General Application Guidelines

The Woodward Charitable Trust only makes grants for core costs rather than specific projects as they recognise that smaller charities can find these hard to fund. They hope that this will have a more direct impact on the organisations that they choose to fund.

Applicants should take the time to read these guidelines in order to avoid submitting applications that are likely to be rejected. We know that preparing applications can be time consuming and we don’t want any organisation to expend that precious commodity unnecessarily.

Funding Priorities

The Trustees particularly look to fund projects that help families and young people and that are aiming to improve the life chances of the beneficiaries. They like projects that promote community cohesion and the development of skills that will change the outlook and outcomes for the users. Organisations that promote volunteering and involve both past and present users in their operations or management are encouraged. Trustees only consider applications for core costs and are looking for organisations which aim to achieve a positive impact in at least one of the following areas:

  • Children and young people who are isolated, at risk of exclusion or involved in anti-social behaviour and projects to help those who have been in the care system. This also covers gang violence and knife crime, education and mentoring as well as projects that work to raise self-esteem and employment opportunities and encourage an active involvement in and contribution towards the local community;
  • Disadvantaged families, this covers parenting support and guidance, mental health, food poverty, refuges and domestic violence projects;
  • Prisoners and ex-offenders and specifically projects that maintain and develop contact with prisoners’ families and help with the rehabilitation and resettlement of prisoners and/or ex-offenders after their release.

Please note that if your organisation also helps other groups outside our 3 priority areas you may still apply, however, it will be expected that the majority of your beneficiaries are within at least one of these areas. Any details that you give as to how you help within our priority areas will benefit your application.


Thank you for taking the time to read these guidelines, please note that your application will automatically be rejected if it doesn’t fit within the priority areas.

It will also be rejected:

  • if your charity’s income / expenditure exceeded £200,000 in the previous financial year (unless this was for an exceptional one off in which case please give details);
  • if your reserves exceed 50% of your expenditure (we understand that some organisations might wish to hold reserves closer to 100% of annual expenditure, but if that is the case we won’t be able to offer support as we feel our funds can be used more effectively elsewhere);
  • or if you are requesting an unsolicited grant in excess of £3,000.

You may like to refer to our previous Annual Reports and our FAQs both of which are available on our website. These should give you more of an idea of both the type of organisation supported and the amount awarded, although please note that our annual reports prior to November 2020 will include successful applications made using the previous guidelines.

As well as registered charities we will consider funding Charity Incorporated Organisations (CIOs) and Community Interest Companies (CICs).

Please note that we will only fund organisations for a maximum of 3 consecutive years, or 3 grants within 5 years, and that after the last grant you should wait 2 years before reapplying. Although if your organisation also receives, or has received, a grant from our Summer Scheme programme that will not be included in this tally.

We will also NOT fund unsolicited applications from:

  • Charities registered or only working overseas
  • Individuals in any capacity
  • Exclusively education based charities or
  • Charities applying for capital and construction projects such as playgrounds, village halls, and disabled accesses

Types of grants

The Trustees make two types of grants:

Small grants – up to £3,000, but usually £1,000 or less;

Large grants – Only a few large grants are awarded over £3,000 each year, and these are usually to charities known to the Trustees.

The Trustees favour small-scale, locally based initiatives and most grants are only for one year. Trustees review grant applications twice a year, usually in March and October. Please consult the diary page for up-to-date deadlines for receipt of applications.

Children’s Sumer Playschemes

In addition, 60-70 grants of £250-£1,000 per year are made towards Children’s Summer Playschemes. Applications for these are made separately and considered in April/May each year, grants are only given to charities whose annual income is under £100,000. For more information please see our Children’s Summer Playscheme Guidelines.

Application Process

Trustees will only consider appeals made via their online application form. For more information on grant round opening and closing dates, please visit the diary page.

Every section must be completed including the Statement of Financial Activities. We are no longer accepting paper applications. If this is a problem for you please email the administrator Karin Hooper at for advice.

APPLICATION FORM – Please complete the information requested and give us details on what the primary objectives of your charity are and who are your target users. Please note that details of specific projects that have been successful, and details on the successful outcomes for your users, are very important in the decision-making process. We are looking for charities that make a real difference in their communities and who stand out in the work that they do.

Participation by past or current users is recognised and should be mentioned, as is sharing best practice and cross community work. We want to know what you do, what difference you make and what you are proud of in the area in which you work. We like to award grants to charities that are really changing the lives of their beneficiaries and whose users are able to progress as appropriate. In order to help us make our decisions we would really like statistics or percentages with regard to your beneficiaries or total numbers that have been helped, not including this information may have a negative effect on your application. We would also like to hear about projects you have planned for the near future, or are planning to run this year, that are relevant to our key priority areas and about which you are excited.

We also request that you tell us the region in which you operate (i.e. Scotland, North East or West, Northern Ireland, Wales, Yorkshire & the Humber, East or West Midlands, East Anglia, London, South East or South West or the Channel Islands). This is in order for the trustees to try and ensure that they support applications from across the whole of the UK.

Trustees are aware that the current circumstances of working under COVID, and the subsequent restrictions, has created the need for charities to adapt some or all of their services, and to react to and reach out to their clients in different ways. When completing your application form please feel free to detail how this has impacted your work and the circumstances of your client group and how you are coping with this impact.

Annual Report and Accounts

Please do not send us your Annual Report & Accounts unless they are not available on the Charity Commission or Companies House website. If the accounts available on the Charity Commission or Companies House are not from the last six months, please attach a copy of your most recent accounts and enter the corresponding figures on your online application.

We are interested in how much you hold as “free” or unrestricted reserves; which is that part of your funds free from any constraints as to their use. If you would like any clarification on this please read our FAQs and if still in doubt then contact the administrator. Please note the trustees are unlikely to fund any organisation with more than six months running costs in their unrestricted reserves. If your charity’s income is under £10,000, we will need to see evidence of your income and expenditure for the past year.

If your application passes the first round, we may contact you for further information.


Please provide us with your anticipated income and your proposed charitable and non-charitable expenditure for the year. Please also upload your Management Accounts for the current financial year either in full or in headline form if available.

Safeguarding Policies

The Trust requires organisations who work with children and/ or vulnerable adults to submit a safeguarding/ child protection and/ or vulnerable adults policy in order to be considered for funding.

For further information, please see our FAQs page.

Diary dates for applications

General grants are usually allocated following Trustees’ meetings which will happen in February/March and October/November each year. Children’s Summer Play scheme grants will be considered in April/May. Once you submit your application you should receive an email confirming it is being reviewed. Please check your junk folder if it doesn’t appear. If additional information is required, we will contact you further.

General Applications

The Trustees met in March 2022, 36 awards were made. These grants are listed in the Recent Awards section. All successful applicants have been notified directly via email only. If you have not heard from us, it will mean that your application has not been successful. We do not give feedback I am afraid to say, because of the large volumes involved.

The new general online grant round will open on Monday 6th June 2022. Please check our General Application Guidelines web page before applying as the criteria has changed at the end of 2020. Please do not send any applications before the opening date.

The deadline for receipt of applications is Friday 29th July 2022 (noon).

The Trustees will consider the applications in October and successful applicants will be notified by email by the end of November.

Summer Play Schemes

The Trustees met on 13 May 2021 and approved 34 grants for summer play schemes. A list of successful applicants has been posted in the Recent Awards section of the website.

The Summer Play Scheme grant round closed on Thursday 14th April. The Trustees will review summer play scheme applications in May and successful applicants will be informed by the end of June. The next round will open in March 2023.