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Reaching Communities buildings

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Funding size:
See programme details
Total available:
Around £40 million awarded to date
Application deadline:

What's it all about?

The Reaching Communities programme has two strands.

The buildings strand of Reaching Communities provides funding for land and buildings projects costing more than £100,000. It can also provide revenue funding to help to get the building running and deliver project activities.

For more information please read the Reaching Communities buildings stage one guidance notes (PDF 158KB)

If you are applying for revenue funding or funding for a land or buildings project of less than £100,000, please see the Reaching Communities page

There are currently no deadlines for applications. However, the programme is regularly reviewed and we encourage you to apply as soon as you are ready.

So that this funding makes the biggest difference to those most in need, we are targeting it at buildings or sites based in the most deprived ‘Lower Super Output Areas’ in England. To check whether your project is eligible use the eligibility checker. Read the Reaching Community buildings eligibility guidance notes (PDF 42KB)  for more information.

We do however; recognise that geographical boundaries may not give us the full story so if your project is ineligible, but based close to an eligible area, we may consider making an exception and inviting you to apply. Read the Reaching Communities buildings exceptions process (PDF 66KB) for more information.

The application process

We want to let you know quickly whether or not we can fund your project. First of all you need to check your eligibility. If you are able to apply, contact our Big Advice line before you complete a Stage One application form. Once we receive your form we will let you know whether your project is one that we might consider funding within six weeks.

If you are invited to apply, we will send you a Stage Two application form which you will have three months to complete. In all cases we will contact you to give an estimated timescale for our decision. We will usually call you to discuss your application further and will get back to you with our decision within four months. If you are successful at Stage Two we may consider giving you development funding to help you with your plans to develop your project. Finally, we will ask you to submit your Stage Three application within six months, which will include a business plan and a capital project delivery plan, and we will let you know our final decision within four months.

Read the Reaching Communities buildings guidance notes (PDF 158KB) to make sure your project stands a good chance of success.

What are we looking for?

Every project we fund must respond to need. Need is the term we use to describe a problem or issue, or situation where something needs to change to make things better for a person, group of people or environment. Projects should focus on the needs of beneficiaries and how the services and activities delivered from the building will address these needs, not the need for the building itself or the improvements to the building.

All projects should involve the people who will benefit from the project in planning and running the project, and must achieve one or more of the following outcomes:

  • People have better chances in life, with better access to training and development to improve their life skills,
  • Stronger communities, with more active citizens, working together to tackle their problems,
  • Improved rural and urban environments, which communities are better able to access and enjoy,
  • Healthier and more active people and communities.

Before you apply you must contact us first to discuss your application. Call the Big Advice line on 0345 4 10 20 30.

The NAVCA website has details of your local funding advisors at its member’s directory page. You may benefit from speaking to a funding adviser. They can help you plan your project and give you guidance about how to fill in an application form.

Who can apply?

You can apply if our eligibility checker confirms your eligibility and you are:

  • An unincorporated association, incorporated association, trust or company set up and registered as a charity,
  • An unincorporated association set up as a voluntary and community group,
  • A community interest company,
  • A not-for-profit company limited by guarantee,
  • A community benefit society,
  • A town or parish council.

We will not fund:

  • Individuals and sole traders.
  • Profit-making organisations.
  • Other types of statutory organisations.
  • Projects previously funded under our Community Buildings programme.

Projects must help people and communities in England.

Grants will not normally be available to groups applying on behalf of other organisations, in poor financial health, with poor history of managing grants, or established outside of the UK.

If you are a branch, or related to, a large organisation that may have some legal responsibility for any grant awarded, they must know about your application.

What can you apply for?

Building Capabilities

From 15 October 2014 all stage three applicants to Reaching Communities buildings will be offered an optional sum of money to use to develop the organisation’s knowledge, skills and confidence. We want to support you to deliver your project to maximum effect. This offer is currently a trial and will initially run for two years. Full details on this offer will be supplied with stage three guidance.

Further details

If you would like to know more about our approach to supporting organisations to increase skills and confidence please visit the building capacity pages. When looking for organisations to support you to build your capabilities, you may want to consider those on the Skills Platform. The Skills Platform enables you to search and compare skills support and sort by budget or theme when looking for training, consultancy or informal help.

Reaching Communities funds projects that help people and communities most in need.

You can apply for projects that will replace or improve existing buildings, but we will only fund the purchase of property or construction of new buildings in exceptional circumstances. For more information see the Reaching Communities buildings Stage One guidance notes.

You can ask us for revenue funding to help launch your building and to ensure that you have sufficient funds in place to deliver the project activities when the building work is complete. We can fund your project for a total of five years, including the period of building work needed before the building can be opened for use by your beneficiaries.

You can make more than one application at any one time, but each application must be for a different project.

While we welcome applications from religious organisations, we do not fund religious activities.

We do not fund party political activities.

A grant will not cover costs you have to pay before we give you a grant.

A grant will not cover costs which someone else is paying for in cash or in kind.

For a full list of what you can apply for, read the Reaching Communities buildings Stage One guidance notes (PDF 158KB)

Essential application documents – you must read/complete these before you apply

  • Reaching Communities buildings eligibility guide
  • Reaching Communities buildings Guidance notes
  • Reaching Communities buildings exception process
  • Reaching Communities Stage One application form

Related documents – you may find it helpful to read these documents before you apply.

  • Reaching Communities buildings – Designing and running a community building
  • Reaching Communities buildings – How to commission a design team
  • Reaching Communities buildings – Tips for a success capital project
  • Reaching Communities buildings – glossary of capital terms
  • Reaching Communities buildings – sources of further capital advice
  • Reaching Communities buildings – Duties for grant holders


Organisation Types

  • Voluntary or community organisation
  • Public sector organisation