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 are currently in the process of developing our exciting new strategy, building on our work over the last 14 years to help rural communities to become more self-sufficient, resilient, and sustainable.

As part of this work, we are reshaping our grant programme, and therefore we will not be running a Spring round of grant funding. However, if you check back on this page in April, we will have some more information available by then about our future grant programme and how to apply.

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.

Come back in April to find out more about our new strategy and future grant programme.

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.

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!

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