A vital part of sustaining your Neighbourhood Watch scheme is likely to be seeking funding.

This may be to fund your core running costs, such as stationery, venue hire for meetings or purchasing stickers and signs, or it may be to fund a local project you have devised to meet a need within your community, such as transforming a small area into a pocket park, holding a street social or organising a crime prevention seminar.

This area of our website aims to support you in your fundraising for your local scheme. If you have any specific questions that are not covered here, please use our enquiries form and choose the subject Fundraising.

Please keep us updated on your successes and/or difficulties, so we can continue to make this area of the website as useful to you, our members, as possible.

Applying for funding

There are plenty of funding opportunities open to local Neighbourhood Watch schemes. Browse through the list below to see what options might work for you.

Police and Crime Commissioners (PCCs)

A PCC is an elected official in England and Wales charged with securing efficient and effective policing of a police area. The most recent elections took place in May 2016 and Commissioners are to be elected for four-year terms. Separate arrangements exist for London: the City of London is policed by the City of London Police with the City of London Corporation functioning as the police authority. Meanwhile, the Metropolitan Police District is policed by the Metropolitan Police Service, with the Mayor’s Office for Policing and Crime (MOPAC) holding the police to account through a Deputy Mayor for Policing and Crime appointed on the Mayor’s behalf; since 2017 similar arrangements to this also exist in the Greater Manchester Combined Authority.

The Police and Crime Commissioner has commissioning powers and funding to help them cut crime and improve community safety. They will commission services and award grants to organisations or bodies that they consider will support the community safety priorities in their Police and Crime Plan.

Many PCC’s have a Community Safety Fund (may be called something different in your area) that you can apply to for your running costs or for a specific project. Make sure you check their priorities and plans so you can ensure your request matches closely with their aims. Also try to find out if anyone in your Watch or Association has any connection with the PCC.

Community Foundations are charitable bodies based throughout the UK that support local projects on a range of issues, such as poverty alleviation, emergency crisis response, youth engagement and community cohesion. Each Community Foundation has an in depth understanding of their local area, what the priority needs are and how best to address these issues. As a local organisation working to support your community, you can apply to the Community Foundation in your area to help fund the work you are doing. They usually offer small grants of up to £5,000, but sometimes more. Some also have specialist grant streams, such as ones focused on increasing green spaces or reducing knife crime.

To find your closest Community Foundation and find out how to apply for a grant visit: www.ukcommunityfoundations.org/our-network.

Trusts and Foundations

There are numerous small trusts and foundations available to apply to. Some may help fund your core running costs, other may only support project work. There are websites and annual books you can pay for to find these out (some examples being fundsonline.org.uk and fundingcentral.org.uk) but you can also run a Google search, trawl the Charity Commission website, visit the Association of Charitable Funds (ACF) website or sign up to your council or community e-newsletter where local funding opportunities are often listed.

Some trusts that give money to local groups include the National Lottery Community Fund, the People’s Health Trust, the Postcode LotteryTrust for London’s Connected Communities funding stream and the Leathersellers’ Company’s charitable small grants fund, but there are many more that only focus on specific local areas. Also included in this type of fundraising are family trusts.

Local Businesses

As a community-based group, local businesses will be very keen to support you. We have templates you can use in the resources section to help you request funding through different types of schemes. Here are some of the ways you can approach them:


Most supermarkets have a local giving scheme in place. Some examples of the major high street stores are: 


Local Community Matters

Ask for form in local store, complete & hand in – up to £1k

John Lewis

Local Community Matters

Ask for form in local store, complete & hand in – up to £3k


Local Charity of the Year

Ask for form in local store, complete & hand in – apply Jan-May latest


Local charity support

Ask directly in local store


Green Token Giving

Apply instore or online at your local store to the Community Champion


Bags of Help scheme – focus on developing green space projects

Find out more information and apply online


Some local businesses may be keen to provide you with a sponsorship deal locally, whereby you help advertise them to your local members and they provide you with an annual amount or sponsor an event or item of publicity for you, such as your newsletter. Examples of local businesses that may align with local schemes may be: estate agents, local security firms, solicitors, garden centres, etc. Be clear what you would like from them and what you can offer prior to approaching them. Find out the details of the best person to contact and send them a letter, followed a day or two later by a phone call, with the aim to set up a face-to-face meeting. Please be mindful of contacting any companies on a national level, any companies that may be in direct competition with our current sponsors or any companies who’s practices may conflict with our ethical operating policies. If you are unsure about anything, please contact our Head of Fundraising at amy.mawby@ourwatch.org.uk.

Gifts in-kind

Local business can also help by offering non-financial support for free that has value to your scheme. Examples may be: printing, professional advice, venue hire, meeting refreshments (especially Sainsburys and Coop) or volunteer hours. Create a list of all the things you need to keep your scheme or project running and then approach the relevant businesses with a clear ask.

