Guidance notes for applicants

Our Preserving Communities programme supports established charities and not-for-profit organisations develop a solid foundation for the future. In particular, we are looking for organisations that are embedded within their communities and are addressing local needs, where our funding will allow them to build sustainability for the long term.

This programme doesn’t fund the set-up costs of organisations or fund organisations that are only just starting to deliver services or activities, but is designed to fund existing work with a proven track record, rather than new work.

These funding guidelines are for our Preserving Communities programme only. They outline the type of organisations and services we are looking to fund and aim to help you decide whether you are eligible to apply for a grant.

Who can apply?

Registered charities and not-for-profit organisations with an annual income of between £50k and £3m that are primarily working with communities in those areas in which the partners and employees of Ashfords live and work. Ashfords has offices in Bristol, Exeter, London, Plymouth, Taunton and Tiverton. In exceptional circumstances we will consider applications from organisations with income up to £5m.

We are looking to fund established organisations (at least 18 months old and that have published their first set of annual accounts) with a track record. We are looking for applicants that have the necessary expertise and experience and are well placed to deliver the work for which funding is sought.

We make grants to fund charitable work. We primarily fund registered charities but are willing to make grants to other types of not for profit organisations, such as Community Interest Companies (CICs) or constituted community groups, if you can explain how you would use our funding for charitable purposes.

Please note: if your organisation is not a registered charity we will require you to submit a constitution that shows your charitable purpose. If you are a CIC we will require you to provide details of how your constitution prevents funds being removed from the organisation (asset lock).

What you can apply for

We provide grant funding for charitable activities; we do not provide loans or social finance.

The amount requested must be between £2,500 and £5,000 per year. The maximum length of funding that can be requested is three years.

Within this range, we encourage organisations to apply for the amount and length of funding that they need, and that makes sense in the context of the application. (We will not consider making a grant that is equivalent to more than 50% of the current annual running costs of an organisation.)

We can provide funding for either running costs, which may include salaries, overheads and day to day running costs, or for specific projects or areas of work, including small capital projects or expenditure.

Your application should include, so far as possible, a full breakdown of what you will use the grant for. We are looking to fund specific expenditure that you would otherwise find difficult to meet. 

When can you apply?

Applications can be submitted at any time. There are no deadlines.

We assess applications as they are received. It will take up to six months from submission for you to hear the outcome, although you will know within eight weeks if your application is going forward to be considered.


What do we not fund:

We do not accept applications from organisations which have:

  • Unrestricted reserves that exceed the organisation's reserves policy
  • An annual income below £50,000 or above £3M, although in very exceptional circumstances we are willing to consider applications from organisations with an income up to £5m
  • Applied to us unsuccessfully within the previous 12 months.

We will not support

  • Work that is not legally charitable
  • Work that has already taken place
  • Proposals for grants of more than 50% of the annual running costs of your organisation
  • Start-up costs, pilot projects or organisations that do not yet have a track record of service delivery, or a year of annual accounts
  • Contributions towards fundraising appeals
  • One-off holidays, overseas travel or events (such as festivals, conferences, exhibitions and community events)
  • Organisations that do not provide direct services to clients (such as umbrella, second tier or grant-making organisations)
  • Pressure groups or campaigning organisations
  • Animal charities
  • Friends of associations
  • Religious promotion
  • Research grants
  • Repayment of loans


How to apply:

Read our Guidelines for the Preserving Communities Programme carefully to make sure you are eligible to apply.

If you have any problems, please visit the Frequently Asked Questions section of our website.

How to submit an application

Once you are happy that your organisation and the project you are seeking funding for is eligible, follow the Make an Application link on the Preserving Communities page of our website. Please remember to save and attach the form to the email before you submit it to the Ashfords Foundation team.

After successful submission, you will receive an automatic email acknowledging your application. If you have not heard from us by email after two weeks, please contact us at to check whether your application has arrived.

Applications must be made using our application form and submitted through the website. Only completed online applications that have been submitted through the Ashfords Foundation website will be considered. Please do not email or post ad hoc funding requests.

What happens when we receive your application

Initial Assessment

We will email you to acknowledge receipt within two weeks.

All eligible applications are assessed. It can take up to eight weeks from the receipt of the application to conduct an assessment (although in practice you will often hear from us sooner than this). During the initial assessment we may contact you if we need to clarify any information.

Shortlisted Applications

Shortlisted applicants may be contacted for additional information including, if relevant, your organisation’s safeguarding policy, income projections, budget and fundraising strategy.

In order to minimise delay in processing your application, we ask you to provide this information within two weeks, so please ensure that you are prepared to provide the information requested.

Final Decisions

The final decisions about whether to award a grant are made six monthly in January and July.

A letter notifying you of the outcome will be sent to you within two weeks of the decision being made.

Please note that we cannot guarantee your application will go to a particular meeting as this is dependent on the number of applications we receive.

If your application progresses this far it can take up to six months from when you apply to hear the outcome of an application.

Once a decision has been made

What happens if your application is successful?

If your application is successful we will write to you with an offer letter outlining the terms and conditions of your grant and the next steps. We will do this within two weeks of a decision being made.

What happens if your application is unsuccessful?

If we decline your application for funding you cannot make another application until at least one year after the date you were notified of the decision.

All decisions are final and we cannot revisit any decision.