I have had several conversations over the last few months with a number of charities and social enterprises who are interested in how to access consultancy support through some of the key referral partners. This month’s blog is designed to give the key elements of the most common referral programs. All information is accurate at the time of writing:

Enhance Programme  – Lloyds Foundation

Lloyds provide a range of development support to help strengthen charities. As a result of Covid-19 the Foundation have adapted the offer, this is available to those who already have a grant with them.  Capacity building will continue through the Enhance programme and a new grant round will open during the Summer of 2020, to keep updated register for their newsletter here:   https://lloydsbankfoundation  & Learn more about the Enhance Programme here  We are current Enhance partners with Lloyds Foundation.

Esmee Fairbairn

‘Grants Plus’ is the additional support Esmee Fairbairn provide to current grant and social investment holders that enables the work that has been funded to have a greater impact.  In 2018 they spent £452k on Grants Plus work, supporting more than 170 organisations with training and consultancy. 

Esmee Fairbairn have a limited budget for Grants Plus and consider requests for support on a case by case basis. If you are currently funded by EF, and there is some consultancy or training you cannot afford yourself which could enable the work they have funded to have a greater impact.  https://esmeefairbairn.org.uk/grants-plus


National Lottery Fund

The National Lottery provide development funding as part of their Reaching Communities programme, however due to Covid-19 the usual rounds of funding have been replaced for the next 6 months, contact them directly to find out more: https://www.tnlcommunityfund.org.uk/

Other routes to support

Your local Community Foundation often has the discretion to provide development support to charities in their area, however all Foundations are managed differently so you will need to contact them directly.

Some Community Foundations provide small amounts of grant funding to be used for development costs, the process would be to visit their website and read their guidelines on what they can and cannot fund.

If you are looking for social investment to start up a social enterprise then I would recommend you visit the following websites:



In Somerset – the Somerset Community Foundation is one of the access points which provide a range of support, including access to free consultancy support to help organisations to identify whether the route to social investment is for them.  We have worked with a range of charities who have received social investment thanks to the wonderful team at Somerset Community Foundation. Most notably Elim Connect who through their Social Investment programme gained funds to start Root Connections CIC   Root Connections CIC is a ‘not for profit’ gardening project which is based on-site at a direct access community in Stratton on the Fosse.  On-site there is a 7-bed hostel which provides accommodation for people who are homeless and have multiple disadvantages such as addictions, poor mental or physical health and financial issues.

We hope you have found this useful, please do send us a message or leave a comment if you would like to share your knowledge of any other development funding, and do get in touch if you’d like to discuss any of the issues we have touched on.