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Grants and External Funding

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Open 4 Business Portal

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To support our businesses during the current COVID-19 crisis, and into the recovery phase, Carlisle City Council is providing free access to Open 4 Business. Open4Business is designed to support businesses locate relevant up to date funding opportunities.

The portal is updated regularly with new local, regional and national funding announcements and can be easily searched by businesses on the basis of their industry, region and business size. The portal then provides information on how to apply for funding and contact funders directly. To search for grants for your business you will first need to register on the Open4Business website


Grants and Funding News

Margaret Dobson Further Education Trust - General Grants

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Fund Information

Funding body:

The Margaret Dobson Further Education Trust

Maximum value:

£ 10,000

Application deadline:



The Margaret Dobson Further Education Trust was founded from an investment by the late Mrs Margaret Dobson. It was intended as an attempt by her to help young people and others with learning difficulties and other special needs to fulfil their potential, both in educational and practical skills. The Trust seeks to achieve these objectives by making grants to other charities that are providing services with similar aims.

Objectives of Fund

The Trust aims to make grants to registered UK charities that provide support to young adults with learning disabilities, after they leave school, with the aim or giving them practical skills to prepare them to be able to lead independent lives.

Value Notes

Grants are usually awarded in the range of £3,000 to £10,000.

Requests for multiple-year funding will be considered. (Subsequent years' funding is conditional on the success and timely reporting of the first/previous year of the project.)

Match Funding Restrictions

The Trustees like to see that effort has been, or is being made, to source funding from elsewhere.

Who Can Apply

Grants are available for registered charities, Charitable Incorporated Organisations or Community Interest Companies.

To be eligible for funding organisations must have an annual turnover of less than £1 million.

Grants will not be made to organisations that have received funding in the previous year except where a specific project has been awarded funding over a period of more than one year.



Terms and Conditions

Grant recipients are expected to submit a report for the Trustees' meeting in the year following the grant award. The deadline for submitting reports will usually be May each year following award of the grant.


The following are not eligible for funding:

  • Individuals.

  • Schools.

  • General applications that have no specific purpose other than to increase the financial resources available to the charity.

  • Organisations that are overtly religious.

  • Organisations that were supported in the previous year, unless for multi-year grants agreed in advance.

  • Retrospective funding.

Eligible Expenditure

Priority will be given to projects that meet at least two of the following criteria:

  • Designed for, and aimed, at people with learning disabilities aged 18 to 25 outside the school environment. Those age 16+ who are not in formal education, training or work will also be considered.  

  • Offer the opportunity for people to gain transferable life skills, which may include how to access support.     

  • Offer employment experience.     

  • Build in accredited training.   

  • Enable social interaction with other people and allow self-expression and confidence-building.     

  • Applications from smaller organisations that are demonstrating an entrepreneurial approach to a locally identified issue.

The Trustees are also interested in applications from organisations that support activities enabling people with learning disabilities, and their carers, to understand better life skills and the social care system.

Applicants are more likely to be successful if they can demonstrate that

  • People with learning disabilities, their families and carers are consulted in the design and running of the project.

  • They are working in partnership with relevant local organisations and service providers.

  • They have thought about the opportunities for participants to make use of what they have learnt once the programme has ended.

  • They have been actively seeking other sources of funding for the project.

  • There will be a demand for the service to be provided.

Applications will be judged on the following criteria:

  • Types of challenges being addressed by the project.

  • The number of people with a learning disability supported.       

  • Evidence that the project is required and fulfils the need identified.

  • Evidence of how applicants have consulted with people who could benefit from the project.

  • Information on the demonstrable difference the project will make to the lives of people it is aimed at. 

  • Cost of the project and the amount of funding the organisation has found from other sources.  

  • Details of any contributions from parent organisations. 

  • Evidence of the project's sustainability after the Margaret Dobson Further Education Trust funding has finished.

  • Information on how the impact of the project will be evaluated.

How To Apply

The deadline for applications is 31 March 2019.

Applications will be considered at the trustees' annual meeting (usually taking place in June).

Applications must be submitted electronically and include:

  • A completed cover sheet (which can be downloaded from the Trust’s website).

  • Two page application including information as detailed in the guidelines.

  • A copy of the organisation’s latest accounts.

  • A Business Plan (if the organisation is new).

All applications should be emailed to the Trust’s Secretary.

Useful documents & links

Useful Links

Addresses and contacts

For further information on how to obtain this grant locally, please contact the following:

  1. Sharon Shortland 
    The Margaret Dobson Further Education Trust 
    Laurel House 
    Old Main Road 
    Fleet Hargate 
    PE12 8LH 
    Tel: 01406 420153 
    Email: [email protected]

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