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 at any time of the day.

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.
  • 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


The activity or project should be one of the following:

  • Improvements to community buildings and spaces (i.e. village halls/pavilions/play areas etc)
  • 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)

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). Exception: The creation of Community-led Plans (revenue costs associated with the resulting projects will not be funded)
  • 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 the group (for example, sports kits)
  • Projects that have previously received Community Chest or Zero Carbon Communities grant funding in the same financial year
  • Non-native flower tubs

The maximum award is £2,000 in any single financial year (April-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 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. 

Groups can apply at any time during the financial year until the funding is fully allocated for that period. Additional funding has been allocated until October 2023 for the creation of Community-led Plans.

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 South Cambridgeshire District Council within 3-months of project completion. Details about this are available on the SCDC 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

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).

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

Explanatory table

The Community Chest is made up of 3 streams of funding, see below:

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Community Chest funding

Community Group (including CIC)

Parish Council or Parish Meeting with fewer than 160 registered electors

Parish Council of any size

Community Chest £61,768.83




Biodiversity Grants £20,000




Community-Led Plans £48,000




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