Community Library Support Fund

Devon County Council is inviting Town and Parish Councils, alongside other community organisations to bid for funding through the Community Library Support Fund to enhance and develop local schemes and facilities providing access to books and reading in rural areas.

The new Community Library Support Fund is in response to the decision to decommission the mobile library fleet at the end of February 2024. The fund will help to provide and enhance more community spaces for local people to enjoy and expand their love of reading alongside existing activities providing access to social opportunities in your local area.

So, if you already have a local corner or room that is used as a book swap or library, or are looking to create one, this fund is for you. You can apply for a grant of between £100 and £300 which can be used for a range of things including:

  • Shelving
  • Comfy seating
  • Books
  • Lighting etc.

All you need to do is access the form available at Community Library Support Fund giving some details about your organisation and what you would like to spend the money on. This fund closes on 31st March 2024.

The fund is open to Town and Parish Councils, charities, voluntary community groups or church/faith groups that have an open and accessible space for readers to enjoy.

If you would like to apply or want to ask us a question about the fund please contact Devon County Council

Devon County Council would like to bring successful applicants together in the Spring alongside other groups interested in sharing good practice and learning. We would be interested to discuss future potential opportunities to source books, support and in accessing the Council’s wider library resources.

Defibrillator funding and registering them nationally

Access government funding for a defibrillator and learn how to register it so the emergency services can locate it!

Many councils and communities in the last few years have been installing a public access defibrillator (or more than one!) in public places. Other communities may still be looking into this provision, or may want to add to their available defibrillators.

Defibrillators can provide life-saving treatment, with latest research showing that accessing one within 3-5 minutes of a cardiac arrest increases the chance of survival by over 40%. If you are interested in purchasing a defibrillator then you might be pleased to learn that there is government funding available, and if you do already own one then you may want to register it on a national database so it can be found easily when needed.

Defibrillator funding

Community organisations are being invited to bid for funding for a defibrillator in their area; get a share of the £1million of government funding available to buy life-saving devices for community spaces! The Department of Health and Social Care is inviting interested organisations to register their interest in the fund, which is aimed at increasing the number of defibrillators available in public places. They are hoping an estimated 1000 new defibrillators can be provided.

Read more and register your interest here


Defibrillator network

The government has written to all councils encouraging them to register their defibrillators on ‘The Circuit‘. As it stands, many defibrillators are never used because emergency services do not know where they are or how to access them. The British Heart Foundation, in partnership with the NHS, Resuscitation Council UK and the Association of Ambulance Chief Executives, have set up The Circuit as a national defibrillator network database which provides information on where defibrillators are located.

Registering a defibrillator with The Circuit enables the emergency services, including first responders, to locate the nearest publicly accessible defibrillators.

Read stories from East Budleigh and South Tawton who have installed defibrillators already and please do tell us about it if you’re planning to put one in place.

Household Support Fund providing extra support to low-income families in Devon

Households on low incomes can get help with food and utility costs this winter via the Household Support Fund, administered locally by Devon County Council. Councils can help by sharing the news in their community.

The Household Support Fund totals £500m nationally, and Devon’s allocation is a little over £5 million. The grant is distributed through small payments to support vulnerable households to meet daily needs such as food, clothing and utilities as well as emergency boiler and heating repairs, winter clothing and more.

The timescales for getting this essential financial support to residents in Devon are short and ambitious, which requires your assistance to identify and reach those in need. People’s preferences for accessing information and support can vary so please help make sure there are a variety of ways that individuals can identify the support available.

Councillor Roger Croad, Cabinet Member for Communities, said: “It is clear that the coronavirus pandemic is continuing to put a huge financial strain on some people and the effects are likely to be felt for some time still to come. It’s no surprise when so many people in Devon work in sectors such as catering, hospitality, leisure, retail and tourism, which were among the hardest hit over the last 18 months.

“The impact on household budgets means many people are finding it especially difficult now as we move into colder winter months, particularly with the cost of food, energy, water and other essential items.

“In fact more families in Devon are eligible for free school meals for their children than ever before, with numbers soaring during the coronavirus pandemic to the highest levels on record. Nearly 18,500 children in Devon now qualify for free school meals, which equates to nearly 18.5 per cent per cent of all school children in the county and 2500 more children than this time last year.

“We are committed to supporting people in Devon experiencing hardship and this funding will help those who are struggling.

“We’ve worked with our colleagues in the district councils, at Citizens Advice Devon and in our schools and colleges to ensure that this money gets to the people who need it most as quickly as possible, so if you need help I encourage you to get in touch.”

Extra support this Christmas for families to buy food and stay active

Over the past year Devon County Council has provided supermarket vouchers worth £15 per child per week of the school holidays to families who qualify for free school meals, so their children don’t go hungry. That is being doubled for Christmas, with an extra one-off £30 supermarket voucher, so families will receive a £60 voucher per child for the two-weeks to help with the additional financial pressure the festive period can bring.

Children currently receiving benefits-related free school meals and their families can also take part in our Holiday Activity and Food (HAF) scheme for free over the Christmas break. The HAF scheme aims to provide a wide range of fun and enriching activities and nutritious food in a safe and sociable environment for children and young people to develop new skills or knowledge and try out new experiences, make friends and have fun.

