Social prescribing needs investment for communities to thrive, and this starts at a hyper local level. Small groups and organisations know the community they serve best but the process for applying for, and obtaining, funding can be confusing and it’s often difficult to know where to start.
You do not necessarily need to be a registered charity to apply for social prescribing funding, but for many grants you will need to provide a full year’s accounts when applying. It’s therefore a good idea to try and secure a few smaller grants first. This will demonstrate that you know how to handle the application process and can manage and deliver a social prescribing project.
Funders can also often ask what funding you have previously had, so it is worth building up connections gradually on a local level with a view to eventually securing funding.
It’s also worth developing a clear summary of what you are hoping to deliver and provide through your charity or project. For example, how many people do you plan to help? Who are you trying to reach or support? Can you be specific about the types of activities you plan to offer? What are you already doing or providing to meet the needs you have identified? You can research how other small charities and organisations do this to help develop your ideas of what this could look like.
Where can I apply for social prescribing funding?
Smaller grants may be easier initially, for example the National Lottery has grants of up to £10,000.
It is always advisable to research what is already available in your local area and who is funding similar types or sizes of projects to yours. Contact some of the organisations in your area who are already supporting the same people you are looking to reach. For example, if your project is for elderly people or people with dementia, approach Age UK in your region or try contacting your local council.
Smaller pots of funding might be available from retail chains and groups, such as supermarkets. It is a good idea to research these online first. Most of the big supermarkets, as well as other retail chains, will have community sections on their websites with details of what charitable support they might offer. Remember, they will receive numerous requests for support throughout the year. They might provide support on a local level, so it’s recommended that you build a relationship with your store in the first instance to establish this support.
Spend some time researching a variety of funding opportunities and make sure to sign up to mailing lists to hear about grants and funding you could be eligible for.
There are plenty of useful websites and free funding directories you can use to look for potential opportunities in your area, including:
- NCVO: A community for charities, voluntary organisations and community groups in England which provides lots of free practical tips and step-by-step guides on how to find the money you need for your community group, organisation or charity.
- My Funding Central: A database of grant funding and social investment sources. It’s free to register for organisations with an annual income below £30k.
- UK Community Foundations: The national membership and support organisation listing individual community foundations. Use your postcode to search their network for funders in your local area.
- Grants Online: Lists funding opportunities and links. It is updated on a daily basis.
- Charity Excellence Framework: It takes just a few minutes to register to access this database which provides access to a large resources base, including a free funding finder (which is helpful given that lots of funding directories charge subscriptions).
- The Rotary Foundation
- Good Finance: A website to help charities and social enterprises navigate the world of social investment, which includes a social investor directory and tool to find out if social investment is right for your organisation.
NASP is committed to boosting investment for social prescribing by 2026, you can find out more about how we’re working to achieve this here.