Edinburgh Local

Community Grants guidance notes

Please read these guidance notes carefully, even if you have applied to this scheme before, as some things have changed since your last application.

What if I can’t apply using the web form?

If you have trouble completing the form online, you can download the Word copy of the application form (available from the homepage of the web form) and email the completed form to local@ed.ac.uk.

Web form

What if I don’t have email?

If you do not have access to email, you can post your application to: Community Engagement Team, Department for Social Responsibility & Sustainability, The University of Edinburgh, The Boilerhouse, High School Yards, Edinburgh EH1 1LT.   


If you require application materials in an alternative format, please email local@ed.ac.uk or call 0131 651 5000, or ask a friend or family member to do so for you. We can send you a printed copy of the form by post on request. If you need any help completing the form, we are happy to try and help – just contact us. We are happy to talk with you online, over the phone or in person (at a mutually suitable venue). 

What is the purpose of the scheme?

The purpose of the scheme is to:   

  1. Have a positive social impact for people living somewhere in the City of Edinburgh, East Lothian, Midlothian, West Lothian, Scottish Borders and/or Fife by contributing to one or more of these United Nations Sustainable Development Goals

  2. For larger grants only (this point does not apply to the micro-grant scheme), develop positive relationships between the University and your community organisation. Having a positive social impact is given greater weight when applications are reviewed.   

How can I develop positive relationships between the University and my community organisation? (Larger grants only)

This could be practical, like having University staff and students involved with delivering your project. Maybe University staff or students could be among the residents who benefit from your project? Or maybe your project could achieve something less tangible. Maybe your staff will feel more able to reach out to the University after your project ends as a result of getting to know us? Maybe your project’s beneficiaries will be more likely to consider the University as an employer or place to study in future?  

If your organisation doesn’t currently have any positive relationship with the University, this is a chance to start building one. If you already have a relationship with the University, your application needs to show how you intend to develop this further.  

It isn’t essential to have confirmed involvement from University staff or students at the application stage. We are looking for a realistic idea. 

Support for your application

Online information sessions

For this round, we are offering three online information sessions. 

Join Petra and Sarah from the University's Community Team to find out more about applying for a community grant. One hour long. Held on Zoom.

Thursday 28 March, midday Thursday 11 April, midday Tuesday 16 April, 6pm

Individual support

If you have any questions not answered on this page or in the information sessions, or can't attend, we can help.

If you have questions or need assistance with any part of the application process, we are happy to speak to you on the phone, over Teams or Zoom, or even meet you in person. (If meeting in person, a mutually suitable venue can be agreed.) We allow up to 20-30 minutes per meeting. We may be able to speak for longer or more than once if needed and our staff have time.

To arrange a call, please email local@ed.ac.uk or call 0131 651 5000 to arrange a time slot. When contacting us, please let us know if you need extra assistance to meet with us, such as British Sign Language video interpreting, text relay or a meeting venue with level access. 

You will be speaking with a member of the University’s Community Team. If the Community Team member gives you significant advice and is involved with scoring applications, they will not be given your application to mark.

Community Team

You can contact us about micro-grants at any time.

How much money can I apply for?

There are two levels of funding available under this scheme.

In both cases, these sums are the maximum amounts you can apply for, and you are welcome to apply for less. We may also choose to offer smaller sums of money than are requested.

Up to £5,000 (spring and autumn)

There are two deadlines each year (one in the spring, one in the autumn) to which you can currently apply for up to £5,000, inclusive of VAT.

Community Grant Scheme

Up to £500 (year-round)

Additionally, you can apply for up to £500 (inclusive of VAT) at any time of year through our micro-grant scheme.

Micro-grant scheme

How much money is available? 

This scheme has about £55,000 to spend each year. Around £5,000 of this is ring-fenced for micro-grant applications. The rest of the money will be spent through the two fixed deadlines. 

What won’t you fund? 

The aim of the scheme is to fund stand-alone projects. We will not fund:  

  • Standard for-profit organisations.  

  • Organisations with an annual income of more than £1 million.  

  • Individuals. 

  • Statutory bodies, including schools. We will fund organisations that work with statutory bodies and activities happening on the premises of statutory bodies (e.g., activities at after-school clubs). We will also fund Community Councils as these are voluntary organisations (albeit set up by statute). 

  • Organisations without an organisational bank account.  

  • Companies without a governing document. Governing documents must be supplied along with your application if you’re a company. 

  • Applications led by members of staff from any university, including the University of Edinburgh. Students from any local university can apply but must do so through an organisation (e.g., student society) and must be working with and for local residents, including residents who are not currently students. 

