Read about the accessibility of The Bluecoat on our Contact page.


In various guises, The Chester Bluecoat Charity has been working to help the people of Chester and a defined surrounding area for over 800 years. Society has changed immeasurably during that time and the Charity has changed to meet new challenges and to continue to help the most disadvantaged in our society. We have helped many organisations in projects to support social cohesion, education and community development.

The Trustees have recently reviewed our grant making process and criteria to reflect the needs of today. We want to encourage the organisations to whom we make grants to think big, to be really focused on making a positive step change in reducing the causes of poverty, disadvantage and inequality of opportunity. Therefore, we encourage ambitious projects with robust proposals looking for funding to make these changes to apply to our “Strategic Funding” programme set at a minimum of £2,000.

We recognise that sometimes a relatively small grant can make a big difference so we also have a “Small Grants” programme for applications under £500 in a single grant. These applications have less stringent application requirements however they should still be able to demonstrate how they support the Charity’s strategic objective of “structurallychanging the reasons for poverty, disadvantage and inequality of opportunityand raising and supporting aspirations in our areas of benefit.”

Funding objectives criteria

We make grants to organisations which aim to structurally change the reasons for poverty, disadvantage and inequality of opportunity, to raise and support aspirations in our areas of benefit.

As well as demonstrating how they meet the Charity’s funding objectives, applicants for Strategic Funding must meet the following criteria:

  1. Demonstrate sustainability - the funding we give can support sustainability, but the organisation must have a sustainable model and organisation, and have community and stakeholder support.
  2. Organisations must pass due diligence criteria on finances and personnel. This includes having suitable governance and as a minimum a bank account in the name of the organisation applying. We do not award grants to individuals or commercial organisations.
  3. Projects/Organisations should be funded for specific measurable qualitative or quantitative outcomes (by outcomes we mean what will be the positive change achieved) – this does not preclude funding core costs, but still needs to be planned and reported.
  4. Organisations must have their head offices inside our area of benefit and a turnover of less than £300k.
  5. Funding requests should not be for the supply of services or goods that the state should normally and legally support.
  6. Member-based organisations (i.e. where people pay subscriptions) must show benefit to the wider community not just members.

Our grant programmes

We have two grant programmes which both run on eight weekly decision-making cycles.

  • Strategic Funding requests of a minimum of £2,000 plus per grant, preferably multiyear, focused on resilience and sustainability in outcomes delivered.
  • Small Funding requests less than £500 in a single grant.
  • The budgets available for these grant programmes are limited each year and we may have to close for applications if our full budget is allocated in any one year.

    The application forms can be found at the bottom of our grant giving page.

What Next?


After submitting your application, it will be reviewed to ensure it has enough information to make a decision and also that it is within our criteria before being passed to the Grant Giving Committee.

Grant Giving Committee

The Grant Giving Committee may invite applicants to the Strategic Fund to attend the Committee to discuss their project in more detail.

Main Board of Trustees

Following the previous stage, a decision can be made. If however the application is for more than £10,000, this will be passed to the Main Board of Trustees for final approval.

Grant Award Document

Trustees require the successful applicants to sign a grant award document prior to funds being released. This document lays out what the grant is being made for (as detailed in your application) and the expectations of the Trustees during the grant period.


The dates for submission and decision making are as follows:

Applications for the next funding assessment to be received ten days before the Grant Giving Committee meetings which take place every two months. Please contact the Charity for relevant dates.

Initial response back to applicant (this will advise you if your application will be considered at the Grant Giving Committee and if you will be asked to attend). Within 48 hrs of the closing date.

Notification of outcome within one week of the Committee meeting. If your application is for more than £10,000 it will need to be approved by the Main Board of Trustees at a later date.

We will do our best to consider your application as quickly as possible and keep you informed throughout the process.


If you have any queries please contact:

Charity Manager at or 01244 345787 in the first instance. If necessary, we can arrange further conversations to help you make the application.

All applications should be made directly (rather than via Trustees) to or by post to
The Bluecoat, Upper Northgate Street, Chester, CH1 4EE