Help & Guidance

Before you apply

We know that applying for funding can be difficult, so we try to make it as straightforward as possible for you and your organisation. Here are some important things to consider before applying.

What should an organisation think about before applying?

Here are some things you should consider:

  •  Is there a clear need for your activity?
  •  Do you have the ability to effectively provide the activity?
  • Does your organisation have an appropriate structure to apply for a grant?  For organisational development support please contact the organisations listed in our Other Support page.
  •  Are there any other organisations already providing the activity/service that you could work with?

Find out more: Am I eligible for support from Quartet?

What is Quartet Community Foundation looking for in a grant application?

Your application must meet the criteria and priorities for the specific grant programme you’re applying to. Here are some of the common features that we will be looking for in any grant application we receive.

  • We want to understand the needs of those people your work supports, and how you know the work is needed. For instance, what feedback have you received from the people/communities you serve or support to establish the activity is needed and wanted? If appropriate, what relevant research or studies have you used to demonstrate the need for your project or activity?
  • We want to understand how the funded work will fit with other services available to the people/communities you are serving or supporting. If appropriate, what contact do you have with other relevant community groups, charities or organisations and how has that helped your organisation to establish the need for your activity?
  • We want to understand how you will reach the people/communities you seek to serve or support with a grant from Quartet. For instance, how will you promote your work? Who else might you be working with to reach those who would most benefit?

Please visit our Grants & Support page for further help on applying to us.


Can individuals apply?

A small number of specific grant programmes can award grants to individuals but most of our grant programmes award grants only to organisations with charitable purposes.

Can schools apply?

We will only award funding for school-based activities that are outside the scope of statutory provision. We won’t generally make grants for purchases or activities which fall within an existing statutorily funded budget, even where that budget may be insufficient to fund the school’s ambitions.

Can faith-based organisations apply?

We can support faith-based organisations provided the funded work benefits the wider community and is not intended to influence people’s religious choices or to promote a particular belief system.

Can national organisations apply?

We often prioritise small, local organisations whose work benefits people living in the West of England. However, national charities with a base in the area and a significant local presence can apply if the grant will benefit local people.

Is there a restriction on the size of income or financial reserves of applicant organisations?

For most of our grant programmes we will consider the organisation’s income and level of financial reserves when assessing the application. If your organisation is holding significant financial reserves, we will need to understand why these can’t be used to cover the cost of the project/activity you seek a grant towards.

Is there a minimum amount of financial reserves applicant organisations must hold to be eligible to apply?

There is no set minimum but we recommend that an organisation holds enough reserves to cover a minimum of three months of the organisation’s annual expenditure.

Are applicant organisations asked to provide references?

For most of our grant programmes we ask for the contact details of a referee. The referee should know the work of the applicant organisation in a professional capacity but not be directly involved in this work.

What can we apply for?

Does Quartet Community Foundation support the principle of full cost recovery?

Full cost recovery means securing funding for all the costs involved in running a project/activity, including a proportionate share of the organisation’s overheads. We support the principle of full cost recovery in relation to projects/activities. Where appropriate, applicants can include such overhead costs in their application that are proportionate to the project/activity being undertaken.

Will Quartet Community Foundation award a grant that contributes toward a larger project/activity involving multiple funders?

Most of our programmes can award grants towards such projects/activities. However, you should have secured most of the necessary funding you need or have a clear and realistic plan for securing the rest of the funding shortly after any award from us.

Will Quartet Community Foundation award a grant to cover the cost of activities that have already taken place?

No, we cannot fund any activity retrospectively. Please also bear in mind that it can take eight weeks before you hear back on your application, so you will have to ensure that you receive a decision before your activity begins.

Can an organisation submit applications to more than one grant programme?

In any one financial year applicants can apply to one or more of the grant programmes that we run. We welcome applications to more than one grant programme if you have multiple activities that need funding, or if you need to apply for more than one aspect of a single activity.  However, we discourage the submission of duplicate applications to multiple grant programmes.

How often can an application be submitted to any one grant programme?

This will depend upon the grant programme. Please refer to the guidelines of each specific grant programme. For most of our grant programmes, we won’t accept applications more than once in any one-year to the same grant programme.

Submitting an application

When can I submit an application?

Some of our grant programmes operate in rounds with a set number of submission deadlines throughout the year, whilst others do not have a submission deadline and an application can be submitted at any time of the year.  Please refer to the guidelines of each specific grant programme.

