Funding Alerts

Bernard Sunley Charitable Foundation

by | Nov 16, 2017 |

Of interest to organisations dealing with Young People, Disadvantaged People, Elderly, Capital Projects, Local Communities, SEND, Health, Education, Social Welfare

The Bernard Sunley Charitable Foundation aims to help raise the quality of life, particularly for those who are young, disadvantaged or elderly.


There ar wo criteri o fulfil before applying for a grant:

  1. The Foundation only supports charities registered in England and Wales unless the organisation has ‘accepted’ status, i.e. churches, schools, scout and guide groups, or ‘exempt’ status, e.g. housing associations, friendly societies including social housing providers, Co-operative Societies, Community Benefit Societies and Registered Societies (previously known as industrial & provident societies).

Otherwise you are not eligible to apply to us. This exclusion includes Parish Councils, Community Amateur Sports Clubs (CASC) and Community Interest Companies (CIC).

If your charity’s income is below £5,000 and is not registered with the Charity Commission you must tell us the charity’s Gift Aid number as supplied by HMRC.


  1. They offer one-off grants for capital projects, i.e. new buildings, major refurbishments, transport and equipment. Rented premises are expected to have a lease of at least 10 years. Applications for transport should be for new, not used, vehicles. Applications for equipment should be for single, high cost (£5,000 and over), durable items (for exclusions, see below).

Where grants are made, the projects are expected to be self-financing thereafter.

They do not fund running/revenue costs, e.g. salaries, training costs, rent and utilities, software licences. They rarely fund reasonably priced, non-durable equipment subject to wear and tear, such as appliances, camping gear, cutlery/crockery, furniture, mobility aids, musical instruments, tablets/laptops and clothing/uniforms. They also do not fund feasibility studies, building surveys or planning applications. If you are in doubt whether your capital project is eligible, please call them before submitting an application.

They receive many requests for funding from churches; those that are successful in receiving a grant host a high proportion of secular activities (i.e. no connection at all with religion or spirituality) that are open access to their local community, as opposed to being accessed mainly by the congregation. Your application needs to provide strong evidence of the range of secular activities and the numbers involved.


What For?

Their grants are divided into the following categories.



Trustees have two main themes under this category to help create cohesive and positive communities:

First, Trustees are strong believers that every community needs a focus upon which to build cohesion. They are therefore advocates of the ‘village hall’, particularly in isolated rural areas where facilities are often very limited. They support church halls, churches and other religious buildings, but only where there is strong evidence that a high proportion of secular activities (i.e. no connection at all with religion or spirituality) accessible to the whole community take place. Conservation and heritage projects for halls/churches are not generally supported.

Second, Trustees wish to assist young people attain their full potential and take their place within society as responsible citizens. To this end, they support youth activity centres, uniformed youth groups, and youth and sports clubs. They also help those who are young ex-offenders, ‘at risk’ or in danger of exclusion.

Types of application considered:

New build, refurbishment and improvement of village halls, Scout/Guide huts, youth clubs, community centres and similar. This often includes access for the disabled, modernising kitchens, new storage space and updating toilets in line with Health and Safety regulations and the Disability Discrimination Act.


Trustees focus on Special Schools assisting those with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND). The Foundation also supports educational nature and farm visitor centres. Mainstream schools and universities should not apply.

Types of application considered:

  • Building projects
  • Specialist new transport


The Foundation supports building projects for residential care housing, treatment centres and the provision of major equipment (not consumables) to enhance medical treatment and care.

Types of application considered:

  • Improvements to hospices and treatment clinics
  • Residential care for the elderly and those with special needs
  • New major equipment not available through the NHS
  • Research medical equipment
  • Specialist new transport

Social Welfare

Applications for capital projects are considered by trustees ranging from residential housing for the homeless to ‘day centres’ providing support, training and education facilities.

Trustees also support the welfare needs of those who have served in the Armed Forces, the emergency services and their families, particularly those with physical and mental health issues.

Types of application considered:

  • New build and refurbishment of residential and rehabilitation centres; premises for the relief of homelessness, those suffering from substance abuse and young people ‘at risk’; emergency centres which do not qualify for statutory funding.
  • ‘Move on’ support facilities
  • Day care / Drop-in-centres

How Much?

Each year grants totalling about £2.5 million are made to a wide range of charities.

You can specify an amount, but it is not necessary. Trustees decide how much to award based on all the information contained in the application. Grants are from £1,000 upwards and the majority (roughly 80%) of grants awarded are under £5,000. Grants of over £25,000 are exceptional and are typically awarded to major capital projects. Grants are normally a small proportion of your total budget or shortfall as the Foundation rarely funds a significant proportion (20%+) of a project. For example, if your budget is £30,000 the grant is likely to be between £1,000 and £6,000. The Foundation expects to be one of a number of contributors to a project. Projects with a total budget of under £5,000 should not apply for a grant.


There are no formal application deadlines. The Trustees meet on a regular basis and they accept applications via our online form all year round.