Policy, campaigns & research

Death of public sector grants will damage people and communities

As Local Authorities finalise budgets, a new campaign calls for a halt to the dangerous decline in grant funding by public bodies to charities and community groups.

5 February 2016

Available data on public sector grants shows that grants declined from £6 billion in 2003 to £2.2 billion in 2013, and are likely to have even declined further since then. If the decline continues at the current rate, grants will have all but disappeared by the next General Election, having been largely replaced by short-term, inflexible and bureaucratic contracts.

Debra Allcock-Tyler, Chief Executive of the Directory for Social Change, launched the campaign today at the Charity Finance Group Community Accounting Conference. She said: “DSC has long expressed grave concerns about the rapid decline in grant funding from government for the voluntary sector. Grants are absolutely essential for charities and community groups because they can put people at the very centre of projects and services, allowing them to solve problems in their community. When local councils slash grants or dump them for hugely restrictive contracts they are simply shooting themselves in the foot! That isn’t a solution – it just means social problems will increase as vital services provided by charities deteriorate or collapse.

“This might seem like a curious time to launch this campaign – when we are staring down the barrel of more cuts and local government in particular is under huge financial pressure. But actually grants can be part of the solution. It’s high time to make the counter-argument and start campaigning for Grants for Good!”

Commenting on the launch of the campaign, Kathy Evans, Chief Executive of Children England, said: “Grants are more than just a sum of money to the charities and community groups that rely on them. They’re the lifeblood of thousands of local initiatives that families thrive on, from play schemes to employment support for disabled people. Where contracts tend to be short term and impose restrictive conditions on service delivery, grants empower people to deliver what works for their community – sustainably. We really can’t afford to lose them.”

Grants for Good is run by Directory for Social Change, Charity Finance Group, Children England and Lloyds Bank Foundation for England and Wales, who are using their networks to gather examples of effective grant-making and build a case for commissioners to choose grants instead of contracts where a responsive local service is needed.



  • The campaign urges any voluntary or community sector organisation who has benefitted from grant funding to share their stories with the campaign and to join the ‘Save our grants’ summit on March 4th in central London. This event will run from 12pm – 2pm and lunch will be provided.
  • Further information can be found on the campaign website www.dsc.org.uk/grantsforgood and by following the campaign twitter account @Grants4Good
  • Available for interview: Kathy Evans, CEO Children England; Jay Kennedy, Director of Policy and Research, Directory for Social Change; Anjelica Finnegan, Senior Policy and Public Affairs Officer, Charity Finance Group. Contact Chloë Darlington for further information chloe.darlington@childrenengland.org.uk / 020 3597 6296.
  • Founded in 1974, the Directory of Social Change (DSC) is a national charity which supports an independent voluntary sector through campaigning, training and publications. DSC is the largest supplier of information and training to the voluntary sector, and its work helps tens of thousands of organisations every year achieve their aims. Learn more at www.dsc.org.uk.
  • Children England is the leading membership organisation for the children, young people and families’ voluntary sector. With member organisations working in all parts of the country ranging from small local groups to the largest household names in children’s charities, Children England is in a unique position to use the collective voice of the voluntary sector to achieve positive change for children. www.childrenengland.org.uk.
  • Charity Finance Group is the charity that champions best practice in finance management in the voluntary sector. We are membership organisation, and over 1,350 charities are members of CFG. Our members collectively manage over £21.1billion, which represents almost a third of the charity sector’s income.
  • Lloyds Bank Foundation for England and Wales is one of the leading community grant makers. An independent registered charity funded by the profits of Lloyds Banking Group. The Foundation invests in small and medium-sized charities supporting people to break out of disadvantage at critical points in their lives and promotes practical approaches to lasting change.
  • The National Association for Voluntary and Community Action (NAVCA) is the national voice of local support and development organisations in England. They are a charity that champions and strengthens voluntary and community action by supporting their members in their work with over 160,000 local charities and community groups. www.navca.org.uk