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.

Supporting Rural Communities is our flagship grant programme, awarding £500,000 each year to power community-led solutions that enhance the viability and sustainability of rural communities. Grants are for a maximum of £25,000 over two years, and applicants must be from properly constituted, not for profit organisations with an income of less than £500,000. We support projects taking places in villages and towns in rurally isolated areas, where access to services is limited.

The Royal Countryside Fund’s autumn grant funding is now closed.

To help you with your application, please make sure you read the eligibilty criteria and application guidance. Before starting the form, you can also view the application questions to discuss with your organisation, as well as the FAQs about our application process and application tips. Our team has worked hard to compile these documents to give you and your organisation the best chance of success!

How to submit an application

Eligibility criteria

Application guidance

View the questions

Read the FAQs

Application tips

We receive many more applications than we can fund. Unfortunately, this means that, even if your work matches our areas of interest, we may not be able to make a grant. 

If you have read all of the guidance documents, and still have a question about your project, please complete the form linked below and a member of staff will be in touch. Please note, we are a small staff team, so this may not be immediate.

Speak to the team

If your project doesn’t fit within the criteria of our grant programme, 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.

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 2023, we’re supporting six projects across the UK by partnering with local Waitrose locations and providing mentoring support.

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.

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!

Buy now


We are grateful to players of People’s Postcode Lottery for their ongoing support.

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