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Last updated on 31 October 2018
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School types: All · School phases: All

Your selection of the latest funding and grant opportunities specific to rural or small schools, many with quick application processes for time-pressed senior leaders.

Income streams that make the most of your community

Increase your fundraising potential by harnessing the support of everyone in your local community, including local businesses. Ask parents at your school to share schemes like these with family and friends who may live further afield but can still offer their support.

  • GiveAsYouLive - an online fundraising platform which donates a percentage of someone's online shopping spend to a chosen charity (e.g. your school)
  • Funds4School - co-ordinate charity bag collections from your school and receive money based on the total weight of the goods collected
  • Empties Please - run ink cartridge recycling from your school and receive money for the cartridges collected
  • Your school lottery - a national lottery scheme where your school receives a percentage of the money. There is a national weekly top prize of £25,000, and someone from your school community also wins a weekly prize

General funding scheme

Organisation: BlueSpark Foundation 

Purpose: grants for small-scale projects that improve the education and development of young people - see what sorts of projects it supports here

Amount available: up to £5,000

Deadline: you can apply at any time

To apply: apply online here

Building repair and maintenance

Organisation: Trusthouse Charitable Foundation Community Centres and Village Halls Fund 

Purpose: to help renovate and maintain buildings that function as community spaces in rural communities 

Amount available: a maximum amount isn't specified, but the annual accounts provide a breakdown of the amounts awarded previously. They range from £2,500 to £100,000

Deadline: applications are accepted all year round

To apply: take an eligibility check (it asks you to read the guidelines first). If you're eligible, fill out an online application form. It requires detailed descriptions of your community, and the project you're running in the building that the grant would help you maintain

Organisation: Screwfix Foundation

Purpose: repair, maintenance and construction projects on community buildings

Amount available: up to £5,000

Deadline: applications are accepted all year round, and will be reviewed on a quarterly basis (February, May, August and November)

To apply: it's a simple online form that requires information about your school and details about what project you'd like help with

Organisation: B&Q community re-use scheme 

Purpose: receive products and tools that are “unsellable" in stores (don't worry - this doesn't include dangerous items)

Deadline: you can apply all year round

To apply: contact your local store directly (use the storefinder if you’re not sure you have one) and speak to a duty manager to find out more

Breakfast clubs

Organisation: The Greggs Foundation

Purpose: funding to run a breakfast club for primary schools in England and Wales where at least 40% of pupils at the school are eligible for free school meals (FSM), you can demonstrate a commitment to engaging parents or other volunteers, and the breakfast club will be offered for free 

Amount available: no specified amount, but you will receive a contribution towards the cost of running a breakfast club at your school

Deadline: there's no application deadline, but there is a waiting list for new clubs

To apply: fill out the online form. There are 3 pages - school details, main contact person, and information about your school

Organisation: Magic Breakfast 

Purpose: provides free breakfasts to primary schools where either 35% or more of pupils are eligible for FSM, or 50% of pupils are recorded as ever 6 FSM

Amount available: no specified amount, but you will receive a contribution towards the cost of running a breakfast club at your school

Deadline: there's currently a waiting list, but you can still express your interest for when a place becomes available

To apply: download and complete a 2 page form, which asks for basic information about your school, your pupil premium figures and (if applicable) details of your current breakfast club

Organisation: Kellogg's

Purpose: grants to help fund breakfast clubs - priority is given to schools where 40% or more children are eligible for pupil premium funding and/or FSM

Amount available: £1,000

Deadline: you can apply at any time, and you should hear within 1 month if you've been successful

To apply: apply online - you'll need to provide some information about your school, your pupil premium and FSM figures, and your breakfast club

Library books

Organisation: The Foyle School Library Scheme

Purpose: grants to state-funded schools to purchase reading books for libraries

Amount available: between £1,000 and £10,000

Deadline: applications are accepted at any time

To apply: submit your application online - you'll need some supporting information, including a project budget, your most recent Ofsted report and your latest school budget

There's also a main grants scheme that schools may be considered for (see the guidelines here and contact the grants team if you need more information)

Organisation: Siobhan Dowd Trust 

Purpose: funding for schools to go to a nearby bookshop and choose books for their pupils

Amount available: £2,000 is allocated every month

Deadline: you can apply at any time and will be considered in that month's funding round

To apply: you just need to email the trust director explaining what you do to encourage a love of reading, as well as your school's FSM and pupil premium percentages 

Organisation: Oxford Owl (part of the University of Oxford)

Purpose: free eBooks and resources for primary schools to support children’s learning, mostly focused around improving literacy

To apply: simply sign up on the website

Freebies for your school

Organisation: Into Film

Purpose: provides you with everything you need to run a film club, including access to a catalogue of over 3,000 free films and resources and support to help children make their own films. They also offer curriculum-linked resources for all Key Stages

Deadline: available all year round

To apply: simply sign up on the website

Organisation: The Dogs Trust 

Purpose: free workshops delivered at your school and linked to the curriculum, using dogs as the theme

To apply: find your nearest trainer by searching your area on the map, then fill in a short online form to book your workshop

Organisation: Royal Shakespeare Company

Purpose: screen their performances for free in your school, with student activities in between acts and a live Q&A with actors from the company

