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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

Esmee Fairbairn Foundation - Grants

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Fund Information

Funding body:

Esmee Fairbairn Foundation

Maximum value:


Application deadline:

None specified


Funding is provided by the Esmee Fairbairn Foundation which was established in 1961 by Ian Fairbairn as a memorial to his wife Esmée. Today it is one of the largest independent grant-making foundations in the UK. It aims to improve the quality of life throughout the UK and takes pride in supporting work that might otherwise be considered difficult to fund.

Objectives of Fund

The Foundation aims to improve the quality of life throughout the UK and takes pride in supporting work that might otherwise be considered difficult to fund.

The Foundation offers grants to organisations doing legally charitable work in the UK across the following range of priority areas:

  • The arts.

  • Children and young people.

  • The environment.

  • Food.

  • Social change.

Value Notes

Applicants should apply for the amount that they need. The Foundation does not set limits and makes grants across a fairly wide spectrum of sizes.

In the past grants have ranged from £2,000 to £1.5 million with the support lasting from one to five years. Funding can be used for core or project costs, including staff salaries and overheads.

Small grants of £60,000 or less are also available for one-off projects, or for testing out new ideas and collaborations (general running costs are not supported at this scale).

Match Funding Restrictions

Match funding is not required. However, it may help to have funding commitments from other sources and a credible investment raising plan.

Who Can Apply

Charities and not-for-profit organisations with a regular annual turnover of at least £50,000, that are properly constituted and involved in legally charitable work in the UK.

Applicants must be able to demonstrate a track record to successfully deliver the work.

Eligible Expenditure 

The funding is for projects that address the Foundation's funding priorities which are as follows:

The Arts

The Foundation 'recognises' the power of culture to bring communities together and give opportunity and visibility to those who may otherwise be marginalised. It wants to support the artistic and financial sustainability of the sector and make sure that the widest range of people can participate.

Funding priorities are as follows:

  • Art with a social impact.

  • Supporting emerging talent.

  • Organisations at a pivotal point.

Children and Young People

The Foundation 'believes' in the potential of every young person, and it funds organisations that seek to challenge the inequalities faced by those young people (age 0-25) who are currently missing out. The Foundation is keen to see the views of children and young people at the heart of organisations, and young people empowered to take action.

Funding priorities are as follows:

  • Improving support for disadvantaged children and young people.

  • The rights of vulnerable children and young people.

  • Addressing root causes of low educational attainment and challenging behaviour.

  • Empowering young leaders.

  • Young people leaving care.

The Environment

The Foundation 'believes' that people are the key to tackling the environmental challenges that society faces today. Funding is for organisations that can move, engage and inform people, and connect with the bigger picture of policy-making, social justice, or quality of life.

Funding priorities are as follows:

  • Connecting people with nature.

  • Countering the effects of damaging activity.

  • Nature conservation on land and at sea.

  • Lesser known plants, animals and organisms.

Social Change

The Foundation backs work that contributes to a just and inclusive society that benefits all. The funding is for ambitious and challenging work that puts those who have been marginalised at the heart of creating change. The Foundation aims to give people the power to develop their own voices, shine new light on areas of need and challenge the cultures, systems and behaviours that stand in the way of change.

Funding priorities are as follows:

  • Participation – marginalised and excluded individuals and groups.

  • Place – revitalising community life.

  • Injustice – systemic change around injustice and inequality.


The Foundation 'believes' there are ways to produce higher quality food that are better for people, the environment and livestock. It supports community involvement in food production, the development of a more positive policy position for sustainable food and diets, and reduced use of harmful pesticides, herbicides, antibiotics and fossil fuels.

Funding priorities are as follows:

  • Innovation in alternative approaches.

  • Food and wellbeing.

  • Working towards a more coherent food sector.

How To Apply

This is a rolling programme and applications may be made at any time.

The Foundation currently receives about 2,000 first-stage applications each year, of which only one in ten is successful. As a result, it has created the online eligibility quiz to ensure the applicant's request for funding fits one of the funding priorities.

Applicants should read the guidance notes which can be downloaded from the Foundation's website.

The Foundation operates a two stage application process. First-stage application forms are available to complete online at the Foundation's website.

Successful applicants will then be invited to complete a second-stage application form.

Useful documents & links

Useful Links

Addresses and contacts

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

  1. Enquiries
    Esmee Fairbairn Foundation
    Kings Place
    90 York Way
    N1 9AG
    Tel: 020 7812 3700
    Email: [email protected]

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