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Sources of Funding

Find sources of funding for Outdoor Learning

Funding Outdoor Learning


A significant element of the outdoor learning sector depends on funding outside of traded business or national or local government budgets. Sources of such funding are varied and frequently changing. This resource is designed to point to any known funds relevant to outdoor learning provision or development.

Guidance in good fund raising practice and working effectively with fund raising consultants is provided by The Institute of Fundraising.


Outdoor learning funders

These listings are not exhaustive and represent funders who have previously provided financial support for delivery of outdoor learning. If you are aware of other supportive funders please let us know



On-line sources of potential funding opportunities

Links to free online funding search tools that may support your specific project.

Free : voluntary & community sector.


Free : business grants.


Subscriptions services from the Directory of Social Change.



UK Wide

The People's Postcode Lottery

Since 2009, People’s Postcode Trust has awarded more than £14m to over 1800 projects across Great Britain. In 2017 People’s Postcode Trust aims to help people – ensuring they have the skills, opportunities and rights to improve their lives.
They seek applications for projects that focus on the prevention of poverty, promotion of human rights, equal rights and conflict resolution for some of society’s most vulnerable groups.

People's Postcode Lottery

Garfield Weston Foundation

The Foundation aims to be responsive to where need is greatest and therefore supports a wide range of charitable activity including Arts, Education, Youth, Health, Environment, Welfare

The Trustees have a preference for charities directly delivering services and activities to those in need, and are especially keen to see applications from charities in the Welfare, Youth and Community sectors and also in regions of economic disadvantage.

Esmée Fairbairn Foundation

Esmee Fairbairn fund across four main sectors – Arts, Children and Young People, Environment and Social Change – as well as through their Food funding strand. Across all their funding they aim to unlock and enable potential, back the unorthodox and unfashionable, build collective networks and catalyse system change.

Esmee Fairbairn.

DM Thomas Foundation for Young People

The Foundation is dedicated to helping disadvantaged and vulnerable young people and children transform their lives. Their priority is to make a difference through targeted grant support, helping local and regional community groups and charities across the UK and Europe to deliver projects which provide access to opportunities and improve well-being.

DM Thomas Foundation.

Heritage Lottery Fund

The fund use money raised by National Lottery players to help people across the UK explore, enjoy and protect the heritage they care about.

Heritage Lottery Fund

Big Lottery

The Big Lottery deliver funding throughout the UK, mostly through programmes tailored specifically to the needs of communities in England, Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland as well as some programmes that cover the whole UK.

The Big Lottery.

Big Lottery - Awards for All

Awards for All offers grants for grassroots and community activity that aims to improve life for local people and neighbourhoods. It doesn’t have a deadline and you can apply at any time.

Awards for All.

Andy Fanshawe Memorial Trust

The Trust funds projects that give disadvantaged young people the chance to develop an existing interest in the great outdoors. Outdoor activities means walking, climbing, cycling, kayaking, sailing, horse riding and residential courses at outdoor centres.

Andy Fanshawe Memorial Trust.

Pears Foundation

Independent British family foundation, rooted in Jewish values, that promote understanding of key issues through research and education programmes; drive engagement in social progress across the UK and globally, particularly in young people, and support organisations focused on wellbeing for everyone, especially those with a tough challenge to face.

Pears Foundation.

Biffa Award

The Main Grant scheme Recreation and Community Building project theme requires an active Biffa operation to be within 5 miles of the project site OR an active Biffa Landfill site within 10 miles. The scheme awards grants to projects that provide or improve biodiversity, community spaces, cultural facilities, and places for outdoor recreation.

Biffa Award

Paul Hamlyn Foundation Youth Fund

The Fund supports organisations which work with young people experiencing disadvantage in a way that recognises and builds on their strengths and potential – we refer to this as an asset-based approach. Such approaches can include ‘strengths-based’, ‘advantaged thinking’, or ‘asset-based community development’ practices.

PHF Youth Fund.

BBC Children in Need

BBC Children in Need awards grants each year to organisations supporting disadvantaged children and young people in the UK.

