Ford - Southampton Community Fund

The aim of this grant programme is to fund skills initiatives for young people aged 11-25 years old, living in Southampton and Eastleigh. Nonprofit community organisations working with these target groups can apply for two-year grants of up to £6,000 per year (up to £12,000 over 24 months). All multi-year grants will be paid in annual instalments with second year funding subject to the completion of adequate year one reporting.


Ford: This grant programme is made possible through the Ford Southampton Endowment Fund.


HIWCF: This fund is administered by HIWCF. HIWCF’s core aim is to tackle poverty and inequality. This grant programme is designed to support this goal through meeting our impact theme around ‘Employability and Skills’.


Please see the application form guidance.


Please see the grant agreement guidance

Need help?

Please contact the grants team if you have any queries.

Programme Overview

Status: Open
Opening Date: 11/03/2024
Closing Date: 29/04/2024
Minimum Grant: £1,000
Maximum Grant: Up to £6,000 per year for two years (up to £12,000 over 24 months)
Location: Southampton City Council and Eastleigh Borough Council


This fund is about supporting young people to acquire new skills.  Both life skills and employability skills can help remove or reduce the barriers faced by young people as they enter their adult lives, helping them to grow into active citizens who take on volunteering, employment, or further learning.


These grants are for nonprofit community organisations that reach young people aged 11-25 years old through skills-based interventions. Examples of projects could include: youth clubs with sustained and structured activity programmes, coding clubs, themed workshops (for example IT, public speaking, CV writing); work experience initiatives; social enterprises that offer skills for participants.


Although applications for any age groupings within the 11-25 year old band will be considered, a number of designated grans will be made for applications focused on work with young people aged 14-19; this can be a key transition point for young people.


We are looking for grant bids that meet BOTH of the following programme criteria.


1) Your application must be for work targeting young people aged 11-25 years old who face barriers to learning. This could include young people living in poverty, young people who have struggled with mainstream education, people with special education needs (SEN), care-experienced young people, young people with mental health problems, young people from minoritised groups (NB this is not an exhaustive list of examples). Please make clear in your bid who your target group is.


2) Your application must be for a sustained programme of learning. We will not fund one-off trips or experiences but are looking to fund programmes of work that help young people to develop and grow. The learners that we want this funding to reach may face setbacks and not always make linear progress, so projects should be responsive to learner needs.


Additional Criteria:  

– Your grant application can be for a new or existing programme of delivery.

– Your grant can be used towards a larger project if it meets the fund objectives.

– Budget Costs: We want to help you run these activities over a 24 month period, so will cover staff and volunteer costs, activity costs such as room hire and running costs, and a proportionate contribution to the core costs of your organisation to deliver this work. We will consider small items of equipment as part of a wider budget.

– This fund is for grass-roots organisations defined as organisations with an annual income under £1million.

– Please note that we WILL accept applications from Grantees that hold a current 2023 ‘Ford’ grant.



– We will not fund national charities where local branches cannot demonstrate local independence in terms of governance, bank accounts etc.

– We will not fund community organisations that lack a current project base in Southampton or Eastleigh – you must evidence that at least one of these locations is a key priority area within your delivery.

– We will not fund capital costs, refurbishment of buildings, or large items of equipment over £1,000.

– We will not fund any provision that is a statutory requirement or is profit making.

– We will not fund work targeted at students from outside of the specified geographical areas studying at the local Universities.

– We will not fund one-off events.

– This is a community learning programme so we are not seeking to fund: scholarships or programmes around elite performance.

– We will not fund projects that solely focus on residential trips (residentials as part of a wider learning programme would be considered).


What does a strong application look like?

To help us understand how your bid matches our criteria you must match your bid to the two programme criteria detailed above.


Please have a read of these case studies as examples of work that meet our programme criteria. All examples are fictitious and for illustrative purposes only.


In the Zone, based in Southampton. This charity runs a twice weekly youth club. It draws participants from the local housing estates and knows that many of the young people who attend are from low-income households; it is aware that a significant portion of its attendees have unauthorised absence from school and feel disengaged from formal education. ‘In the Zone’ has recently started to run a weekend coding sessions for its young participants aged 12-16 years old. It will use a ‘Ford – Southampton Community Fund’ grant of £2,000 a year for two years (£4,000) to cover the costs of a tutor for delivery each week and for some online learning materials.


How does this bid meet the programme criteria?

The work is targeting young people within the 11–25-year-old age band. It is targeting young people from low-income households and those at risk of disengaging from school.

The project will deliver a sustained programme of delivery (38 weeks a year) that helps young people to develop preparatory work skills.


Working for You, based in Eastleigh. This employment charity has a youth programme focused on young adults who are not in education, employment, or training (NEET). It matches young participants with a mentor who they meet with on a weekly basis to support them in planning the next steps in work or study. It also offers a range of workshops that young people can access around workplace skills. In 2023 it brokered links with a local social enterprise café to start offering placements for young people – placements rotate to include skills about updating the café website, menu planning, budgeting, and customer service. It will use a ‘Ford – Southampton Community Fund’ grant of £5,890 a year for two years (£11,780) to cover the costs of 15 young people aged 17-19 years old having a mentor for a year, accessing workshops and being offered supported placements for 12 weeks at the social enterprise cafe.


How does this bid meet the programme criteria?

The work is targeting young people within the 11–25-year-old age band who are NEET.

The work is supporting a sustained programme of skills that will help young people to succeed in the workplace.