Deadline: Screenings take place all year round on specified dates

To apply: Register for the next broadcast here

Organisation: Premier League Primary Stars

Purpose: Free resources for PE, PSHE, maths and English, themed around sport

To apply: simply register on the website

Organisation: English Heritage 

Purpose: you can book a free self-led visit to one of its properties - there are around 400 across the country

Deadline: visits are available all year round, although you need to book at least 7 days in advance of your visit

To apply: find your preferred location on the list, and then contact the education bookings team

Projects for disadvantaged children

Organisation:  Cash for Kids

Purpose: funding for schools supporting children who are disabled or disadvantaged. Funding is awarded on a local basis across 22 areas in the UK

Amount available: varies by location, but the average grant awarded is around £3,000

Deadline: varies by location

To apply: find your location on the map and follow the links to your relevant site, where there will be an application form

Organisation:The YHA's educational breaks programme 

Purpose: support to groups running breaks for children eligible for the pupil premium and facing social challenges

Amount available: up to half the cost of the programme for a maximum of 10 pupils

Deadline: not specified

To apply: complete an application form for an advertised educational break 

Organisation: BBC Children in Need 

Purpose: funding for projects that will make a difference to the lives of disadvantaged young people

Amount available: up to £10,000 per year for up to 3 years

Deadline: there are a series of deadlines throughout the year, which you can see here. You must spend your grant within a year of it being awarded

To apply: you need to complete a lengthy application form, but there's a lot of supporting guidance to help you

Environmental projects

Organisation: The Ernest Cook Trust (ECT) 

Purpose: programmes to encourage pupils' interest in the countryside and environment, and 'learning from the land'

Amount available: up to £12,000 through the large grants programme, and up to £4,000 through the small grants programme

Deadline: for the large grants programme, submit your application by 31st January to be considered at the spring trustees' meeting, and 31st July to be considered at the autumn trustees' meeting. For the small grants programme, make sure you apply at least 6 months ahead of your project start date

To apply: there's a 2-page application form which must be completed by the headteacher. It requires your school and project details. You're asked to write up to 800 words in total, and to provide project costings 

Organisation: The Naturesave Trust 

Purpose: funds environmental projects which specifically address the promotion and implementation of sustainable development, environmental improvement or general 'green' issues

Amount available: not specified, but you can see a list of previously-funded projects as a guide. For example, schools have been given £400 to improve a wildlife area, and £1000 to create an outdoor learning area

Deadline: applications are accepted at any time, and it will take around 6 to 8 weeks for a decision to be made 

To apply: complete the 3-page application form

Organisation: Solar for Schools

Purpose: helps to finance solar panels 

Amount available: depends on your project

Deadline: you can sign up all year round

To apply: follow the process outlined here. Read more on the website, and the scheme's FAQs to decide whether it's right for you

Organisation: The Woodland Trust 

Purpose: apply for trees to plant in your grounds

Deadline: successful schools will receive their packs of trees in March 2019

To apply: apply from the page linked above. You'll need to know the grid reference of the land you wish to plant, and have permission from the legal landowner

Organisation: Grow Your Own Potatoes

Purpose: primary schools can get free potato growing kids to teach pupils about potatoes and growing their own food

Deadline: 25th January

To apply: register here

Community projects

Organisation: Tesco Bags of Help 

Purpose: the scheme selects community projects to receive funds - 3 projects will be voted on by customers in the nearest Tesco stores

Amount available: first place wins up to £4,000, second place up to £2,000 and third place up to £1,000

Deadline: you can apply at any time

To apply: follow the steps at the link above to find your nearest store and then take a short eligibility quiz – if you meet the criteria you’ll be given a link to the application form

Organisation: Co-op Local Community Fund 

Purpose: allows you to bid for funds from the profits of the Co-operative Society

Amount available: up to £5,000

Deadline: 25th January

To apply: check your eligibility and apply online here (you have to be a member of the society for 6 months first, but this only costs you £1)

Organisation: OneFamily 

Purpose: grants to support individuals, or projects that benefit the community

Amount available: you can apply for personal grants of up to £1,000, community grants of up to £5,000, and the community awards which give 3 grants of up to £5,000, £10,000 and £25,000

Deadline: You can apply for personal grants all year round, the community grants have funding rounds throughout the year, and the community awards are run annually (dates for 2018 yet to be announced)

To apply: You need to be a OneFamily customer to apply for any of the grants, and can apply from any of the pages linked above

Organisation: The Big Lottery Fund's Reaching Communities England

Purpose: funds community improvement projects

Amount available: over £10,000 for up to 5 years

Deadline: applications can be submitted at any time

To apply: submit a brief outline of your idea by using an online form, booking a phone call, emailing or sending a video. If your idea is accepted, you'll be contacted by funding officer who will help you submit a full proposal with more specific details

Further funding opportunities

The schemes above focus on the areas that our members in rural and small schools have told us they need support with. To see further funding opportunities as well as the latest funding news and national deals, take a look at our monthly funds and freebies highlights.


We worked with FundEd to write this article. FundEd is an income generation publication for schools, which includes a grants database and expert bid-writing guidance.

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