BBC Children in Need

Royal Geographic Society

The Society's Grants Programme develops new knowledge and advances geographical science, supporting geographical research in the UK and overseas.

RGS research grants.

The Ironmongers Company

The Ironmongers’ Company wishes to support projects that provide opportunities for disadvantaged children and young people to fulfil their potential. The Company is looking for projects that deliver clearly defined educational benefits to a specific group of children or young people.

The Ironmongers Company.

Heart Research UK Healthy Hearts

We award funding of up to £10,000 to selected projects that promote heart-healthy lifestyles to help communities to live healthier, happier, longer lives. Funding is restricted to specific areas of the UK.

Healthy Hearts Community Grants.

Lloyds Bank Foundation

Our funding programmes offer short and long term grants. Support is adapted to the needs of small and medium-sized charities that are committed to delivering work which breaks or prevents cycles of disadvantage.

Lloyds Bank Foundation.

Veolia Environmental Trust

The Trust supports community and environmental projects located close to Veolia sites.

Veolia Trust.

Coastal Communities Fund

The CCF encourages the economic development of UK coastal communities by giving funding to create sustainable economic growth and jobs One further funding round in England, Wales and Northern Ireland is expected to open in late 2017. Details regarding future funding in Scotland are still to be advised.

Coastal Communities Fund.

Frederick Soddy Trust Schools Award Scheme

The Trust aims to encourage interest in field studies by providing modest financial support for expeditions and fieldwork which include the 'study of the whole life of an area with major emphasis on the human community'.

Frederick Soddy Trust Schools Award Scheme.

Salix Funding

Salix, in partnership with the Department for Education, provides funding for maintained schools to improve their energy efficiency, lower energy bills and create a more comfortable learning environment.

Salix Funding Scheme.


Home Nation or region specific

Gannochy Trust - Scotland

A significant percentage of the Gannochy Trust’s funds will be made to smaller, community-led groups that are supporting children, young people and people who are disadvantaged or vulnerable.

Gannochy Trust.

The Robertson Trust - Scotland

The Trust’s overall aim is “to improve the quality of life and realise the potential of people and communities in Scotland”. They fund 4 high level outcomes.

  1. Improved outcomes for individuals and communities
  2. Improved evidence base of what works and why in addressing challenges facing communities and individuals
  3. Increased awareness and use of evidence to inform policy and practice
  4. Improved capacity of third sector organisations to deliver impact to their beneficiaries

The Robertson Trust.

Scottish Natural Heritage - Scotland

The Outdoor Learning in Nature (OLiN) fund is a competitive fund, with a budget of £600k that will run for 2 years. The aim of the fund is to support more young people to have regular, frequent, structured and progressive outdoor learning experiences. Target audience - projects must be focused on young people (3-26 years) from the most deprived areas and disadvantaged backgrounds. We are looking to support the implementation of a place-based progression model of outdoor learning based on:

  • the regular use of local parks and greenspace for outdoor learning by schools or groups
  • occasional visits to nearby countryside, forest or coast planned to complement use of the school grounds, parks and local greenspace
  • opportunities to experience some of Scotland’s 'special places' of national and international importance for their nature or landscape.
The greatest priority for our funding will be outdoor learning activity involving the regular use of local parks and greenspace for outdoor learning by schools or groups and which supports one or more of the following:


  1. Learning in Local Greenspace Project

  2. Embedding the use of Beyond Your Boundary more generally

  3. Work with disadvantaged young people outwith the school setting.


The Outdoor Learning in Nature (OLiN) fund.

South Yorkshire Community Foundation

The foundation supports community groups who help people facing hardship and disadvantage and those working to improve the communities they live in.

SYC Foundation.

Francis Scott Trust – Cumbria & North Lancashire

The trust are particularly interested in effective approaches to addressing the needs of children, young people and young adults (up to 24 years old) The majority of grants are multi-year revenue grants for core costs (i.e. salaries and running costs), however Trustees will also fund capital projects that make a tangible difference to a local community.

Francis Scott Trust.

Sport England

A range of grants ranging from introducing more people to sport to large capital grants for facilities.

Sport England Funding.



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