Big changes start locally

The Community Anchors' Fund

The Community Anchors’ Fund – helping you to tackle poverty from the ground up

The Virgin Money Foundation believes everyone has the right to live in a vibrant and diverse neighbourhood and we want to support those vital local organisations in their efforts to help people to tackle the impact of poverty on their local community.


Children in the North are more likely to live in poverty than those in the rest of England – and increasingly so. Poverty is the lead driver of inequalities between children in the North and their counterparts in the rest of the country, leading to worse physical and mental health outcomes, educational attainment, and lower lifelong economic productivity. The COVID-19 pandemic has made this situation worse.*

The Virgin Money Foundation already funds the work of neighbourhood based community organisations working in the North East of England. We know that community anchor organisations play a vital, practical role in reducing the impact of poverty in the neighbourhoods in which they operate. Community anchors are home to food banks or community pantries, run furniture recycling schemes, provide guidance and training in cooking on a budget, support grow your own schemes, act as a base for benefit maximisation projects and debt advice, link people to sources of lower cost credit, tackle fuel and data poverty and provide employment support and training. Others operate in the private rented sector providing a good standard of housing and practical support to their tenants - many working with young people as they leave local authority care.


*Pickett K., Taylor-Robinson D., et al (2021) The Child of the North: Building a fairer future after COVID-19, the Northern Health Science Alliance and N8 Research Partnership.

Flexible funding – for day to day running costs, capital costs and project costs

We want to support you to do what you think is important!

The Virgin Money Foundation is making grants of up to £30,000 available to support the work of community anchors in their communities. You can apply for funding to cover the day to day running costs of your organisation or you can apply for project costs. The award can be spread over one, two or three years.

The Foundation is particularly interested in supporting projects which move people out of poverty and provide a longer-term sustainable solution. We are also interested in applications from community anchors who want to explore the impact of poverty with a view to using this information to inform local decision making.


Can I have two grants?

If I already have an award from the Foundation to cover running costs and I want to apply for a second award to support a project tackling poverty in my local area can I apply?

Yes – you can apply again.

So what is a community anchor organisation?

Community anchors have people at their heart. They provide local people with support, services, activities, and volunteering opportunities. Local people shape their work and inform their activities. Typically we expect community anchors to work with a broad cross section of the community. This would include people of all ages, genders and ethnicities, designing work that meets the needs of the community at large and the demographics it contains.

The Foundation funds anchors in communities that need our support the most. To do this we fund organisations based in the top 20% of the UK Government Indices of Multiple Deprivation (IMD).

The Foundation is keen to support Community Anchors run by and for members of communities subject to racial inequity

We recognise that communities who have faced racial inequity may be better served by specialist anchor organisations that provide a broad range of services specifically designed for individuals and families from specific ethnic minorities. We welcome applications from these specialist anchor organisations. We will assess these applications against the criteria listed below, but without the expectation that they will work with the whole community and acknowledging that the locality they work across may be wider than neighbourhood level.

We expect a community anchor to:

Provide services

Provide local services and act as a gateway to helping people access the other services they need.

Bring in money

Make a difference to people’s pockets by bringing money, training and jobs into a neighbourhood.

Be a voice for local people

Community anchors perform an important role in speaking out on behalf of local people, making sure they have a about local issues and services that effect their daily lives.

Support other community organisations

In many neighbourhoods there are several groups or organisations working with different sections of the community. Community anchor organisations support these organisations, helping them to develop and grow.

Protect local assets

Many community anchor organisations own important community assets within an area. This can be a building, an area of green space, the local library or housing.

Provide safe spaces

Community anchors provide safe spaces for members or groups of the community to meet, share and develop.


If you are unsure whether your organisation is a community anchor or would like to discuss your application please email: info@virginmoneyfoundation.org.uk – we are very happy to talk to you.

Is there a deadline to apply?

There isn’t a deadline but once the money is allocated the fund will close for the rest of the year. Awards are agreed four times a year, in March, June, September and December.

Example of Community Anchors:

Meadow Well Connected

Meadow Well Connected is a community hub which has been serving the residents of North Shields for almost 30 years. In response to the challenges of Covid-19 it has adapted and shifted the way it provides services, concentrating on improving its extensive outdoor spaces so that people can meet safely. It works to reduce social isolation and increase human connections to improve the wellbeing of residents, empowering them to confidently make better life choices. It is blending the way it works to include online activities, small groups meeting outside wherever possible, one-to-one support and activities delivered to individual households.

Ready to apply?

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