What questions will I be asked in the application form?

The questions within our application forms may vary depending on the aims of the grant programme, but we will often include the following:

  • What are the main services or activities provided by your organisation, and who is your work designed to support?
  • What is the need you seek to support and how have you identified this? What positive changes will your activity/project make?
  • What do you seek a grant towards? Describe the work you are asking us to fund.
  • What positive changes will this grant make?
  • How will you monitor the work you are asking us to fund?
  • How do you see this work progressing after this funding comes to an end?

How do I submit an application?

For most of our grant programmes you can apply online by using the link on the grant programme’s webpage. You will need a valid email address to be able to do this. Alternatively, you can request a hard copy of the application form to be sent by post by contacting our office on 0117 989 7700. If you have any problems completing an application form please feel free to get in touch by calling the above number or emailing

Can I edit, save and return to the online application form or does it need to be completed in one visit?

You can return to your online application form as many times as is needed and we recommend you save it as you go along. The online application link can also be shared with others if more than one person needs to contribute to the application. When completed, remember to click on ‘submit’.

Assessing your application

What will the assessment involve?

When assessing an application we will read through your application form and supporting documents, and possibly visit other sources, such as checking your record on the Charity Commission and/or Companies House website. We may look at published data, research and evaluations that relate to the needs/challenges your work is seeking to address. We will consider such matters as:

  • Whether your organisation is eligible, and the application has a good fit with the aims and priorities of the grant programme
  • The need you are seeking to address. Whether the work you seek a grant towards is addressing a real need
  • The proposed activity. Will it address the need/challenges that you outline, is it achievable, is it well planned, is it adding value to any existing provision
  • Whether your organisation is competent and organisationally sound, and needs a grant for the work/activity it outlines in the application

Will the assessor contact the applicant?

One of our grant assessors may contact you for further information about your funding request and may want to arrange a meeting to discuss the application in more detail. If you are contacted, we encourage you to reply as soon as you can so we can discuss your application and decide within a reasonable time period.

Decision making

Who decides if a grant is awarded?

This will depend upon the grant programme. The decision to award a grant may be delegated by our Trustees to senior staff, or to a grant decision panel comprising of Quartet staff and others who are external to our organisation. In some instances fund holders will make the final decision.

How soon do applicants receive a decision?

For most of our grant programmes you will have a decision within eight weeks after the closing date. But please do check for any information on decision timescales within the relevant guidelines for a grant programme. For our programmes that do not have a closing date you will have a decision between 8-10 weeks after we receive your application. However, this may vary if we have any further questions to ask.

How are applicants informed of the decision?

You’ll receive an email informing you of the decision. If you’re offered a grant award you will be asked to accept our offer and agree to the conditions. Once we receive this acceptance, and any additional conditions have been fulfilled, we will process a payment and will email you again to confirm payment.

How long do applicants have to accept a grant offer?

You will have up to three months after receiving the grant offer in which to accept and start spending the grant. After that time the grant offer will lapse, and you will need to re-apply.

How are grants paid?

Grants are paid directly into the grant recipient’s bank account. We may occasionally make grant payments by cheque.

If an application is unsuccessful, how soon can another application be submitted to that grant programme?

For grant programmes that have submission deadlines you will have to wait until the next round of the grant programme. For grant programmes that have no set closing date you will need to contact us to discuss if, and when, it might be appropriate to submit another grant application.

Why does it take time for a decision to be made?

We understand that our application process may seem to take longer than expected. This is because we receive a large number of applications and we want to ensure that we make the right decision. We aim to award grants where they are most needed, so we take the time to carefully review each application.

This means…

  • Undertaking due diligence, ensuring you’re a sound and capable organisation.
  • Researching the need for the work you are asking us to fund.
  • Following up with you via a telephone call or email where there might be some gaps in your application or information that we don’t understand.
  • Presenting our findings to a decision panel

So, it may take some time, especially if the grants programme is popular.


What is safeguarding?

Safeguarding is about creating a safe and secure environment for everyone, ensuring your organisation is taking positive steps to promote the welfare and wellbeing of the people you work with (e.g. beneficiaries), staff and volunteers. It’s about actively preventing harm, harassment, abuse and neglect, and being able to respond if any problem occurs.

