Community Chest Grants

What is the Community Chest?

The Community Chest is grant funding available to voluntary and community sector groups, charities and public sector bodies wishing to further improve quality of life in South Cambridgeshire.

Grant applications are discussed at the Grants Advisory Committee.

The GrantGrabber Service is now available as a self-serve facility for any voluntary and community groups and Parish Councils wishing to search for funding opportunities for community projects.

The scheme enables users to search online for a wide range of funding sources and other information.

Apply online for a Community Chest Grant


Applicants must:

  • Either be a non-profit group or organisation (including Community Interest Companies, CIC) based in South Cambridgeshire or benefiting South Cambridgeshire residents, OR be a public sector body with a demonstrable community focus (individuals and businesses are not eligible)
  • Be a Parish Council or Parish Meeting with fewer than 160 registered electors* Exemption - Parish Councils of any size can apply for funding for costs involved in the creation of a Community-Led Plan (Parish Plan). This does not cover the costs of delivering projects emerging from a Community-led Plan (further details below).
    • Parish Councils of any size can also apply for biodiversity grants through this fund provided that they are not already in receipt of a grant from the Council’s Zero Carbon Communities grant fund.
    • Parish Councils of any size can apply for grants that provide a benefit to those affected by the cost-of-living crisis.
  • Have a written constitution or mission statement
  • Have an elected committee or representative steering group
  • Be able to provide an up to date copy of their accounts and any relevant protection policies

If you have questions about these criteria, please contact us using the details below.  

If your organisation does not have a written constitution, mission statement and/or relevant protection policies please contact Cambridge Council for Voluntary Service for advice in meeting these requirements.  Please call 01223 464 696 or email

*Please note:

The Committee reserves the right to supersede this clause should the Parish Council or Parish Meeting show good cause, for example:

  1. a) The Parish Council or Parish Meeting have multiple settlements and the application pertains to any one of these which satisfies the 160-elector threshold or
    b) Registered electors are within 10% of the threshold

The community activity or project must:

  • Meet local need and leave a legacy for the community
  • Ensure equality of access 

Help us deliver 1 or more of the following aims:

  • Promote healthy and active communities
  • Enable inclusive communities
  • Develop skills
  • Enhance the natural environment/a sustainable increase in local biodiversity
  • Deliver community engagement through the creation or refreshing of a Community-led Plan
  • Provide a benefit to those affected by the cost-of-living crisis


The activity or project should be one of the following:

  • Improvements to community buildings and spaces (for example, village halls/pavilions/play areas, and so forth)
  • Repairs to Historic Buildings/Monuments/Memorials
  • Equipment/Capital Purchase
  • Materials
  • ‘Start-up’ costs (may include training of staff/volunteers, hall hire and other revenue costs)
  • Costs involved with undertaking and creating or refreshing of a Community-Led Plan (resulting projects will only receive funding where they would have been eligible for the Community Chest anyway)
  • Regarding cost-of-living projects, examples could include -

    • repair cafés where the local community can help in getting household items fixed for free
    • Timebanking projects (an exchange-based work trading system in which hours are the currency, instead of money)
    • lunch clubs for those in need (excludes the cost of food)
    • Community support initiatives that provide food/ activities/ support services/ educate individuals on reducing food waste and cooking low-cost meals
    • setting up/running a group or charity where people can obtain free furniture, clothing, food, toys. Free, impartial legal guidance can be found on the Business Companion website
    • establishing or building the capacity of food hubs, food banks, or community fridges
    • Capital costs needed to set up a warm hub (excluding warm hubs run by Cambridgeshire ACRE and any ongoing revenue costs, for example, heating costs)
  • For biodiversity projects: 
    • The purchase and planting of native trees
    • Hedgerows, wildflower meadows or other vegetation in appropriate and suitable locations and their ongoing maintenance
    • The construction and erection of bird and bat boxes in suitable locations
    • The creation or improvement of wildlife habitats (terrestrial or aquatic)
    • The improvement of existing habitat
  • On-going revenue costs or overheads (for example: salaries, rent, advertising, promotional materials). There are 2 exceptions to this:

        - Exception 1 - The creation of Community-led Plans (revenue costs associated with the resulting projects will not be funded)              - Exception 2 - Cost-of-living projects (revenue costs cannot be used to cover the cost of food or the ongoing costs needed to                 run a warm hub, such as heating costs)

  • Projects that replace funding by other public sector bodies, including parish councils (for example: youth services, highways)
  • Projects that have not received the support of all local District Councillor(s) for the ward/s concerned. Please ensure when contacting your local District Councillor(s) that they are all provided with full details of your project, or a copy of your application form
  • Costs associated with Neighbourhood Watch schemes
  • Costs associated with Community Speedwatch schemes, or other traffic initiatives
  • Items that would only benefit ‘individuals’ and not a group (for example: sports kits)
  • Non-native flower tubs

The maximum award is £2,000 in any single financial year (April to March) and can be for 100% of project costs, unless the initiative is on parish council land, in which case a 50% financial contribution from the parish council is expected. 

