NESTA (the National Endowment for Science Technology and Art) have an interesting sounding funding opportunity called the Neighbourhood Challenge. The timing is tight and it comes with a modest health warning, but for those set up to apply for funding and all that entails, have a look.
The modest health warning (from Transition Network):
For those groups looking at potentially accessing these big pots of money, it’s worth mentioning up front that the effort required just to submit a proposal is likely to a far bigger undertaking than you’re expecting. We’ve talked to other groups who’ve taken this path and their stories are generally not happy. In one instance, where there was lower than a 3% chance of getting a whopping great big £100k+ grant, the food group in one Transition Initiative expended ALL their energy on the bid over a significant period, failed, and completely disbanded in disillusionment. That group would have been far better off doing lots of small visible projects that inspired the local people and attracted more into the group.
We’d much rather see £1million funding go to providing 100 projects with £10k rather than providing £100k to just 10 projects.
At some point, big money will help – it’ll be crucial. But timing is everything, and if your group doesn’t have the expertise, experience and resources to chase these big grants, our advice is to tread warily.