This policy sets out how we will make decisions on community grant applications.
The policy is overseen by the Community Committee and was last updated in 2023.
1.1 Knutsford Town Council has a commitment to encourage, support and promote volunteer organisations and charities within Knutsford for the benefit of the Town. The Town Council makes an annual budget provision for Community Grants to help meet its aims.
1.2 Community grants come from taxpayer funds and a key principle of this policy is to ensure that grant expenditure is open and transparent.
1.3 Decisions related to applications under the Small Grants Scheme have been delegated to the Community Committee whilst decisions related to the Large Grant Scheme are delegated to the Finance Committee. This policy is designed to act as guidance for both applicants and councillors when considering applications
1.4 Applicants are encouraged to look at alternative sources of funding in addition to these schemes.
1.45 The Town Council seeks to provide grants which meet at least one of the following outcomes:
- Provides improved opportunities/services for those aged 18 and under and/or 65 and over
- Provides a new or improves an existing asset or service which will benefit a significant percentage of residents
- Enhances the profile and/or reputation of Knutsford
The Town Council operates two separate grant schemes:
2.1 The Small Grants Scheme is for grants of a value up to £1,500. Applications for this scheme are considered three times per year.
2.2 The Large Grants Scheme is for grants of a value in excess of £1,500. Applications for this scheme are considered annually by the Finance Committee as part of the budget setting process for the Council, as set out in 5.5, and payable from April 1st.
3.1 The schemes are only open to: Community Organisations, Local Charities and Community Interest Companies.
3.2 Bodies must have a bank account in their own name.
3.3 Projects must deliver a benefit to the residents of Knutsford.
3.4 The Town Council will not fund: hospitality, salaries, religious organisations (unless for non-religious activities), core school expenditure or projects with party political links.
3.5 The Town Council will only consider one application from an organisation within any financial year.
Applying for a Small Grant
4.1 Applications should be made on the application form via the Town Council website (here) and include all information requested on the form. An application will not normally go to committee until all required information has been provided.
4.2 Applicants must supply the previous financial year accounts and a recent (within three months) bank statement. New/start-up organisations should submit a financial statement containing their proposed budget.
4.3Where expenditure on a single item would exceed £500 the applicant should demonstrate that best value has been sought; this may be by submitting quotations.
4.4 Applicants requesting up to £200 may submit a simplified request detailing the project they are undertaking and what the funds will be spent on. Clauses 4.2 and 4.3 do not to apply to donation requests.
4.5 For the purchase of items consideration should be given to the Town Council purchasing items and gifting them to the organisation rather than providing a grant. This is because the Town Council can reclaim VAT for items purchased which are gifted as grants.
Small Grant Award Process
4.6 Small grant applications will be considered three times per year by a working group which will produce a recommendation to the next Finance Committee meeting.
4.7 The working group will score applications as follows:
Achieves outcomes (up to 10 points)
A high score indicates that the application meets at least one outcome fully, and provides a legacy of benefits to the community. A very high score here would indicate meeting two or more outcomes fully.
Value for money (up to 10 points)
A high score indicates that the application is either collaborative with other organisations or supplemented by other funding sources. It must provide a cost effective use of our funds.
Strong governance (up to 10 points)
A high score indicates that the applicant has good control structures within its organisation, and experienced individuals leading the project. Strong dependence on just one or two individuals is not good. If relevant, insurance arrangements must be in place.
Fits well with Town Council strategic aims (up to 6 points)
A high score indicates a good fit with the stated strategic aims of Knutsford Town Council:
- Knutsford Town Centre will be a thriving and unique destination for residents and visitors alike
- We will enable residents to choose to reduce their reliance on cars by improving the desirability of walking, cycling and using public transpor
- Knutsford will have a diverse network of green spaces, a biodiverse natural environment and a reduced carbon footprint
- Knutsford’s heritage will be conserved, understood and celebrated
- We will lead a strong, connected community with a thriving community spirit and civic pride
- Knutsford residents will have access to the services and facilities they need to live happy and healthy lives
An application must score at least 6 points on governance and achieve an overall score of at least 18 to be awarded a grant. Subject to these provisions, the Town Council will award those grants which achieve the highest score in the current round of funding.
4.8 The Council will set a grants budget annually and seek to award grants to the value of 1/3 of the budget at each decision meeting.
Applying for a Large Grant
5.1 Applications should be made on the application form via the Town Council website and include all information requested on the form. An application will not normally go to committee until all required information has been provided.
5.2 Applicants must supply the previous two years of accounts and a recent (within three months) bank statement.
5.3 Where expenditure on a single item would exceed £500 the applicant should demonstrate that best value has been sought; this would normally be by the submission of quotations.
5.4 Applicants must attend the committee meeting where their grant will be considered to answer any questions which may arise.
5.5 The deadline for applications to be considered for this scheme shall be set by the Town Clerk to correspond with the Council’s budget setting cycle. The deadline date shall be published as soon as practicable.
5.6 For the purchase of items consideration should be given to the Town Council purchasing items and gifting them to the organisation rather than providing a grant. This is because the Town Council can reclaim VAT for items purchased which are gifted as grants.
6.1. Recipients receiving a grant in excess of £200 shall provide an evaluation within twelve months of receipt of the grant on the prescribed form.
6.2. Receipts for all expenditure above £200 shall be provided as part of the evaluation to demonstrate the grant was spent appropriately.
Conditions of Grants
An application under both schemes shall indicate agreement to the following conditions.
7.1 Recipients shall complete an evaluation as required.
7.2 The Council reserves the right to reclaim funds not spent in accordance with the approved grant application, left unspent after one year of receipt or in full/partially for breach of conditions.
7.3 Recipients are expected to positively promote the Council
7.4 Recipients should acknowledge the financial support received from the Council in press releases and publicity. The Council will provide logos for use to indicate its support.
7.5 Recipients must advise the Council prior to disposing of any resources or equipment funded/part-funded/supplied by the Council as part of a grant application within two years.
7.6 The Council may apply any additional conditions it deems necessary as part of the grant award
Receipt of Grant
8.1 Successful applicants will be required to sign an agreement to the grant conditions in advance of receipt of the grant
8.2 Payments shall be made to the organisation within four weeks of receipt of the agreement
8.3 Payments shall only be made to an organisation. The Council will not issue grants to an individual.