District Council Household Support Schemes and Energy Relief Scheme with CAB

Help with food and utility costs is also available via the Household Support Fund, with applications being made through local district councils. The scheme, which runs until Thursday 31 March 2022, can also be used for things like emergency boiler and heating repairs and housing costs. Devon County Council has also partnered with Citizens Advice Devon to help eligible households using pre-paid meters who are struggling to meet their fuel bills. 

How to access support:

Many families in Devon have seen their financial circumstances change due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

  • If your household uses a pre-paid meters and you are struggling to meet your fuel bills, you can also contact Citizens Advice Devon.

Together for our Planet – a small grants programme for community-lead climate action

The National Lottery Community Fund are opening a new funding programme called Together for our Planet to help support a legacy of ongoing climate action projects.

Later this year, the UK will host the 26th UN Climate Change Conference of the Parties (COP26). Building on interest and excitement for this international conference, the National Lottery Community Fund will open the new funding programme Together for our Planet on 1 September. The funding programme aims to help nurture and develop local ideas through this funding and support a legacy of ongoing climate action projects in hundreds of communities across the UK.

Together for Our Planet will offer eligible groups funding awards of between £1000 and £10,000 for activities and equipment that meet at least two of the following criteria:


  1. It supports the development of longer-term climate action within communities (that is, taking place after the COP26 event in November).
  2. It encourages communities to plan for the climate emergency – to consider what climate action could mean to them and why it matters.
  3. It celebrates the importance of community-led climate action and encourages more people to get involved.
  4. It builds resilience in communities that are hardest hit by climate change.
  5. It provides jobs, skills or training opportunities for communities which support climate action.

There’s more information about the project and what they will support on the Together for Our Planet webpage.

Together for Our Planet opens on 1 September 2021 and will close to applications at 5pm on Thursday 18 November.

If you’ve not applied for funding from the National Lottery Community Fund before, you’ll need to ensure you are eligible to apply.


What is an eligible organisation?

You must be one of the following to submit an application:

  • constituted group or club
  • voluntary or community organisation
  • registered charity
  • charitable incorporated organisation (CIO / SCIO)
  • community interest company (CIC)
  • not-for-profit company
  • school, college, university (as long as your project benefits and involves the wider local communities)
  • statutory body (including local authorities, town, parish and community council)
  • community benefit society.

Together for our Planet cannot accept applications from:

  • individuals
  • sole traders
  • organisations that can pay profits to directors, shareholders or members (including Companies Limited by Shares)
  • organisations based outside the UK
  • one individual or organisation applying on behalf of another
  • people under the age of 18

In addition to the eligibility criteria, you will need to meet the below criteria:

  • You must have a UK bank account or building society account for your group or organisation. It needs to be in the legal name of your organisation, with at least two unconnected people who are able to manage the account.
  • It must be with a UK based bank or Building Society which is covered and authorised by the Prudential Regulation Authority, and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority and the Prudential Regulation Authority. They must also be covered by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme.
  • The account must require at least two unconnected and unrelated signatories to authorise all withdrawals and transactions.
  • You will need to submit a bank statement that is less than 3 months old with your online application.
  • Your organisation should have at least two unconnected people on the board or committee. By unconnected, we mean not a relation by blood, marriage, in a long-term relationship, or people living together at the same address.
  • You will need to give the details of a main contact (usually the person completing the application form) and a senior contact (usually someone on your Board or equivalent) – their full names, date of birth and their home addresses (not the address of the organisation)
  • You will also need to consider how your project will keep people safe and confirm that you have an up-to-date safeguarding policy in place. For more info on safeguarding please take a look at our website website.
  • You will also need to make sure your project is addressing any potential barriers for people to take part, including communities experiencing ethnic or racial inequity, discrimination or inequality, disabled people, Travellers, LGBTQ+ people, and people who are seeking asylum or who are refugees.

Funding available to help Devon’s communities reconnect, rebuild and recover

Devon County Council funding available to help Devon’s communities reconnect, rebuild and recover from the pandemic.

Community-led facilities and activities, like many things, were quickly suspended during the onset of the national coronavirus lockdown.

As the country begins to return to some degree of normality, Devon County Council is keen to help local communities get back to doing the things they love safely and confidently, so they’ve created a special fund to support them.

Councillor Roger Croad, Devon County Council’s Cabinet Member for Communities, said:

“We are proud that Devon is a place where people have the opportunity to live healthy, fulfilling lives in thriving, prosperous communities, and supporting our residents as we recover from the pandemic is key to ensuring this continues to be the case.

“The county has a fantastic network of community groups that work hard to support vulnerable residents and maintain people’s physical and mental wellbeing.

“We’ve seen the impact the coronavirus pandemic has had on our residents, we’ve witnessed the disruption across our communities. Now more than ever, as restrictions are easing, it is important that we continue to support a wide range of initiatives that do inspiring work to reach people within their communities and help them to remain well-connected and resilient as we face the challenge of recovering from this pandemic.”

