Grants – How to apply

This section explains the two grants programmes and whom they are for, the application process (including restrictions and how to apply) and the best times to apply for grants.

Small and large grants programme
The application process
How to apply
When to apply
If an award is made


Small and large grants programme

The small grants programme supports state schools and small registered charities which would like to undertake projects which meet the Trust’s objectives and require a small amount of pump-priming in order for such projects to take place. The programme is a rolling one, with meetings at two-monthly intervals throughout the year – but it is wise to think well ahead. Suitable applications are allocated to the next available meeting, however due to high demand you are advised to submit an application at least six months ahead of your project start date.

The large grants programme is aimed at more comprehensive education programmes: these sometimes require support for the salary of an education officer; in such cases the ECT would always expect to be a part-funder. The range of the programme is wide; over the years education projects linked to theatres, art galleries and orchestras have been supported, as have those covering a wide range of environmental and countryside projects.


The application process

The ECT aims to have a ‘light-touch’ application process with a view to enabling small regional or local organisations to apply for support. All applicant organisations must be based and working in the UK and should be either state schools, registered charities or other recognised not-for-profit organisations. It is very important however to read the list of restrictions below before applying.

Grants are normally awarded for one year only.



Grants are not made:

  • retrospectively
  • to pre-school groups, individuals, agricultural colleges, independent schools or local authorities
  • for building work, infrastructure or refurbishment work
  • for youth work, social support, therapy and medical treatment, including projects using the arts, environment or literacy & numeracy for these purposes
  • for projects related to sports, outward bound type activities or recreation
  • for overseas projects
  • for Wildlife Trusts and for Farming & Wildlife Advisory Groups other than those which are based in counties in which the ECT owns land (Buckinghamshire, Dorset, Gloucestershire, Leicestershire and Oxfordshire)

How to apply

There are no application forms. All applicants are asked to post a covering letter on the official headed paper of the applicant organisation (letters from schools must be signed by the head teacher) and also include:

  • up to two additional sheets of A4 describing the organisation, outlining the project and specifying its educational elements and the way in which it fits in with the interests of the ECT
  • a simple budget for the project, outlining the way in which the grant would be spent
  • a list of any other funding applications
  • the latest annual report and accounts for the organisation (schools are not required to send one)

Please do not send further supporting material or e-mail applications, which are not accepted.

It is advisable to read the examples of projects supported before making an application.

Questions (not applications) can be addressed to the Grants Administrator or on 01285 712492.

Applications must be posted to:
The Grants Administrator
The Ernest Cook Trust
The Estate Office, Fairford Park
Fairford, Gloucestershire GL7 4JH


When to apply

Applicants who have been successful previously are asked to wait for three years before re-applying.

Large Grants programme:
The full board of Trustees meets twice a year, in April and September, to consider grants in excess of £4,000. At the Spring meeting only projects related to the arts, crafts & architecture and literacy, numeracy and science are considered while at the Autumn meeting only projects covering environment & countryside and literacy, numeracy and science are considered. Apart from a few larger awards to projects especially close to the interests of the Trustees, most awards are in the range of £4,000 – £12,000.

Applications for the Spring meeting (which usually takes place in mid-April) must be received by the Trust by January 31st of that year. Applications for the Autumn meeting (which takes place in September) must be received by the Trust by July 31st of that year.

Small Grants Programme:
Meetings to consider applications for the small grants programme take place bi-monthly throughout the year. This programme deals mainly, but not exclusively, with requests for support from state schools and small charitable organisations. Applications from state schools must be signed by the head teacher.

There is no specific closing date; suitable applications are allocated to the next available meeting though it is always wise to think well ahead of the start date of your project. Although the full range of the small grants programme is up to £4,000, due to the huge pressure on the available resources most awards are in the region of £1,000 to £1,500.


If an award is made

The ECT aims to let all grant applicants know whether their request can be taken forward or not within two weeks of receipt of an application.

When applications are taken to a meeting, the organisation will be notified of the result within 10 days and will be asked to complete an agreement which includes the ability to pay the grant by BACS (the Bank Automated Credit System).

The agreement also requires the applicant to submit a report on the funded project; failure to do so within one year will ensure the rejection of any further application and may result in a request to repay the award.