Investing in Communities Fund round two: final funding guidance

Investing in Communities Fund 1 April 2023 to 31 March 2026: guidance note for applicants.

Submitting your application

Note the following points:

  • the fund opened on Tuesday 31 May 2022 at 2pm
  • the fund will close on Tuesday 28 June 2022 at 2pm
  • application forms must be submitted by eligible organisations
  • the application process is delivered through an online portal: Apply to the Investing in Communities Fund


Note: When you register on the portal, you will need to provide documents from one or more of the following regulatory bodies to confirm your organisation type and eligibility to apply for ICF funding. 

Organisation eligibility

Scottish Charitable Incorporated Organisation (SCIO) - upload OSCR’s Certificate of Incorporation

Charity based in Scotland that is also a company limited by guarantee -  upload your Certificates of Incorporation from OSCR and Companies House

Charity based in Scotland that is also a Community Benefit Society regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) - upload your Certificate of Incorporation from OSCR and your registration document from the Financial Conduct Authority

Community Interest Company - upload your Certificate of Incorporation from the Regulator of Community Interest Companies’ 

Community Council - upload your agreed Scheme of Establishment with the Local Authority and your written constitution

Authorised person eligibility

If you are the authorised person in the applicant organisation submitting this application, upload a scanned signed letter on your organisation’s letter headed paper confirming this.

If you are submitting this application on behalf of the authorised person in your  organisation, upload a scanned signed letter on your organisation’s letter headed paper. This letter must be from the authorised person named on your application form and must confirm you are authorised to submit this application


  • please ensure that the completed online application is submitted by or on behalf of an authorised person for your organisation
  • please contact the ICF Team as soon as possible if you need the application form or any of the supporting documents in alternative formats for accessibility reasons. You do not need to wait until the fund opens to request this.
  • please note there are character/word limits to some questions. These are a guide and the maximum limits do not need to be met. Be specific, ensure your application is clear and to the point about what you are doing/plan to do.
  • if you are unable to answer a question in the application form please clearly explain why. However, please bear in mind that if the application is materially incomplete – meaning that a significant amount of the application contains little or no information in answer to the questions – then we will be unable to progress the application to assessment stage.
  • please review the information in your application form and the project budget template prior to submitting it for assessment to ensure that all the information asked for is provided and accurate. We will not  accept replacement application forms or project budget templates for consideration should you subsequently identify that the information provided was incomplete or incorrect.
  • we will only be able to consider information that you provide in the application form, the project budget template and where the online application funding portal prompts you to upload other documents that are specifically requested. Please do not include any supplementary attachments or hyperlinks as these will not form part of the assessment of your application.
  • we are unable to comment on draft applications
  • when you submit your application you will immediately receive an automated email acknowledgment confirming receipt. This will contain a unique application reference number which you must quote in all correspondence with us regarding the project.

Eligible costs/expenditure

  • the total fund value each year is expected to be approximately £10 million subject to confirmation of budgets following the outcome of annual spending reviews
  • ICF grant funding is provided in financial years running from 1 April in one year to 31 March in the following year
  • funding is available to cover revenue costs incurred and activity undertaken during the period from 1 April 2023 to 31 March 2026, where directly related to the project/service. This includes staff posts, a proportionate contribution to core running costs, proportionate/reasonable costs related to evaluation of the project, and small items of equipment (e.g. laptops, office furniture, stationery, training materials and tools) that are required to enable delivery of the project and/or service.
  • small-scale capital costs up to a maximum of £20,000 per application, where these capital costs are directly related to the wider project/service delivery which is the main focus of the proposal.  Examples might include small-scale works to help reconfigure an asset/facility owned or managed by the applicant organisation from which the project/service will be delivered. We will need written confirmation that appropriate permissions and consents are in place to carry out any capital works (for example, building warrant or planning permission).
  • management costs of up to 10% of the total requested ICF grant contribution will be considered where a clear justification for them can be evidenced.
  • there is limited funding available, so this means we are asking applicants to be realistic and reasonable about the amount of grant that they are requesting.
  • the minimum you can apply for is £5,000 over one financial year (for example, to undertake a feasibility study), however, we encourage you to consider the funding that would be required to deliver future phases of the project should the feasibility study be supportive. We will work with you to consider funding for future phases but please be aware that we may not be able to fund costs if significantly different to projected costs.
  • the maximum you can apply for over the three consecutive financial years is £350,000, including any small-scale capital costs (up to the maximum of £20,000 per application).  Please note: Only in exceptional cases will applications requesting more than the maximum be considered, and only where there is a clear justification of need, evidence of cost-effective delivery and positive impact from the project.
  • if applying for less than 3 years’ funding the maximum you can apply for in a single financial year is £150,000.
  • please complete the project budget template in full, including the provision of clear information detailing the estimated breakdown of costs by individual cost category that the requested grant will be used for i.e. all eligible expenditure.
  • please ensure expenditure figures are consistent with the start and end dates of the project and are also profiled to be incurred during the relevant financial years running from 1 April in one year to 31 March in the following year (i.e. 2023/24, 2024/25 and 2025/26).  ICF is unable to fund costs incurred before 1 April 2023 or after 31 March 2026.
  • project proposals can request 100% ICF grant to cover all eligible project costs, however, securing additional funding from partnerships and other funders is welcomed as this can indicate stronger support and collaboration.
  • for successful projects we will be unable to commit to future increases in the grant funding available for the project during the ICF funding period, including for costs that you might have forgotten to include in the application.
  • for successful projects awarded grant over multiple financial years, the year two (2024/25) and year three (2025/26) funding will depend on the applicant organisation demonstrating achievement of agreed annual project activities and outcomes, and also on the outcome of annual spending reviews.

Project costs not eligible for ICF grant funding

  • costs which someone else is paying for, whether in cash or in kind
  • items or services that only benefit an individual
  • the repayment of loans or payments of debt
  • trips abroad or activities promoting a religion or political party
  • costs that do not directly support and enable delivery of the project/services or project outcomes such as: general improvements to public areas; notional costs contingency costs; and staff redundancy costs
  • a budget to be used as a subsidiary fund for other organisations to bid/apply into - with the sole exception of participatory budgeting activity
  • applications solely for capital projects
  • capital costs in excess of £20,000, for example, towards the purchase of buildings or other community assets
  • costs incurred prior to 1 April 2023 or after 31 March 2026



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