The Reconnect Rebuild Recover Community Fund will provide grant funding of up to £1,000 for smaller projects and between £1,000 and £3,000 for larger projects that help local people to reconnect, rebuild and recover their community-led facilities and/or social activities.

It will support community-led initiatives that:

  • encourage a range of people to participate in activities that improve their physical, mental and emotional health and wellbeing
  • provide safe community-led transportation links and services which encourage and help people to re-connect and re-socialise safely within their communities
  • encourage people to develop skills and learning through volunteering their time, knowledge and expertise to help and support the facilities and/or social activity and the people using them

You can find out more, including how to apply, on the Devon County Council website. 

New Community Orchard Fund

Apple Tree

Councils within the North Devon Biosphere may be interested in a new grant scheme to help create and manage community orchards.

The North Devon Biosphere in partnership with Orchards Live and supported by the Devon County Council locality grants scheme and the National Lottery Heritage Fund (as part of the Pledge for Nature project) are offering small grants towards the creation and management of community orchards. Traditional orchards are in decline across Devon and are recognised for their important biodiversity and community value.

Community orchards are excellent places for people to come together to plant and cultivate local and unusual varieties of fruit trees and to use as the focal point for community activities such as Apple Day or as a green haven in which to relax and wind-down. The People’s Trust for endangered species has identified that 90% of traditional orchards have been lost since the 1950s, with 48% of the orchards surveyed in England found to be in declining condition. Devon has lost most of its traditional orchards of large ‘standard’ trees – valuable because of their beauty, history, wildlife and rich variety of local apples.

The orchards may be established in locations across the North Devon Biosphere in community spaces such as allotments, parks, around a village hall or churchyard and schools as well as private land if there is an agreement for community use. Applicants to the Challenge Fund will need to provide information on location of the orchard, who the orchards will be used by, the number and variety of trees and planned future management (see application form on our website Orchards should be ‘traditional’ using suitable vigorous rootstocks with a proportion of the trees being Devon varieties. The application will be reviewed by the Pledge for Nature Coordinator with advice from Orchards Live and the North Devon Biosphere team. Special consideration will be taken for applications that will be cultivating local varieties such as mazzards, a type of cherry tree local to Devon. The Fund will also be open to applicants wishing to undertake corrective pruning of existing orchards, as many orchards are currently being lost through neglect.

Simeon Day, the chair of Orchards Live put forward the following statement in support of the Challenge Fund, “Traditional orchards are a valuable component of the Devon landscape and play an important role in providing both a habitat for its wildlife as well as an income for its residents. Another aspect that has been highlighted as a result of the recent isolation and lockdown restrictions is the importance of orchards to our wellbeing and mental health, where they act as a sanctuary from the pressures of life and a place to relieve anxiety. Orchards Live believe that the joy of orchards should also be made available to those who may love or benefit from them, but do not have access to one of their own. As a charity we are focusing our efforts to help connect people and orchards; increase the availability of access to orchards; and provide training, advice and support to community orchards.

Working as a partnership, the Biosphere’s Pledge For Nature project and Orchards Live will help to create new community orchards and support the community groups into the future, providing a valuable resource that will benefit the landscape, wildlife and people of North Devon for many years to come.”

Submissions will be received from now until end of December 2020 and will be reviewed on a rolling basis, please enter your application as soon as possible. If you need advice or guidance in completing the application form or in planning your community orchards please contact the Biosphere team

Coronavirus | News from Devon County Council

Woman shopping with face covering

The latest updates from Devon County Council regarding support for communities during the coronavirus pandemic.

To keep up-to-date with the latest Coronavirus information and local support, please visit the Devon County Council website.

Prompt Action Fund

Devon County Council has launched the COVID-19 Prompt Action Fund to provide flexible resources to organisations working with communities who are disproportionately impacted by coronavirus. There are grants available of under £500 for community-led schemes who are dealing with things like:

Town and parish councils can apply or can act as guarantors for other non-constituted groups. All information and application forms are on the Devon County Council website.

Shielding Hubs

network of ‘shielding hubs’ coordinated by local authorities is being set up across Devon to immediately help those most at risk from coronavirus with urgent food, medicine and care supplies.

Devon County Council is working with the local district and city councils in response to the government’s announcement that 1.5 million of the UK’s most vulnerable people are being asked to shield in self isolation for at least 12 weeks.

Details of the hubs and the process for receiving support over the coming weeks are still being agreed. It is likely that following the initial contact from the NHS, the individual will be contacted by a member of staff from Devon County Council to find out what support they need and how they will be best supported. The district and city councils will work locally to manage the delivery of this support within their communities. Please follow the link for more information.

Community Support Groups

Devon County Council is collating details of community support groups around Devon who are tackling the effects of coronavirus on their communities. Please complete this short survey so that they can add your details to their COVID-19 pages.

Sources of Funding

There are a range of funding opportunities listed on Devon Funding News including Covid-19 support from the Heart of the South West Growth Hub, details of government measures, Facebook small business grants and the Sylvia Adams Charitable Trust for disadvantaged children aged 0-3.