Read through the eligibility criteria below, framed as a Q&A, to find out whether your charity is eligible to apply to the Merchant Taylors' Foundation Small Grants Scheme.

The Scheme is for charities which exist specifically for the good of people in one or more of those boroughs. It’s likely that nearly all the charities funded will be community-based charities in those boroughs. However, we recognise that there are charities focused heavily but not exclusively on these four boroughs, and that disadvantage doesn’t always end neatly at the boundaries of those boroughs. Charities for which the majority of their beneficiaries, across all the charities activities are based in one or more of our four boroughs, however, some activity may be in a bordering borough. For example, the following charities would meet the geographical criteria for the Small Grants Scheme:

  • A charity set up specifically to work with people living in two adjoining neighbourhoods, one of which is predominantly in Southwark, the other in Lambeth.

Sometimes national, regional, and London-wide charities apply for X% of project costs because X% of their beneficiairies are based in one or more of our core boroughs. Please note that the Small Grant Scheme will not fund grants such as these, due to the reasoning explained above.

If you want to check whether your charity has the right geographical focus for our Small Grants Scheme, please send a short email to explaining your organisation and how you work.

The answer to this will vary from charity to charity and depends on the following factors.

The first being, how quickly do you require a decision on your grant application? If you apply for £3,000 or under, we will be able to provide a decision on your application within two months following the end of the application window. However, if you apply for over £3,000 you will not receive a decision until up to 5 months after the end of the application window.

The second regards your charity’s income. Our funding strategy is such that we aim to not award grants of more than 5% of a charity’s income. For instance, if your charity’s income is £10,000, the maximum grant we will likely consider will be £500. Please bear this in mind when applying.

The third is dependent on your charity’s resource capacity. If you apply for a grant of over £3,000, you will be required to host a charity due diligence visit and commit several dates in three-to-four months following your application. The visits last between one and two hours and are in-person, where possible. For these visits, your Chief Executive (or equivalent) and Project Manager (if applicable) must be present. If you do not have the capacity to host a visit of this kind, please apply for less than or equal to £3,000. 

The fourth is based on whether you are applying for one-off grant or multi-year funding. If you are applying for a one-off grant, our awards are usually between £500 and £5,000. If you are applying for multi-year funding, we have a maximum aggregate grant amount of £9,000 across the funding years. For instance, the maximum you can apply for across three years may look like this:

e.g., £3,000 in year one, £3,000 in year two, and £3,000 in year three.

The maximum you may apply for across two years may look like this:

e.g., £4,500 in year one, £4,500 in year two.

Please note that the value you apply for does not have to be the same in each year, for instance you may wish to apply for funding that might increase or decrease in years 2 and 3:

e.g., £1,000 in year one, £1,500 in year two, and £2,000 in year three.

Please also note that if your aggregate grant amount across the two or three years is over £3,000, you will be required to host a charity visit and a decision will not be given until up to five months after the application window.

Yes. You are welcome to apply for funding for a specific project instead, if that is what you believe will best help your charity right now.

However, please note that to apply for core funding your charities objects must align with that of the Small Grants Scheme (below), and your operations should be restricted within one or more of our London boroughs.

‘For the benefit of the public, of those people who are in need by reason of age, ill health, disability, financial hardship or other disadvantage.’

If you have any queries regarding your potential eligibility for applying for a general running cost grant, please contact:

Yes, you can apply for up to three years of funding in a single application. Please note that there is a maximum aggregate grant amount of £9,000 that a charity can apply for across a multi-year grant.

During each funding window of the Small Grants Scheme, we are likely to make more single year grants than multi-year grants. That’s so that we don’t commit all our funds for several years ahead, for a range of charities which meet the criteria for the Scheme.

We aim to make a final decision on every application within two months if you have applied for £3,000 or less, we will have a decision within two months following the end of the application window.

If you have applied for over £3,000 we will have a decision within 5 months following the end of the application window. We email the decision to the person named in the form as the contact for the application.

Straight away, the person named as the contact on the form should receive an automated email confirming that the application has been received, plus a copy of what they typed into the form but not any supporting documents they uploaded. Please keep these emails safely, as well as any supporting documents which your charity uploaded. That’s because if your charity does receive funding, we will ask for a grant report in which the key question is: did you do what you said you would do in the application form?

Staff from the Foundation may need to contact your charity by email or telephone, if they have questions about your application which they think you will be able to answer quickly.

Before a decision is made on the outcome of your application, and you have applied for a grant of over £3,000, your charity will receive a due diligence visit under the Charity Visits Scheme. The visit will either be an in-person visit to your charity’s premises or an ‘E-visit’, via video call.

Please follow the link above to understand more about the Charity Visits Scheme (CVS), which are conducted by volunteers who are members of the Merchant Taylors’ Company.

The Merchant Taylors’ Company is a membership organisation which supplies the charity trustees for the Merchant Taylors’ Foundation. The Foundation’s money comes from the members of the Company, either present members donating now, or in the form of donations from members over many centuries which have been invested.

You can find out more about the Company from our home page.

Unfortunately, not at the moment. The Foundation is considering the legal and other issues in funding non-charities to tackle disadvantage. We will update this page when there is a conclusion, but it’s likely that will not be until the end of 2024 at the earliest.

However, please don’t hesitate to send an email to to let us know that your organisation exists. We can update you by email on our decision about whether non-charities will be able to apply to the Small Grants Scheme.