Are you ready for the Prospectus? Get ahead of the game now!

Page last updated on 29 September 2016 - please note that this page will be regularly updated with the most current information
On this page, you will find information about the VCS Grants Prospectus.

Page contents

What is the VCS Grants Prospectus?

It is a new approach to grant funding from Bristol City Council (BCC). In April 2015, BCC reviewed its approach to grant funding and initiated a co-design process. A group of council officers and people from the voluntary and community sector (VCS) worked together to design a new approach to grant funding and agreed that the council’s grant investment needed to focus on tackling disadvantage in the city.
The new approach is called the ‘VCS Grants Prospectus’ – a new development which describes what council grant funding is available, what the council wants to achieve, what it expects from funded organisations, the steps for applying for and the allocation of grants.
The proposed approach was published for consultation between November 2015 and February 2016. Click here for more information about the consultation. New grants are planned to start on 1 July 2017.

Latest news from Bristol City Council and application forms

The VCS Grants Prospectus was launched on 1 September 2016.The Prospectus document can be viewed here and a smaller version (easier to print).

For more information (including application forms) and to apply, visit the council’s website.

Other useful documents:


Working with children and young people

Please note this statement about including work with children and young people in Prospectus applications (1/9/16), which is an excerpt from Bristol City Council’s Application Guidance Notes.

“Note about children’s services/activities
The Bristol Impact Fund will be used to fund services for adults and for young people (aged 16+).  There is no grants money coming into the prospectus for children’s services, which are all strategically commissioned.  The grant monies we are aligning to form the new pooled Bristol Impact Fund are all from adult-focused grant streams and we do not have a sufficiently large grants budget to open it up to fund children’s services. Therefore Bristol Impact Fund will not fund activities or services that are targeted at children.

However we realise that many organisations work with families and their activities will impact on both adults and children. Organisations in this situation may want to tell us about the positive benefits (outcomes) for children in their response to the added value question in Part 2 of the application.  This way they can still tell us about their ‘whole’ work in a way that represents their activities and services.

The primary investment for young people in the city is through the Bristol Youth Links and the council plans to start the commissioning process for this in the autumn.  We do not therefore expect to use the Bristol Impact Fund to fund Youth Links type activities.”


Important dates

  • 4 August 2016: papers published for the Cabinet meeting (11/8/16) at which the Prospectus was approved.
  • 1 September 2016: launch of the VCS Grants Prospectus and start of application process.
  • 26 September 2016: deadline for Expression of Interest (Small grants only. Step 1).
  • w/c 3rd, 10th and 17th October 2016: discussion/meeting with council officers (Small grants only. Step 2; note that these slots need to be booked with the council).
  • 26 October 2016: applications invited after discussion/meeting with council officers (Small grants only. Step 3)
  • 21 November 2016: deadline for Small grant applications.
  • 7 November: deadline for Medium and Large grant applications. 

What do VCS organisations need to know now? 

The Prospectus proposal was approved by Bristol City Council’s Cabinet (11/8/16) and was launched 1 September with deadlines for applications in November (depending on the size of the grant). The Prospectus intends that the impacts of all funded activities will be: “reduced disadvantage and inequality, improved health and wellbeing, and increased resilience (people being more able to manage)” VCS organisations will be invited to apply for funds to address one or several challenges:

  • Reducing financial, food and fuel poverty
  • Tackling unemployment and underemployment
  • Improving access to information, services and opportunities in the city and increasing digital inclusion
  • Enabling influence and participation in the community
  • Reducing social isolation and improving mental health and wellbeing

The council wants VCS organisations to make a difference locally and create the impact needed by:

  • Giving the right help at the right time
  • Helping people to help themselves and each other
  • Building on the strengths of people and communities
  • Connecting people and organisations within and across communities

VCS organisations will be invited to apply for grants of different sizes, as follows.

  • Small: from £2,500 to £10,000 per annum for 2 years
  • Medium: from £10,001 to £49,999 per annum for 4 years
  • Large: from £50,000 to £150,000* per annum for 4 years
  • Collaborative grant: “We are open and interested to receive collaborative applications of any size (small, medium or large) from organisations where the collaboration will results in improved impact(s) for local people.”