  • Organisations whose only charitable objective is the promotion of religious or political beliefs. We check this against your OSCR registration, not what’s on your website. 

  • Staff time that isn’t specifically for delivering the project in question, i.e. we will not fund staff involved with the general day-to-day running of your organisation (e.g. receptionists, janitors, cleaners). We will fund staff already employed by your organisation for any time being spent delivering the project. You are also welcome to recruit new staff.   

  • General running costs of a building or organisation, e.g. rent, utilities.   

  • Straight continuations of projects funded under a previous grants round. You can apply to us again if your project has been changed in some major way, i.e. you’re genuinely trying out something new. 

  • Renovations or other building work.  

  • Applications where there isn’t evidence of a will to engage positively with the University of Edinburgh. 

  • Organisations in financial difficulties.  

What if I need funding from other funders as well? 

We will consider funding projects where you need to get funding from other organisations as well as us. However, there must be a reasonable likelihood that you will have secured other funding within six months of us making our award to you. We will not pay out funding until you’ve confirmed you have secured other funding. We reserve the right to cancel your award if you don’t secure other funding within six months.

What if I want to work with the University but don’t have any contacts? 

We encourage all applicants to search the University’s website to find out more about the specialisms and interests of our staff and students. We also encourage you to take a look at the site of our Students’ Association. If you want advice on developing a relationship with the University, arrange a meeting with the Community Team (0131 651 5000, local@ed.ac.uk).

University website

Students’ Association

Can I apply if my organisation has had funding from you before? 


Can I reapply if my application was unsuccessful in the past? 

Yes, but make sure you consult the latest scheme guidance as both guidelines and the application form may have changed. 

How many grants will you make each year? 

We plan to fund between 10 and 12 main grant projects and between 10 and 12 micro-grant projects each year. Particularly for our main grants, demand is always much greater than the budget available.    

When should I apply? 

There are two deadlines each year, in the spring and the second in the autumn. In addition, you can apply for up to £500 at any time of year via our micro-grant scheme.

Micro-grant scheme

Please register for our e-newsletter and/or follow our social media for updates. 





How can I increase my chances of success? 

We are more likely to fund your project if it scores highly against the two purposes of the scheme, plus:  

  • Takes appropriate steps to look after the safety and wellbeing of all the people involved.  

  • Is realistic, with a clear plan for delivery.   

  • Has an itemised budget which considers value for money. 

  • Is clear about how local residents are likely to benefit.

Who will decide if my application gets funded? 

For larger grants, a small panel of University staff involved in communications, social responsibility and community engagement will judge bids alongside someone from a local external organisation that represents the third sector. Panel members are required to declare conflicts of interest and do not mark applications where these arise. 

For micro-grants, at least two members of the Community Team will mark your application.  

When will I hear if my application has been funded? 

We aim to let you know within six weeks after the closing date for submitting applications. If you apply for up to £500 at any time of year via our micro-grant scheme, we aim to let you know within one month.  

When can my project start?

For projects funded by the Community Grants Scheme, you should aim to start your project around four months after the deadline.

For projects funded by the Micro-grant Scheme, you should aim to start your project one to two months after your application has been successful. 

When should my project end? 

We wouldn’t usually expect a project to last more than six months. Please explain why in your application if you think your project will take longer than this.  

What terms and conditions apply if I accept funding from the University? 

Please read and agree to the terms and conditions.

Terms and conditions

The things people often miss are: 

  • You will need to complete a final report within one month of your project ending. 

  • When taking pictures or films of your project, please try and get consent for the University to use these publicly in relevant communications. 

  • You need to keep in touch with us, especially if your project is not going to plan and you need to change it. We usually check in with you half-way through your project. 

  • You need to acknowledge the University’s support in any materials published about the project (we can provide you with a template).  

What happens when my project ends? 

You will need to complete a final report web form within one month of your project ending. You do not need to provide proof of expenditure, but you do need to provide an itemised list of what you spent the money on. If it looks like you will have unspent money when your project ends, please get in touch with us to discuss options. We prefer not to take money back where possible.  

Final report web form

How long will you keep my personal data for? 

For unsuccessful applications, we will keep personal data included in your application (including your name and contact details) for up to five years, then delete it. We will keep a copy of the rest of your application indefinitely. For successful applications, we will keep your name and contact details on our records indefinitely, but will delete your signature and bank account details after five years.  

Read more about how we use your personal data

What if my questions have not been answered here? 

Please contact the University’s Community Team on local@ed.ac.uk or 0131 651 5000.