Supporting Rural Communities

Supporting Rural Communities

The Royal Countryside Fund remains one of very few funders focused on rural communities across the UK.

Our experience shows that, by working with local organisations, we can help to address the challenges faced by those who live and work in rural areas.

We have just launched our exciting new strategy, setting out our vision for our work over the next four years. You can read more about this here.

As a result of this, we have paused our current grant programme and won’t be accepting applications in the coming months. We are planning to launch our new, reshaped grant programme this autumn. This will have a differentiated, focused approach, centred around increasing the resilience, sustainability and financial viability of rural communities, helping them to develop the skills and solutions they need to survive and thrive.

If you would like to receive more updates about this programme when they become available, please enter your email in the box below.

In the meantime, our website has lots of information about what we do, projects which we have supported and our Confident Rural Communities Network, which brings together the 300+ rural community organisations who have benefited from The Royal Countryside Fund’s grant programme since its inception in 2010.

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Please see our privacy policy for information on how we use your data.

Other sources of funding

  • We recommend looking at the small grant programme at King Charles III Charitable Fund (KCCF). The small grants programme supports projects across six funding themes: Heritage and Conservation, Education, Health and Wellbeing, Social Inclusion, Environment, and Countryside. You can find out more about KCCF’s work, the small grants eligibility criteria and application process here.
  • If you have a village hall with a small capital project, you could have 20% of the cost covered up to £5,000 through Action with Communities in Rural England. More information about the application and eligibility can be found here.
  • Charitable organisations in England can apply for a free Independent Energy Assessment, as part of the VCSE Energy Efficiency Scheme. The assessment provides a comprehensive evaluation of a building’s energy usage, efficiency and potential for energy saving. Following the assessment, an organisation may then apply to the scheme for a capital grant of up to £150,000 to install energy saving measures. More information can be found here.
  • The SUEZ Communities Fund in England provides grants between £3,000 and £50,000 for community projects delivering capital improvements to public amenities. These may include village hall improvements, village greens, country parks, nature reserves and conservation. More information can be found here.

Use the map below to see the projects we’re currently funding.

Click on the map points to find out more about each project.

Happiness Grants

Waitrose & Partners provides additional support to projects and organisations with our new Happiness Grants initiative. In 2024, we’re supporting two transformative projects making an impact in rural Britain: The Vale Pantry in North Dorset and North Norfolk Community Transport.

Find out more

South West Mull and Iona Development, Argyll & Bute

South West Mull and Iona children's groupThis project will establish a local sawmill to process timber from the community forest. It will allow the community to become more resilient by increasing the skills of employees and volunteers, provide local employment opportunities, and promote the consumption of locally produced goods.

At present, unmilled timber is exported off the island by road and sea, and milled timber products are imported by customers back onto the island. The sawmill will reduce the need for this, decreasing the carbon footprint of timber use on the island by adding value to it locally.

This will increase the resilience of this remote community and promote a greener economy.

Positive Community Action CIC, Wiltshire

Positive Community Action is a grassroots organisation that grew out of the pandemic as way to help ease fear and stress, while offering practical solutions to the emerging issue. They are helping to increase community resilience, by giving local people the agency to resolve their own issues, provide peer support and create their own events.

This project will give the project a home by supporting the provision of a community centre that will operate out of a refurbished double decker bus. This innovative approach will allow them to take support directly to where it is needed most. As a project that was developed by the community for the community, they are uniquely placed to understand the needs of local people.

Stoke Ferry Community Enterprise Ltd, Norfolk

Stoke Ferry This project will help improve community resilience by creating new spaces for the Widening Food Choice for All activities offered at the Blue Bell Pub. Developed by grassroots activists from within the community, it will renovate a currently unusable outbuilding and create an accessible, resurfaced car park. This will provide space for seasonal markets and a place for people to buy and exchange surplus fruit, vegetables, plants, honey, and flowers.

Widening local access to food choice and sharing will increase the capacity of the village to deal with unexpected shocks and changes such as price increases, food supply shortages, and potential pandemic variations. It will also reduce the length of chain from supplier to consumer, promoting a greener economy and bringing financial, health, and environmental benefits to the community.

Black Mountains College, Powys

Black Mountains College studentsThis project will increase BMC’s ability to meet the demand for its community based vocational short courses by appointing a part time Short Course Coordinator. The courses provided by the college are specifically created to address the lack of training and employment opportunities in the area. By consulting with local individuals and business, they ensure the courses reflect the needs of the area. All the courses have been designed to address these issues within the wider context of developing a model circular economy for the town of Talgarth – reducing waste, growing more of its own food, reducing supply chains, generating energy, regenerative horticulture and even supplying building materials (timber).

In addition to the benefits felt by those directly taking part in the courses, the project will engage other residents and community organisations by creating spaces for the whole community to enjoy; these will include orchards, woodlands, gardens, and meadows.

The outcome will be a more self-sufficient, cohesive community, that is better able to withstand the impacts of wider economic challenges, such as increased fuel costs, compromised supply chains, labour shortages and insecure food production.


The Royal Countryside Fund is committed to transparency and we work with 360Giving to publish information about our grants. 360Giving is an initiative that aims to help UK funders publish their data in an open and standard format online. You can explore our grant-making, and that of over one hundred other funders, using 360Giving’s GrantNav and Insights tools.

Using the 360Giving Data Standard, our awarded grants since 2022 are available to download as an excel file here.

This work is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License. This means the data is freely accessible to anyone to be used and shared as they wish. The data must be attributed to The Royal Countryside Fund.

We believe that with better information, funders can be more effective and strategic decision makers. 360Giving supports funders to publish open data about their grants and empowers people to use this data to improve charitable giving through a range of free online tools. For more information, visit the 360Giving website.

Village Survival Guide

Want to get your community up and running? Our Village Survival Guide offers hints, tips, and practical advice from people who’ve made a real difference in their rural community. Purchase yours today!

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