If a group is awarded funding of less than £2,000 in any single financial year, an application can be made again within the same year for extra funding, providing the total allocation for that year does not exceed £2,000.

If a group is awarded funding (up to and including £2,000) for any of the Community Chest themes - shown in the explanatory table below - in any single financial year, an application can be made again within the same year for up to and including £2,000 (for funding of other Community Chest themes).

If a group is awarded funding (up to and including £2,000) for any of the Community Chest themes in any single financial year, applications can be made to any other Council funded grants within the same financial year, and vice versa.

If there is high demand for funding, it may mean that the District Council is only able to make a contribution to your project. The Council reserves the right to prioritise based on: funding available, size of electorate, parish precept, indices of deprivation, number and type of applications received at any given time, priorities for the financial year and value for money. Eligibility does not guarantee grant funding. 

Subject to availability of funds, successful applicants will be funded after each Grant's Advisory Committee (GAC) meeting. Applications will need to be received by the seventh day of any given month to be considered at the Grant's Advisory Committee meeting within the same month. This also applies at the end of each financial year - applications received after 7 March will be held over and considered within the new financial year (at April GAC), along with any held over from the March meeting itself. 


We will always ask applicants to seek a green option when purchasing items for their projects and this must be evidenced within the application.

For example, a group may be looking to purchase a new minibus for their community. We would expect the group to evidence and include market research with their application demonstrating that a similar electrically powered vehicle has been considered. However, if the electric alternative is not within price range, or would not be fit for purpose this must be explained before we would consider contributing towards an alternative.

For biodiversity projects: planting of trees, hedgerows, wildflower meadows or other vegetation must be native. The construction and erection of bird and bat boxes must be in suitable locations. 

Natural Cambridgeshire have produced a useful Local Nature Recovery Toolkit which provides guidance, advice and support for Communities wanting to create nature recovery plans.

  • A copy of your organisation’s constitution or mission statement
  • A copy of your latest accounts (audited if available)
  • A quote for the community activity or project
  • A copy of your safeguarding policy
  • A copy of any correspondence from your local District Councillor(s) showing they are supportive of your project
  • A bank statement for the account you wish the funds to be paid into. Statement but be dated within the last month
  • Applications for funding towards the creation of Community-led Plans that are not made by the Parish Council itself should demonstrate that the Parish Council is supportive of the application

For biodiversity projects please include:

  • A plan of the proposed work, including a project map and project outcomes
  • A timeline of the proposed work indicating mileposts and delivery date
  • A brief management plan which describes how the project will be sustainable

For Community-led Plan applications, details should be supplied of any funding being allocated by the Parish Council to the creation of the Plan.

In addition, the following will be required if relevant to the project:

  • Appropriate protection policies: children, young people, vulnerable adults
  • Public Rights of Way consent from landowner

Any other relevant material that would support your application

If successful, the applicant will receive the grant payment once we have received acknowledgement of the grant offer and acceptance of the terms and conditions.

Groups that are awarded a grant will be expected to comply with the following conditions as a minimum:

  • Funding must only be used for the agreed purpose and spent within 12-months of the award being made (unless otherwise agreed in writing)
  • Any publicity must acknowledge the award provided
  • Unused grant must be returned to South Cambridgeshire District Council (SCDC)
  • An end of project evaluation must be submitted to us within 3-months of project completion. Details about this are available on our website
  • Defibrillators: Only the cost of defibrillators will be funded through the Community Chest Grant scheme and the associated accessories and ongoing maintenance/training (the provision of which the Committee will want assurance) will be funded by the applicant. Defibrillators must be located where they can be accessed by the public at all times
  • Where infrastructure improvements are funded through the Scheme, applicants will be expected to demonstrate that the same organisation will be purchasing, owning and maintaining the equipment/items

For biodiversity projects:

  • The project must deliver a sustainable increase in local biodiversity, known as Biodiversity Net Gain. An increase means that you should be able to demonstrate positive change in biodiversity from pre-project conditions (for example: number of trees, number of square metres of land - either created or improved)
  • Sustainability means that it should persist over time and not be a temporary change

Any award will not be means tested, but applicants will be expected to have sought other means of local funding, especially from the parish council who may have funds available through planning developments (S106) or through its precept (S137).