Both children and ‘adults at risk’ need safeguarding, but there are different approaches to take. Further information about this distinction can be found on the NVCO website

We expect all organisations applying for funding to have a safeguarding policy that is up to date and relevant to their work. If you apply for a grant you will be asked for a copy of your organisation’s safeguarding policy.

Why is safeguarding important to Quartet Community Foundation?

Organisations we fund are helping people. Many may be experiencing or have previously experienced disadvantage, discrimination, or are vulnerable. These people are at a higher risk of neglect, abuse and exploitation. Some organisations we fund may not be providing direct support, but they do provide services that ultimately lead to helping people.

Either way, we need to be confident that steps are being taken by organisations to create a safe environment and run in a way that prevents any harm, abuse and neglect, and can recognise signs where this may be taking place. This is why we request a copy of your safeguarding policy when you apply to us. It can demonstrate that you understand your duty to operate in a safe and secure environment and protect beneficiaries, staff and volunteers.

How does Quartet Community Foundation assess safeguarding when you apply?

We recognise that safeguarding policies can vary from one organisation to another, and these will vary depending on the role of the organisation and the services you deliver. How you meet your safeguarding duties will be proportional to the level of risk involved, which increases when you work directly with children or adults at risk. However, we expect all safeguarding policies to include at least the following:

  •  A named safeguarding lead
  • Definitions of abuse experienced by children and adults at risk
  • An approach to safe recruitment and training – e.g. reference to DBS checks when recruiting staff and volunteers, providing relevant safeguarding training
  • Reporting procedures – what steps to take if there are concerns, or if a disclosure or allegation is made
  • Useful contacts – can be contact details for the safeguarding lead, local authority, police or local safeguarding board
  • Policy review date – the policy should be a live document that is regularly reviewed and updated by the organisation

We will consider your safeguarding policy against the context of what your organisation provides and see if it meets our requirements. We may contact you if we have any questions.

What happens if Quartet thinks our safeguarding arrangements do not meet their requirements for funding?

If we think your safeguarding arrangements do not meet our requirements, the decision we make on your application can depend on a couple of factors. If we think your safeguarding policy requires significant improvements, we may reject your request for funding, and suggest you get advice or training before we consider another application. If any improvements are minor, we may offer funding with a condition to make certain changes before we award a grant.

Where can I find more information about safeguarding?

There are numerous online resources about safeguarding in the voluntary and charity sector and what you need to consider as an organisation. Here are some examples:

  • NCVO website provides information on what is safeguarding, what steps to take for being a safer organisation, and safeguarding documents you need.
  • The Charity Commission explains the importance of safeguarding, the duty of trustees, and has links to other guidance and resources.

You can also contact your local infrastructure organisation who support the local voluntary and charity sectors. Please see the ‘other support‘ section of our website.

End of grant report

Are grant recipients expected to report back on the work Quartet funded?

We ask grant recipients to submit an End of Grant report after the work we have funded has ended and/or the grant has been fully spent. You submit an End of Grant report by completing an online form, which we send you in advance of the report due date. Further guidance on End of Grant reporting can be found here.

How soon are grant recipients expected to report back on the use of the grant?

This depends on how long the funded activity is due to last. For most of our grant programmes we expect a report between six months to one year after payment of the grant. We normally set a report due date around two weeks after the anticipated finish date.

Do grant recipients need to provide evidence of how the grant is used, e.g. receipts?

We expect you to keep receipts and financial records of how the grant has been spent, as these may be needed in the future for audit purposes or as part of assessing your End of Grant report. However, we don’t expect you to provide copies of receipts with your End of Grant report.


Do grant recipients need to acknowledge Quartet Community Foundation in publicity relating to a grant award?

Yes, we ask that you acknowledge Quartet Community Foundation and the grant programme. Where possible we encourage you to use our logo too in any publicity relating to the work we’ve funded.

Will Quartet Community Foundation feature organisations that have received a grant award in its publicity?

Yes, we may feature your organisation in our own publicity materials unless you have asked us not to do so.

Will Quartet Community Foundation use photos or film footage provided by grant recipients in its publicity?

Yes, we may use your photos or film footage in our own publicity materials unless you have asked us not to do so. When photos are sent to us, it is assumed that full consent has been obtained and we can use the photos / film footage provided in any publicity materials, including our website, social media and newsletters or other newspaper/magazine.

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