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Funding Activities

Jumping in a sunny field

Funding is an important part of setting up any activity. The funding makes sure an activity can carry on going. Even activities that are 100% run by volunteers often need some funding, for things like trips, events and room hire.

Funds usually come from three main sources:

  • The people doing the activity, as a subscription, contribution or fee.
  • Other people in the community, like parents or local groups. 
  • Funds from organisations, including charities, companies and government.

All these sources of funding have advantages and disadvantages. This page looks at the main three, then considers a few other options.


Getting people (or their parents!) to pay for an activity is one way to fund an activity.

Pros: people are more likely to attend when they have paid, you know that people want to do the activity

Cons: you can exclude people who can't afford to pay, you need to be able to process fees

Other people or groups in your community

Getting groups like your Parish Council, Rotary Club, or other groups or individuals in your community to fund an activity is a great way for them to show they value young people in their community and for you to make local connections.

Pros: Engaging your community, making links with other groups, making young people a positive force in improving your area

Cons: They usually have a lot of different demands, and they will have their own ideas abut what the funding should be spent on

Funding Bodies

Funding bodies include local and national goverments, charities, funds set up companies and many more. These groups look at projects and ideas and decide which to fund.

Pros: You need to write an application. so you really think it through beforehand, there are all sorts of different funds available, some give you chances to link up with other groups doing similar things

Cons: You need a bank account for your organisation, you need to meet the criteria for funding and you will need to report back on how you spent the grant

Here are some funds that are available:

For Young People

  • Big Lottery Fund The National Lottery provides many different grants, including ones specifically for young people
  • Thames Valley Police Applications are now invited from local voluntary and community groups who contribute towards the PCC's objective of 'Reducing Crime by Reducing Reoffending'. 
  • The Princes Trust has a list of funding options available across the UK

N.B. We are unable to offer support or advice for any funding; please contact the grant-giving organisations for more information and advice.

National funding

You can also use a search facility, such as the ones on Grant Finder rather than look at each charity or organisation individually.

  • Comic Relief – the well-known charity that aims to improve the lives of people who are in need and vulnerable
  • Children in Need – funding to help projects aimed at children in need
  • Paul Hamilton Foundation – an independent grant-making organisation that aims to improve people’s lives
  • Heritage Lottery Fund – helps to maintain buildings, parks and other places

Local Funding

  • Short Breaks Small Grant Programme - funding for young disabled people. Details at the bottom of the page under the 'Funding' section
  • Community Games Funding provides materials and support for community-based active events (not necessarily sports!)
  • The Dave Thorne Bursary – administered by the Oxfordshire Outdoor Learning Trust. Small grants to support participation in outdoor activities at the Oxfordshire County Council outdoor centres, where the young person would not otherwise be able to afford to participate. Application is to the Head of Centre via your school.

  • The Exuberant Trust - local charity which supports young people in Oxfordshire who are developing their interest in the arts: music, drama, dance, art & crafts, multi-media, etc. and who are in need of a small one-off grant (maximum £500) for a specific project or activity.

  • Funding and Grants - info and links from Oxfordshire County Council about where to find and apply for funding opportunities

  • OYAP – offers creative opportunities to young people most at risk
  • OCVA – Oxfordshire Community and Voluntary Action provides information, advice and support for the community and voluntary sectors in Oxfordshire.
  • Oxfordshire Community Foundation encourages individuals, companies and other organisations to donate to local projects that seek to improve life for the most vulnerable in society in the county.
  • Oxford City Council has committed £50,000 for a new grants programme. The youth ambition programme will support community & voluntary groups working with children and young people across the city.
  • West Oxfordshire District Council Community Grants and Funding these are very small grants (up to £500) for arts and heritage events, available to constituted groups only

Crowd Funding

Crowdfunding is provided by many different websites, and allows many people to make small contributions to your project. Many organisations and groups use this successfully to raise funds, often for creative and interesting projects.

Record managed by Activities Oxfordshire