* Community Transport organisations and Hate Crime service providers can apply for over £150,000 per year if they apply collaboratively.

“We have a guide cap (or maximum) of £150,000 for large grants because we want to use the money available to support a wide range of organisations and we do not want the council’s Bristol Impact Fund to be dominated by large grant awards. It is possible for an organisation to be part of more than one application or proposal. If this is the case we will calculate the total awards to that organisation when making our allocation recommendations so that we do not unknowingly exceed our guide cap.”

Online resources and support for your organisation and its partners

Voscur is here to support Bristol VCS organisations to apply to the VCS Grants Prospectus. Support is offered as follows.
1) Self-help – with online tools, checklists and templates for support with outcomes, impact, finances, resilience and more (click here)
2) Guided help – events, briefings and telephone advice sessions.
Briefings – in addition to events in June and July, we’re offering some lunchtime advice sessions in response to common requests:

Thursday 8 September – What is required at application stage? (St Werburghs Community Centre) book here

Wednesday 13 September – Resources to assist your collaboration (Greenway Centre, Southmead) book here

Thursday 22 September – Resources to assist your collaboration (repeat session) (Easton Community Centre) book here

Tuesday 27 September – Monitoring and Evaluation and the Prospectus (Gatehouse Centre, Hartcliffe) book here

Tuesday 27 September - Finace Forum, Budgeting in a consortium (Tony Benn House) book here

Wednesday 28 September – Small grants applications: preparing for your discussion with the council (St Paul’s Learning Centre) book here

Monday 10 October – Developing your Impact model (The Station) book here

These lunchtime sessions are designed to provide support for Bristol VCS organisations in applying for VCS Grants Prospectus funds. To get the most out of each session, participants will be familiar with the Prospectus (click here to read the Prospectus) intend to apply and need to consider specific aspects to help them prepare their proposals. The format of each session will be a short presentation about the subject, followed by open discussion so that organisations are able to have their questions answered.

Telephone advice sessions for individual organisations may cover individual subjects, such as impact, legal structure, monitoring/evaluation and policy development. These may be booked in advance by calling 0117 909 9949.
3) In-depth advice for collaborations – Bristol VCS organisations interested in collaborating may have started to work together and may need some additional support. If support is needed for developing your collaboration, please complete this short questionnaire, send it to and we will respond. Voscur’s support for collaborations will focus on supporting small and equalities-led Bristol VCS organisations working together.

Funding Application Review Service – this Voscur service offers independent, informed advice to support your organisation’s fundraising. It provides constructive, timely feedback on a funding application to increase: the quality of your bid; your chances of success; your confidence in explaining your proposal; your own skills and learning for future bids. For more information about the services and charges, click here.


Events and training sessions

12 Sept, 2.30-4pm Bristol Impact Fund information session (council event, including registration on ProContract system). The Park, Knowle West. Click here to book with the council

13 Sept, 7.30-9pm Bristol Impact Fund information session (council event, including registration on ProContract system). The Vassal Centre, Fishponds. Click here to book with the council

20 Sept, 3-5.30pm Bristol Impact Fund information session (council event, including registration on ProContract system). City Hall, The Writing Room. Click here to book with the council

27 Sept (morning): Budgeting in a Consortium – a discussion for finance managers/treasurers about managing finances when in collaboration with other organisations. Click here to find out more.

20/09/16 (morning): Responding to Changes (withdrawal of grant) – for organisations whose current grants are due to end in 2017, to help them prepare and plan. Click here to find out more.


Register your organisation’s interest in working with others

Voscur is providing support to interested VCS organisations that want to work together to apply for Prospectus grant funding and then to deliver services more closely. As there is a strong emphasis on collaborating and working together, we will support organisations to make connections with potential partners and to form effective collaborations. Please register your organisation’s interest here.

Organisations interested in working with others

For a list of organisations interested in working with others

>>Back to the top


Frequently asked questions

VCS organisations will want to know more about the grants process. Questions may be asked directly to the council using this email address:

Frequently asked questions and answers are published by Bristol City Council - click here.

Voscur’s Declaration of Interest - click here

For more information or to ask for support, please contact Voscur 0117 909 9949.