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Grants and External Funding

Please use the menu below to access information on grants and external funding news and resources. 

grants and external funding


Open 4 Business Portal

Open 4 business logo image

Carlisle City Council is providing local businesses with free access to its local business support and grant portal provided by Open4Business. This is tailored for the Carlisle area and includes local, regional and national schemes.

Business can also search for funding relevant to their size and sector. To use the portal, you will first need to register with Open4Business.


Grants and Funding

National Composites Centre - SME Boost Programme

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Funding is available to small and medium-sized enterprises in the UK to help them develop composites products.  The purpose of the programme is to make innovative composites research and development as straightforward as possible for the UK's smaller companies, supporting activities such as feasibility studies to see how composites can help improve an idea, or upscaling an existing product to meet future requirements.  Match funding of up to £25,000 is available through the programme.  Support may be accessed at any time.

Back2Business Grant Programme

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Grants available to ethnically diverse-owned small businesses that have been impacted by COVID-19 and lockdown restrictions in the UK.  Applications must be submitted by the deadline of 31 December 2021.

McCarthy Stone Foundation - Small Grants Programme

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Support available to charities for community projects that focus on the health and wellbeing of older people, intergenerational projects and regeneration of the local community.  The Foundation supports: older people facing isolation, loneliness, or poor health; young people who may be falling behind personally and academically; and communities in need of regeneration.

BBC Children in Need’s Main Grants 2021 Programme Opens for Applications

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Funding for not-for-profit organisations that are working with disadvantaged children and young people aged up to 18 years and living in the UK.  The deadline for applications is 11:30 am on 23 August 2021 for decisions in late January 2022.

Applications are encouraged for:

  • Project delivery (including staffing and salary costs)
  • Creative solutions to deliver much needed services
  • Organisational costs to support stability and adaptation. (Including the day-to-day running costs of an organisation as opposed to specific project costs)

Zinc Venture Builder for Social Impact Entrepreneurs - Deadline Extended - 29 July 2021

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UK entrepreneurs setting up ‘mission-driven’ scalable companies, addressing various social challenges, can access financial support to drive their new ventures.  The final deadline for applications has been extended to 29 July 2021.   Zinc has identified nine opportunity for innovation within its mission:

  • Strong and supportive families
  • Access to therapies
  • Thriving at school
  • Healthy behaviours
  • Positive beliefs, emotions and skills 
  • Fairer life chances
  • Targeted interventions on high-risk behaviours and conditions
  • Positive recreation
  • Relationships and sex

Local Connections Fund Accepting Applications for Round 2

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Funding for small local voluntary, community and social enterprise organisations in England that are working to reduce loneliness and isolation by bringing people and communities together.  Applications for Round 2 will be accepted from 28 June 2021 until the deadline of 6 August 2021 (5pm).  Round 2 will focus on:

  • Activities that physically bring people together in a safe and secure way.
  • Remote activities (when this is the best or only way for people to build connections) - for example, remote activities may benefit people who are geographically isolated, people with illnesses or disabilities, or those who are not quite ready to meet people in face-to-face settings.
  • Helping individuals to get out of the ‘lockdown mentality’ and meet people in their communities again for activities which will be a positive experience for people.
  • Helping organisations who work to reduce loneliness restart their activities - for example, getting volunteers or service users to clean and refresh their meeting spaces or grounds, or refreshing materials, and ensuring equipment is ready to be used.

ClimateLaunchpad: The Green Business Idea Competition - Immanent Deadline - 9 July 2021

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Through this competition, aspiring entrepreneurs from across the world may transform their green ideas into global businesses.  Funding is intended to help fast track an innovation or idea into a business that will make a substantial environmental impact.Immanent Deadline - 9 July 2021

2021 themes:

  • Adaptation and Resilience
  • Circular Economies
  • Urban Solutions
  • Clean Energy
  • Sustainable Mobility
  • Food Systems
  • The Next Big Thing

Tree Production Innovation Fund (TPIF)

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Innovation fund supporting nurseries to increase and diversify domestic tree supply in England.  Applicants will be invited to apply for up to £200,000 in grant funding to support projects that address one or more of the following challenges identified through stakeholder engagement as barriers to tree production:

  • Challenge 1 How can we make better use of available seed and vegetative planting material to maximise the quantity, quality and diversity of trees produced?
  • Challenge 2 How can we develop growing systems to enhance their efficiency and resilience to change, whilst delivering improved quality and diversity of product? This challenge can include activities to promote biosecurity.
  • Challenge 3 How can innovative environmentally sustainable weed control solutions be used to reduce reliance on herbicides?

The first round of the fund will open for applications in late July 2021, with successful projects running for a six-month period between October 2021 and March 2022.


Defra Announces Funding for Farmers in England’s Protected Landscapes

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Support is available to England’s farmers and land managers in Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty, National Parks and the Broads to support nature recovery, mitigate the impacts of climate change and fund nature-friendly, sustainable farm businesses.  For funding in the first year of the programme, applications are accepted between 1 July 2021 and 31 January 2022.

The programme will fund projects that:

  • Support nature recovery.
  • Mitigate the impacts of climate change.
  • Provide opportunities for people to discover, enjoy and understand the landscape and its cultural heritage.
  • Support nature-friendly, sustainable farm businesses.

Hangar 51 Accelerator Open for Start-ups Testing Products and Services

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Eligible start-ups from anywhere in the world may apply to participate in a ten-week business development and mentoring programme.  The current programme focuses on these key categories:

  • Travel Restart
  • Connected Operations
  • Sustainability
  • Data & AI
  • Future Energy
  • Enterprise Tech
  • Distributed Teams
  • Wildcard

This is an annual programme.The next deadline for applications is 31 August 2021.


