Community Grants – Level 1

We recognise the fantastic work done by regional charities as well as grassroots, volunteer-led community projects. We have launched our Community Grants Scheme to show our support for those who work to help our customers’ communities thrive.

By applying for Level 1 funding support, UK-registered charities operating in the South East have the opportunity to be chosen as one of our five regional charity partners for 2021–22 that will receive a grant of £10k–£20k.

Please be aware that any information that we capture or that you provide on this form in relation to your contact details will not be treated as personally identifiable information and will not be covered by GDPR as we treat this as business contact information only. However, your information will be treated securely in line with our policies.

Please note: Level 1 funding applications are due to re-open September 2022.

Frequently asked questions

Who can apply for funding?

The grants scheme aims to provide ongoing support for five regional charities at Level 1. For this year, we are also offering Level 2 funding support that allows community-focused, non-registered charities and community groups to apply for the first time.

We welcome applications for Level 1 funding support from:

  • UK-registered charities which support communities in our area of operation (Kent, Sussex, Hampshire and Isle of Wight)
  • projects that benefit communities as opposed to individuals
  • regional charities and community groups that can demonstrate projects that support the outcomes under our company values
  • organisations that can demonstrate a commitment to equality, diversity and inclusion.

Are there any community groups and/or charities you are unable to support?

We are unable to accept applications from campaigning organisations or those whose services benefit solely a specific political or religious bias.

Which are the regions?

The grants are divided between the following regional funding pots:

  • Kent
  • West Sussex
  • East Sussex
  • Hampshire
  • Isle of Wight

What are the criteria for projects you are looking to support?

We welcome applications from regional charities and community partners who would benefit from financial support to deliver sustainable projects that are aligned with our company purpose, which is – to provide Water for Life to:

  • enhance health and wellbeing
  • protect and improve the environment
  • sustain the economy.

The following examples show some of the areas in which community projects can support our purpose:

Enhance health and wellbeing

  • Supporting mental health services
  • Promoting healthy lifestyle choices
  • Supporting access and enjoyment of blue/green spaces
  • Championing diversity in our communities and reducing social isolation

Protect and improve the environment

  • Re-wilding projects, encouraging bio-diversity and wildlife
  • Supporting clean beaches and promoting safe water use
  • Protecting rivers, ponds and streams
  • Encouraging sustainable watering practices for our communities

Sustain the economy

  • Championing better equality and inclusion in our communities
  • Reducing barriers to employment across all age groups
  • Raising aspirations and mentoring projects for young people
  • Supporting those experiencing hardship as a result of the pandemic

Successful applications must also:

  • deliver a project and demonstrate positive outcomes within 12 months
  • demonstrate that the charity will be supported by funding or part funding of a project that supports our communities' needs
  • be open to working with Southern Water and support our partnership criteria and provide accurate, timely and transparent outcome reporting throughout the process
  • not apply for funds that exceed more than 10% of the charity’s total turnover
  • undergo a validation check by the Charities Aid foundation.

What is the application process?

  • All applicants must complete the relevant application form on the Southern Water website.
  • Please note these application forms should be completed in one go. All questions are visible.
  • We operate to strict guidelines and cannot accept any applications received after the 30 May 2021.
  • All applications will be assessed against the specified criteria of Southern Water’s Customer Action Group and our employee steering group.

How will the decision-making process take place?

We look forward to receiving applications from charities, community enterprises, CICs and volunteer-led organisations supporting these aims. Shortlisted applications will be evaluated by our Customer Action Group (representing customer voices) and employee steering group and their decision will be final.

For registered charities looking for Level 1 funding between £10k–£20k:

  • The application window opens on 15 April 2021 and closes on 30 May 2021.
  • Shortlisted applicants for the regional charity sector will be invited to present to a panel of customers and employees in June 2021. All shortlisted charities invited to present will receive a £250 donation to recognise time spent preparing the funding bid, regardless of the outcome.
  • June – decision-making process.
  • July – successful applicant notified.
  • September – announcement and payments made.

Can I apply more than once?

Yes, if you are a registered charity and apply for funding between £10k–£20k and are unsuccessful, you may apply for the next Level 2 funding cycle for a smaller amount (£1k–£8k).

Groups that apply for Level 2 funding and are unsuccessful may apply again at a later cycle. However, we strongly advise them to adapt their application for re-submission if they expect a different outcome.

Who can I contact if I have questions?

If you have any questions or problems with the application forms please contact: [email protected] and we will try to answer your query. This contact inbox is monitored during usual office hours of Monday – Friday, 9am – 5pm (excluding Bank Holidays).

Please note, we cannot change or alter a submitted application on your behalf.

We will also be hosting a series of webinars about the application procedure. You can reserve your space and be notified of the planned dates by contacting us on the above email address.

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