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Amount awarded


January 2023

Croydon Reading Room


Funding towards repairs and restoration of The Reading Room


Disability Huntingdonshire Dish


Monthly advice service to support South Cambs residents




Planting and rewilding in Swavesey area


Bourn Sports Club 


Upgrade and replace old floodlights making them more energy efficient


Cambridge Online


Purchasing new tablets and smart phones to further existing projects and reach more clients in South Cambs


CraftsShed Bar Hill


New shed and awning required due to relocation


Friends of Histon & Impington Community

(HI Friends)


Funding towards Wellbeing Festival 22 April – 8 May


Melbourn Amateur Dramatics Society (MADS)


Lightweight, portable, and foldable stage


Gamlingay Leisure (Community Gym and MUGA)


Purchase of a refurbished treadmill for community gym


Friends of Duxford Green Spaces


Adding to boundary hedge round the allotments, installation of bird and bat boxes


Over Youth Café


Start-up costs to provide safe space and opportunities to young people


Eltisley Parish Council


Village information leaflets for residents


Magpas Air Ambulance


Ongoing funding for Magpas Air Ambulance in South Cambs area


Girton Bowls Club


Replacement of 12 bowls collectors


Fullbourn Forum


Replacement of community raised herb bed


Let's Run Girls Ltd


Start-up cost for running group in Duxford


Rampton Tea Club


New projector and amplification system


Eco Whittlesford


Create seven nature trails around village, which will be signposted by QR codes


Meldreth Village Hall Trustees


Improvements to land adjacent to the main hall


Bar Hill Allotment Society


Provide new shed and security bar lock

June 2022

Bar Hill Cricket Club


Flat sheet cricket covers


Coton Football Club


Additional Storage container


Cottenham United Colts FC


Portable football goal posts


Longstanton Grasshoppers Cricket Club


Higher safety fence around pitch


Cogwheel Counselling


Help with furnishing new rooms for counselling at new premises


Sawston Youth Drama Ltd


Replacing defective theatre light fittings


Girton Cottontails Preschool


Build undercover area for the children to play under


Cambridge Sport Lakes Trust


Kit and bench seating – Wild Minds project


The Papworth Team Ministry


Summer club for senior citizens


Waterbeach Parish Council


Update of play equipment


Carlton Parish Council


Litter picking equipment


Shepreth Parish Council


Creation of an orchid garden


Elsworth Pre-school


Storage and new equipment


Fowlmere Recreation Ground & Village Hall


Improvements to community space


Duxford Community Centre Events


Biodiversity - The planting of an oak tree (Autumn)


Abington History Group (AHG)


Storage for archived materials


Cambridgeshire Search and Rescue (CamSAR)


Kit purchase and training


Hope Against Poverty CIC


Christmas Hamper Project – Nominations given for 50 residents identified as needing extra help over the Christmas period 


Cambridge Past, Present & Future


Biodiversity - Create a new garden area at Wandlebury Country Park


Meldreth, Shepreth and Foxton Community Rail Partnership


Improvements on underpass at Meldreth Station – Improve the lighting in the underpass, followed by a community based project to install new artwork and ground work to control the vegetation


Whittlesford United Reformed Church


Installation of a community Bicycle Repair Station for public use in the village


Willingham Community Plan Group


Preparation of a Community Led Plan, report on surveys, to be followed by assistance in implementing wishes of villagers


Ickleton Cricket Club


Ball stop netting


Willingham Community Plan Group


Community Led Plan. To prepare questionnaire, distribute, collect, analyse results and prepare reports.

For further information please see our Community-Led Plan toolkit page or email us on

The Community Chest is made up of 4 streams of funding:

Community Chest funding: Community Chest £58,000

Who can apply?
Community Group (including CIC): Yes
Parish Council or Parish Meeting with fewer than 160 registered electors: Yes
Parish Council of any size: No

Community Chest funding: Biodiversity Grants £10,000

Who can apply?
Community Group (including CIC): Yes
Parish Council or Parish Meeting with fewer than 160 registered electors: Yes
Parish Council of any size: Yes

Community Chest funding: Community-Led Plans £45,780

Who can apply?
Community Group (including CIC): Yes
Parish Council or Parish Meeting with fewer than 160 registered electors: Yes
Parish Council of any size: Yes

Community Chest funding: Cost-Of-Living £18,468.08

Who can apply?

Community Group (including CIC): Yes
Parish Council or Parish Meeting with fewer than 160 registered electors: Yes
Parish Council of any size: Yes