Friends of the Lake District Landscape Grant Fund

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Landscape Grant Fund. This is open all year round to community groups and organisations who are making a difference to and/or enjoying the landscapes of Cumbria.  Our grants in the past have covered broad areas. The most important thing is that they must contribute to the landscape and its enjoyment in some way.

COVID-19 Response Funding for UK National Heritage Assets

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Funding is available to community and public sector organisations in the UK for projects to protect nationally important heritage assets that are at risk due to the impact of coronavirus (COVID-19).  Applications may be made at any time until the fund's final closing date of 30 April 2023.   The first step is to submit an Expression of Interest. Eligible applicants will then be invited to submit a full application. Applications must be submitted using the online grants portal available at the NHMF website.

Buttle UK - Chances for Children

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Funding is available to enable vulnerable children and young people in the UK to overcome financial barriers preventing them from achieving their education, training or employment goals.  Applications may be submitted at any time.

First Steps Enterprise Fund

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A loan/grant funding package is available for small community-led charities and social enterprises based and working in England to help them grow their services and become more sustainable.  First Steps Enterprise Fund is a £300,000 pilot fund to support community organisations that is managed by Social Enterprise Business on behalf of the Asda Foundation.  Application deadline:  None specified

Green Heat Network Fund (GHNF) Transition Scheme

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Capital grants for public, private and third sector organisations in England to support the development of low and zero carbon heat networks.  The GHNF Transition Scheme will open for applications on 5 July 2021. The deadline will be 12 August 2021 (12.00 BST).


Launch of UK Infrastructure Bank

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UK businesses will have billions of pounds available to them through this new finance facility to support local growth and tackle climate change.  There is no set deadline for applications for support.

Social Housing Decarbonisation Fund (SHDF)

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Registered UK providers of social housing will be able to bid for funding to improve the energy performance of their social homes.  Applications for the first wave of funding will open in autumn 2021. Further information on the autumn bidding window will be published later this summer. Funded projects will be those delivered up to March 2023.

Fund to Help Reduce Loneliness in England Opens 28 June

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Grants are available for small local voluntary, community and social enterprise organisations in England that are working to reduce loneliness and isolation by bringing people and communities together as the country recovers from the coronavirus/COVID-19 pandemic. The Local Connections Fund opens for applications on 28 June 2021.

UK Fund for Digital Skills Initiatives Set to Launch

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Funding is available to UK organisations for initiatives to build the confidence of people most impacted by the digital divide. Organisations must be registered, including registered charities, community interest companies, social enterprises, not-for-profits, private companies, community associations, FE colleges and public bodies. The fund will open for applications on 29 June 2021, and close at the deadline of 29 July 2021 (17:00 BST).

Sony Launches 2022 World Photography Awards

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These awards celebrate the best contemporary photography from the past year, giving exposure, visibility and opportunity to photographers worldwide on an annual basis.  The Awards are free to enter and open to all photographers operating in the photographic industry across the world.  Application deadline:30/11/2021

IKEA and Lottery Fund Join Forces to Launch New £1.5m Fund for UK on 30 June

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Grants are available for not-for-profit organisations including schools to help improve community spaces and deliver sustainable activities for communities in the UK.  The ‘Places Called Home’ Fund aims to inspire and help people get more involved in their local community as a positive, homely place to be and meet other people.  The scheme will open for applications on 30 June 2021. It will close upon either the receipt of 1,500 applications or 14 July 2021, whichever comes first.

Launch of the Youth Music NextGen Fund

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Grants available to young creatives in Great Britain to help them take a step forward in participating and changing the music industries.  Applications must be submitted by the deadline of 9 July 2021 (17:00 BST).

Ernest Cook Trust - Outdoor Essentials Grant

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This grant supports school travel and transport costs to any centre or provider that can facilitate these ambitions, including: outdoor learning centres, forest schools, countryside parks, woodlands, national parks, farm parks, farms (including city farms), coastal areas and beaches. Trips to outdoor adventure centres for outdoor activities (such as kayaking and climbing) may be considered, but nature connection and environmental learning must be the primary focus.  The current round is open from 8 June 2021 and 180 grants will be available. The application window will close when sufficient grant applications have been approved.

MOD Education Support Fund

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Grants are available to publicly funded schools, academies and free schools throughout the UK to mitigate the effects of significant mobility and/or deployment of their service communities.  Application deadline: 30/09/2021

Henry Smith Charity - Holiday Grants for Children

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Grants are available for schools, youth groups, not-for-profit organisations, and charities to provide access to recreational trips or holidays for groups of children aged 13 years and younger who experience disadvantage or disability and live in an area of high deprivation.In 2021, given the impact of coronavirus/COVID-19, the Charity has made some temporary changes to its guidelines to provide more flexibility on the types of trip it can support and is now funding day trips rather than residential holidays, with the aim of maximising the likelihood of trips going ahead.  Application deadline: 13/08/2021

Cumbria Business Growth Hub Business Support

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A single point of contact for all business support within the Cumbria Business Growth Hub region, providing advice and signposting based on individual business needs across a range of subjects, including innovation, exporting, accessing finance and training.

The Prince's Trust

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The Trust offers development programmes, training, business start-up assistance, advice, counselling and workshops to young people aged up to 30 in the UK.  Application deadline: None specified


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