Funding a paddling project: other sources of funding available

At the Canoe Foundation we have specific aims for projects which we will look at funding. However, we’re aware that there are lots of projects out there in need of funding, related to paddling and waterway usage, that sit outside of our specific aims. So we’ve compiled a list of other ways of funding a paddling project to help!

These projects might include raising money for equipment for your paddling club, raising funds to fix your equipment shed or clubhouse, or requiring funding to set up river clean initiatives or water quality monitoring. So below you will find a list of places to apply for full funding or match funding for projects you have in mind. Funding a paddling project made easy…

Funding for equipment, building repairs and/or purchases

The National Lottery Community Fund

There are several funds available from the National Lottery for various projects you might have. You can apply for grant funding for up to £10,000 or over £10,000 where the project fits with specific aims of the fund. Make sure you check the specific funds available before you start applying. Funds are available across the UK.

Sport England

Currently the Sport England funding for sports clubs is focusing on COVID affected clubs and organisations. So if the funding you require is of a direct result of COVID loss, then this is a route you can look for funding. Funds are available for England only. Sport Scotland, Sport Wales and Sport Northern Ireland also have funds available for home nations.

Supermarket Community Funds

Many supermarkets have funds available for ongoing funding rather than just one off payments. They often support local community groups, clubs and smaller charities. Find out more by clicking the relevant fund below.
Coop Local Community Fund
Tesco Community Grants
Morrisons Foundation
Asda Foundation

Aviva Community Fund

The Aviva Community Fund delivers funding and support all year-round. Every three months they split £250,000 among their UK employees to donate to the projects that matter to them most. Through Crowdfunder, causes can add to any donations they get from the Aviva Community Fund with public donations.

Team VIY (Volunteer it Yourself)

If you have a core group of young people at your club, and your facilities are in need of some love and restoration, then the social enterprise Volunteer it Yourself could be the answer to your prayers. The social enterprise helps sports clubs across England transform their facilities and train up local young people with a skill or trade at the same time. Find out if your club could be eligible on the link above!

Council Grants

Parish Council Grants

Your local Parish Council has the ability to make small grants of a few hundred pounds. If you’re looking for a small grant, this is a great place to start and network with your local community too.
Top tip: get to know your Parish Councillors. Build bonds with your local representatives and be honest about what your club/project needs. Even if they can’t help fund you, they will know of other funds available in the local area, or businesses looking to support local causes.

District Council Grants

District council grants available will vary from district to district, so it’s worth checking what’s available. Again, these grants are likely to be small, £100 to a few thousand pounds, so be realistic about what you need and the cost implications. Councils will also have different aims and objectives, so before applying, make sure you fit with their objectives.
Top tip: get to know your District Councillors. Invite them down for a session!? Show them the problems you’re facing and why you need funding. Build bonds with your local representatives and be honest about what your club/project needs. Even if they can’t help fund you, they will know of other funds available in the local area.

County Council Grants

Much like the other local grants mentioned above, your County Council will have funding pots available at different times of the year. This is also worth keeping in mind if you’re looking for flood relief funding for your club or project. Make sure that the funding you’re asking for matches one of those pots available.
Top tip: Google is your friend, if you type for your County Council with ‘grants’ or ‘funding’ at the end, generally you’ll find what you need.

Environmental projects

There are pots available too for more environmentally based projects which you might want to tap up for match funding or for funding on projects we can’t help fund. The funds available below are just a few of the ones you should look into to help you achieve your project.

Esmee Fairbairn

The Esmee Fairbairn Foundation is looking to fund projects which help preserve and improve species health and habitats, support sustainable and ethical food supply and support clean and healthy freshwater initiatives. This would be a good fund to tap into for water quality projects, river clean ups and invasive non native species projects too.

Water Companies

Water companies across the country have funds available for water quality/waterway improvements/waterway enjoyment purposes. Before you apply, make sure your project fits with the company’s specific aims, and importantly, make sure you’re applying to the right water company! If your project is in Nottingham, for example, make sure you’re applying to the Severn Trent Community Fund rather than Northumbrian Water! This list is not exhaustive, so make sure you check out your water provider for their grants and funding available for funding your paddling project.

Northumbrian Water 
South West Water
Thames Water 
Wessex Water
Severn Trent Community Fund
Southern Water Community Fund
Yorkshire water – funding information currently unavailable
Anglian Water
Dwr cymru – Welsh Water

Hopefully that gives you a good starting point as to where to apply for funding for your project if your aims fit outside our criteria. Remember as well, we would always encourage you to try and get match funding for a project. Match funding means that other charities or stakeholders agree to ‘share the cost’ of the project, and they’re looked on more favourably when looking at larger application bids. If you’ve got an expensive project you’re looking to fund, above £10,000, then the list of charities and organisations above could be useful for match funding applications.

This list is not exhaustive, it’s merely a starting point. Look into local funding pots, tap up local businesses for sponsorship, tie in with local Wildlife Trusts for example. There are pots of money out there to help you get your project off the ground if you know where to look. Good luck and let us know how you get on funding your paddling project!

We rely on donations to improve places to paddle across the UK.  Please consider donating a one off or regular amount to our Foundation to help us continue with our work and ensure everyone has sustainable, effective access to our waterways and coastline. Thank you. Donate here >

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