Which approach to take?

DIY – for groups forming their own organisation. Many new groups have found their own funding despite the main problem of your group having to establish credibility. Who are you?

It is reasonable for a funder to be cautious with an unknown, newly-formed group with no track-record – even the biggest small grants funder Awards For All waits until you can send your first three months bank statements. The best start ia to approach people or organisations who do know you and to look for smallish amounts. Larger funders will then be able to see that local people/organisations having faith in you. Help is more likely to be given to those who help themselves including getting commitments from the members and supporters. For how much you might need see the helpsheet on ‘the Shed Economy’.

Have it done for you: Another way is to seek the support of an established  organisation that has a track-record of raising funds. The most likely outcome of this approach is that they will adopt you as a project of their organisation and raise the funds which will be paid to them and for which they will remain responsible. This would mean them having to agree and oversee any spending and making sure the Shed achieved the outcomes specified in the funding bid. How they then work with your group will be down to the people involved. Initially very little responsibility may be given to the group but as trust grows supervision might become quite ‘arm’s length’.

Funding sources   There are a wide range of possible sources including the public and voluntary sectors, businesses and charitable trusts. Here’s where other Sheds have secured funding (from a 2015 national survey) which should give you ideas for your own area:                                                                     

Business and business-related                                                                                              Local companies –wood, tools, free signage, building materials, property, cash.                                                                                                                                             Branches of larger companies e.g.Local bank branch, supermarkets etc                         Rotary, Women’s Lion Clubs, Roundtable, Lions,

Public organisations and related

Local Authority, the Health Board, the Police Crime Commissioner, Dalbeattie Community Initiative, Durham Health Trust, Dunhill Medical Foundation, Community Foundation of Surrey, Kent High Weald Partnership, a Housing Association

Local and county councillors (they each have their own individual fund), the Mayor’s Fund, Parish Council and local community council

Voluntary Sector

Church Urban Fund, the Stroke Association, Travel Smart, the Change Fund, the Climate Change Fund, local Age UK affilialate, Mind SE Herts, Diocesan Mission Development Fund, 3rd Sector 1st , Sefton Community Fund, Resident’s Association

Grant-giving Trusts

Small local trusts plus larger ones like Sobell, Garfield Weston.

There are several online sources aiming to inform you of every source.               free funding website developed by NCVO with the support of Office of the Third Sector. Regular free mailings.                                  You can register and carry out FREE grant searches free trial                                                        subscribe to this highly recommended funding newsletter

We recomend you contact your local authority’s officer with responsibility for the voluntary sector to get a picture of local resources including grants (they may have their own Community Fund) as well as your local Council of Voluntary Service or equivalent (an agency set up to help voluntary groups). Public Health Departments of local authorities are beginning to show more interest and have funded work in Kent and W. Sussex. One Shed founder received start-up funding from, a fund for social entrepreneurs.

Applying for Funds: Sheds can appeal widely: look for sources aiming to improve health, social welfare, elderly people, unemployed people, or the environment. One Shed has even been funded for carbon reduction!!   Public bodies usually set out clearly what their objectives and criteria are but trusts each have their own ‘personality’ and ways of working which you will need to research. The most important actions are to understand what the fund managers want to fund, read their questions very carefully and be honest. You’ll need to show that you are going to fulfil the funders objectives, that you have a well-thought out plan and that you have the capacity to deliver.

A no-nonsense introduction to fundraising from trusts and foundations can be found at

For advice on small-scale fundraising e. g sponsored events etc see


Leave a comment