Matched funding

Many companies offer matched funding which can take two forms. The first is that if you have received funding for a portion of your scheme or project costs, a local business may be willing to provide the other portion. The second type of matched funding is companies matching the volunteer or fundraising efforts of their employees. For example, Morrisons will donate the same amount of money that their employee fundraises for a specific charity (conditions apply). Ask your fellow members if they work for any companies that do this and if so, ask them to approach their employer to find out the process.

Online Fundraising


Crowdfunding is a method of raising funds through the collective effort of friends, family, customers, and individual supporters. This approach taps into the collective efforts of a large pool of individuals—primarily online via social media and crowdfunding platforms—and leverages their networks for greater reach and exposure. It is a great way for Neighbourhood Watch schemes and local projects to raise funds as it really is about community action and involvement. Ensure you clarify your scheme or project clearly, using a factual and emotive basis (like any fundraising request), be realistic and transparent about how much you need to raise, and feed back to your donors regularly throughout the fundraiser and once it is complete.

Some examples of crowdfunding sites you can use are Hubbub, SpacehiveJust GivingCrowdfunderCrowd Patch and Go Fund Me. All have different fees and terms and conditions.


Easyfundraising is a site where you can raise money for your scheme with everyday online shopping. They work with online retailers, including Ebay, Argos, John Lewis & Partners, Booking.com, eBay, M&S, plus over 3,400 others to pass donations onto charitable groups when you shop through them. While you and your supporters are shopping online, from fashion to insurance, train tickets, days out, and electricals – they can raise money for your scheme at the same time. They can even raise money when they buy their office supplies. Visit their website to find out more.

Amazon wishlist

Does your scheme need items that you can buy on Amazon, e.g. post-it notes, printing cartridges, reusable cups, a printer? If so, you could set up an Amazon Wishlist and keep adding to it as you go. Whenever you send an email to your scheme members, include a link in it reminding them that you are a charitable group run by volunteers that relies on donations and support. That way, supporters can see clearly what their money would be going towards and at different price levels.

Hints and tips

On our Hints and Tips page you will find helpful, straight forward and accessible information which will help you fundraise for your local scheme.

Tips for applying to local trusts and foundations

  • ALWAYS read the eligibility criteria and guidance before applying or starting an application. Then read them again! You don’t want to waste your time applying if you don’t meet the funder’s criteria – this can include your group’s income threshold, whether you are constituted or not, whether you fit their interests or their geographical area of preference
  • If there is no clear eligibility criteria or guidance, or they don’t have a website, take time to do a bit of research on the Charity Commission website. Their accounts are a treasure trove of information
  • If they allow it, contact the funder and don’t be afraid to ask questions. It is a good opportunity to talk about your project and find out whether it is the type of project that the funder would be interested in
  • Ask a friend to proofread your application to make sure everything makes sense. Think about whether someone who doesn’t know your group can understand the project and see the value of it
  • Think your budget through in detail, ensure it is realistic and transparent – you’ll have to stick to it and may even need to provide receipts/evidence that you spent the money how you said you would
  • Collect evidence to back up the need for your project. Quote reports, studies and statistics, and also the views have from supporters and volunteers – we can provide access to national evidence, but for local evidence, you will need to collate that and show you’re responding to local need
  • Communicate the difference your project will make! It is easy to get bogged down in what the project will do, but what funders are mostly interested in is how it will make a difference to people so it is important that this message is communicated well
  • ALWAYS thank the funder, whether they grant your application or send a rejection – keeping a good relationship is essential for the future
  • During the course of your funding cycle, gather feedback and evidence, and aim to send the funder a report after 12 months, whether they requested one or not. This ensures a good relationship, will please the funder and increase the potential that you may ask for more funding in the future
  • If you feel you have a great project idea, but it is too ambitious for you to deliver alone or that it would be more viable nationally, send your proposal to our Head of Fundraising at amy.mawby@ourwatch.org.uk to see if we can support you further
  • If you can, keep us in the loop of your big successes – it would be great to better understand which areas of Neighbourhood Watch’s work is appealing to funders both nationally and locally, and learn how we can better support you

Volunteer centres

Your local volunteer centre (or website, if there is not a physical centre) can be a great hub of resources, funding advice, and free or cheap training. To find out the closest one to you visit: www.ncvo.org.uk/ncvo-volunteering/find-a-volunteer-centre

NCVO know how nonprofit

This is a great website containing lots of useful information, advice and resources to help with setting up your group, running it, and different types of fundraising support, including templates and FAQs. Visit: https://knowhow.ncvo.org.uk/

Don’t worry – as a charitable group, rather than a registered charity, some areas will not apply. This is a site to support you, not a checklist for everything you must to do!

Council eNewsletters

Sign up to your council eNewsletter. Not only will it keep you in touch with local community events and happenings, but they often list local grants available.

Resources and templates

Here you can download resources that will assist you in your fundraising journey.