the next twelve months, we are prioritising funding projects and organisations playing a vital role in helping and supporting communities through the COVID-19 pandemic, as identified in our COVID-19 Grant Making Strategy.

We will assess applications according to the criteria of the relevant fund and to our current grant making priorities, while considering the impact of COVID-19 on the organisation and the people who are supported. We continue to maintain a focus on those that can demonstrate a clear need for their services and financial viability over the twelve months. This is to ensure our limited funds are spent giving the greatest impact to communities affected by both the current issues and aftermath of the pandemic. For more information, click here.

When we assess your application we are looking for evidence that it is a good quality proposal that has a strong social purpose and that you are the right organisation to carry it out. We use the application form, supporting information and what you tell us, to decide this.

We will assess your application according to the criteria of the relevant fund or in the case of the Cumbria Fund, to our current grant making priorities as identified in the Cumbria Revealed report:

• Improving the lives of Disadvantaged Children and Families
• Improving the life skills, education, employability and enterprise of disadvantaged people
• Supporting Vulnerable Older People
• Improving the health and well-being of the people of Cumbria
• Strengthening and supporting fragile communities
• Enabling people to access arts, sports, culture, heritage and the environment

When your application is received it will be acknowledged within 5 working days. If the application form is not fully completed or you have not sent us the additional information we ask for, we may send it back to you or keep it on hold until the additional information is received.

Complete applications are reviewed by a Grants & Donor Services Officer who may contact you by telephone or visit you.

If the application is eligible for funding, it is normally presented to one of our grants committees, made up of a group of local people with a good general knowledge of local communities and the issues facing those from disadvantaged backgrounds. In some instances, we may consult with fundholders who wish to be involved in the decision-making process.

If your project is particularly urgent we may be able to operate a ‘fast track’ process. Please contact us for more information.

Once we have made a decision we will inform you within 5 working days.

We cannot make grants to all the applications we receive. Your proposal may be worthwhile but we just might not have the right fund or enough money to award a grant. If your application is turned down, we will tell you why it was not successful. Our Complaints, Reconsideration and Appeals Procedure for Grant Making has information on how to make an appeal.

If you work with children and young people or vulnerable adults we will ask you about your safeguarding arrangements.  Our policy is that all groups applying for a grant who work with children and young people or vulnerable adults must have an appropriate policy before any grant is paid.

If successful, grants are paid directly into the grant recipient’s bank account. We may occasionally make grant payments by cheque.