Community Empowerment Fund - Application Criteria

Purpose of the Grant

Caerphilly County Borough Council is committed to supporting communities to become strong and resilient, and it acknowledges that one of our county borough’s greatest assets is the thriving network of local community groups and organisations across the area.

The Community Empowerment Fund was created to enable communities to develop and deliver projects aimed at meeting the needs of their residents.  Key to this will be the involvement of local Ward Members as one of the key contact points in local communities, who will work with and support local community groups to develop project ideas that meet identified need on a ward basis.

The Council’s annual budget setting in 2023/24 includes a £250,000 funding allocation for the grant scheme, to support community-led initiatives that complement and support those provided through public services.  It should be noted that the Community Empowerment Fund allocation of £250,000 for Caerphilly county borough is allocated to wards and not directly to local Ward Members.

However, in calculating allocations the £250,000 has been divided by 69 (the number of elected representatives within Caerphilly county borough), meaning an allocation of the equivalent of £3,630 per Ward Member.  In wards where there are more than one Ward Member, the allocation is multiplied according to the number of Members. For example, Penyrheol ward has four Ward Members, therefore the Penyrheol ward would benefit from an allocation of £14,520 (£3,630 x 4).

Projects will aim to support communities to:

  • Build community capacity
  • Better understand and identify local aspirations and priorities
  • Make good use of existing assets, with projects having the support of local communities
  • Increase active inclusion and develop opportunities for enhanced engagement for groups that are more vulnerable and harder to reach
  • Develop local assets, services and projects that respond to the needs of the people in local communities
  • Develop projects that are capable of becoming sustainable community projects
  • Complement existing services in an area by providing additional activity

Who can apply?

Projects must be managed by a non-profit organisation based within Caerphilly county borough, of one of the following types:

  • Unincorporated voluntary/community organisation or club with an adopted constitution or rules
  • Charities or Charitable Incorporated Organisations (CIOs) registered with the Charities Commission
  • Community organisations who are Companies Limited by Guarantee (CLG) with no share capital and are registered with Companies House
  • Community Interest Companies (CICs) which are not established or conducted for private gain: any surplus or assets are used exclusively for the benefit of the community

Please note: All organisations must have their own bank account in the name of the organisation. If the organisation does not currently have a bank account, this must be addressed before a formal grant offer can be made.

The following types of organisations will not be funded:

  • Any commercial/trading or profit-making organisations where the profits are shared amongst the Directors or members
  • Applications from individuals
  • This list is not exhaustive

What can be funded?

The Council’s 2021 residents’ survey ‘The Caerphilly Conversation’ sought views on what the Community Empowerment Fund could be spent on, with seven priority areas emerging from the feedback.  Therefore, these seven priority areas have formed the basis of the application criteria for projects:

  • Environmental projects, including awareness of biodiversity and increasing community activity
  • Projects that support greater community cohesion
  • Projects that aim to tackle isolation and loneliness across the community
  • Digital inclusion projects
  • Projects to encourage greater physical and mental well-being
  • Activities for young people/educational activities (non-statutory)
  • Initiatives that promote and encourage community safety
  • Supporting community groups to establish

Applicant organisations will be required to evidence the need for their project or activity and the lasting benefits it will provide for the local community.

For capital projects which involve the refurbishment, development, extension or construction of land and/or buildings, applicants should be the owner of the land and/or buildings or have a formal agreement in place with the landlord that the work can be undertaken.  In addition, where the landlord is Caerphilly County Borough Council and a private contractor will be undertaking the work, a lease or licence will be required within a minimum of six years left to run when the application is submitted.

What cannot be funded?

  • Usual running costs of any organisation e.g. rent, utilities, insurance etc.  The only exception to this is where the organisation has been formed in the six months immediately preceding the date of their application, where they can apply for one-off start-up costs.
  • Applicants may apply for a grant once per year for up to three consecutive years.  However, an individual project can only be funded once, and applications in subsequent years must be for different project activity.
  • Retrospective costs for any project i.e. costs for work already undertaken, or equipment and/or materials that have been purchased or ordered prior to a formal grant offer being made and the Terms & Conditions of the grant being signed and submitted.  An organisation should not make any agreement (verbal or in writing) with a contractor or supplier in advance of a formal grant offer being made.
  • This list is indicative only and is not exhaustive.

When can an application be submitted?

There will be multiple rounds of the grant scheme each year and closing dates will be communicated to Ward Members.  Ward Members will be able to work with and support community groups and organisations to make an application – for details of your local Ward Member please go to Your Councillors.  In addition, Caerphilly Cares and the Gwent Association of Voluntary Organisations may also be able to help you to develop your project and provide advice and guidance on completing the application form.  Applicants will be informed of the outcome of their application approximately 6-8 weeks after the closing date, depending on the number of grants submitted in each round. 

How much can be applied for?

The maximum amount available to any organisation/community group is £3,630.  Approved projects where the total cost is less than £3,630 can be awarded a grant of up to 100% of the project costs. Larger projects costing over £3,630 can receive a grant of up to the maximum amount, with the expectation that the remainder of the funding required will be sourced by the organisation/community group from other sources.

Due to each Ward Member having an allocation of £3,630, organisations may be offered less than the maximum amount if there are multiple applications in individual wards in a single application round.  Should this be the case, Ward Members in the relevant ward will be involved in discussions around prioritising which projects should be supported.

Ward Members can also choose to merge their ward pots with other Members to fund larger projects.  There is no requirement for them to do this, and this will need to be discussed with the relevant Ward Members on a project by project basis as required.

Applications should be for a minimum amount of £1,000, and this can be made up of a number of different items in order to reach this minimum amount.  Applications for less than £1,000 will not be considered.


Applicants must submit comparable estimates/quotes to support their application.A minimum of two written estimates/quotes are required for every item listed in the ‘Financial Details’ section of the application form.For specialist items a single estimate/quote may be considered, however this will be subject to discussion on a project by project basis.For the majority of projects two quotes will be required - this can include screenshots from websites that clearly show the cost for each individual item, as well as written quotes/estimates from suppliers/contractors.

Estimates/quotes must be itemised, detailed and comparable (in terms of measurements, rates, quantities, specification etc.).They must also detail VAT where applicable.

Any grant offer is made on the basis of the cheapest quote provided.Applicants can choose a more expensive supplier or contractor to complete the work or provide goods/services, but the applicant will need to fund any additional cost.


50% of the grant amount will be paid following grant approval and the return of the signed Terms & Conditions accepting the grant offer.  The remaining 50% will be released on receipt of the necessary financial records to show the amount of grant released on grant approval has been spent (e.g. invoices/receipts and full bank statements – transaction listings are not accepted).  No further grant will be paid until this evidence has been provided.

Project timescales

All approved projects must be completed within 18 months of the date of the formal offer letter.  The funding for any projects not completed within this timescale will be automatically withdrawn, unless a formal extension is agreed by us in writing.  Where no evidence of spend is provided in relation to the 50% grant released on grant approval, we will seek to recover the grant paid at the end of the 18-month period.

Who to contact?

For more information or if you have any queries, please contact:
Policy and Partnerships Team, Caerphilly County Borough Council, Penallta House, Tredomen Park, Ystrad Mynach, Hengoed, CF82 7PG.

Telephone: 01443 866391