Grants and Funding

Covid-19 Community Recovery Scheme

Apply for funding

On Friday 21 October 2022, Council opened the Covid-19 Community Recovery Scheme Call 3 for applications to offer Community and Voluntary Organisations funding to aid them in rebuilding and reconnecting communities during the recovery phase of the coronavirus pandemic.

It aims to help residents of this Borough who are vulnerable, isolated and/or struggling during the cost-of-living crisis by supporting groups to provide new, renewed or extended community activities which bring people together in a warm, safe and shared space.

How to apply

Before completing an application, applicants should make sure that they are eligible to apply and have read the guidance notes in full.

Applications are made online:

Apply for funding

Further Information on the grant process is available by contacting the Grants Office at:

T: 028 2563 3148
T: 028 9335 8240


Guidance Notes:

A pdf version is available to download.

Council has identified a budget to support projects that assist local communities through new, renewed or extended community activities which bring people together in a warm, safe, shared space.
Constituted groups are permitted to apply for 100% funding up to a maximum of £500 to encourage them to host a Warm Space for the local community. These grants are designed to support activities, not capital costs. Projects must run for a minimum of 3 sessions.

The definition of a Warm Space is that they must be a free to use, warm, safe place where residents can expect a friendly and inclusive welcome. People can attend on their own, or with a friend, and will have an opportunity to talk to others over a hot drink or maybe a hot meal and be encouraged to stay for long as they wish throughout its opening hours. You may also wish to make some social activities available.

Council will provide all successful projects with information packs to give out, which will contain practical advice on keeping safe and warm this winter. There can be further help to find out about more specialist advice and support for any issues or challenges they are facing.

The grant scheme will open for applications on 21 October 2022 for projects taking place between 31 October 2022 and 31 March 2023. It will stay open for applications until either:

  • The budget has been fully allocated; or
  • 1 January 2023, whichever is first; at which point the scheme will close for applications

N.B. Only applications that have been submitted before the closing of the scheme will be considered for funding. No draft applications will be considered.

Applications are restricted to one application per community group only.


To qualify for a grant under this Scheme, applicants must be formally constituted with a current committee and based in the Mid and East Antrim Borough Council area. The applicant must also ensure that any benefits from the funding are in the Mid and East Antrim Borough only.

A community organisation is defined as a group constituted to undertake specific duties and responsibilities as confirmed in their constitution for no private or commercial gain. There are a number of ways in which to constitute a community group and this can include groups that have a memorandum and articles of association as long as any profits are reinvested and not for private gain. This includes faith-based groups and single identity organisations undertaking community activities.


  • Enabling people to reconnect with their communities by hosting coffee/newspaper mornings or luncheon club in a warm and welcoming building running for six weeks
  • Enabling people to access a nutritious meal by hosting an activity such as a weekly beetle drive or cookery demonstration followed by supper
  • Extending the opening hours and/or range of activities provided by existing community organisations which bring people together in warm spaces for companionship eg guest speakers, keep fit classes etc
  • Hosting a series of information events, along with refreshments, with representatives attending from organisations who may be able to provide support and advice for the community in relation to the cost-of-living crisis.
  • Enabling and encouraging vulnerable people to use and access technology to keep them connected to the outside world by hosting an intergenerational club where the young people share computer skills and the older people share baking or sewing skills
  • Awareness raising events directly relating to the purpose of the fund, e.g. series of weekly speakers to provide wellbeing information, healthy eating, keep warm projects etc

Please note:
a. We ask that you are able to provide toilets, heating, tables and chairs and tea and coffee-making facilities.
b. the aim of the funding scheme is to facilitate groups to provide a number of repeated sessions over a period of weeks, during the winter months, not a one-off event
c. Council will also require successful applicants to contact the wellbeing team on to register the project as a warm space, get a copy of the warm space charter and toolkit and to collect information packs for distribution

Eligible spend

The following are examples of items which can qualify for eligible spend:

  • Slow cookers to facilitate provision of meals such as soups and stews
  • Tea, coffee, milk, biscuits for coffee mornings
  • Newspapers or board games
  • Food ingredients for cookery demonstrations
  • Materials for a craft class or similar
  • Venue hire costs (eg hire of local hall or community centre)

These lists are not exhaustive, and any project ideas should be discussed with your local DEA Council Officer in the first instance to determine suitability (see contact details below).

Any groups who require support for projects are advised to contact their relevant DEA Officer to discuss other sources of guidance and support.

Applicants are reminded that the outbreak of the COVID-19 Coronavirus is an unprecedented global event and advice is constantly being updated. The latest advice from the UK government and the NHS can be found at;


To qualify for a grant under this Scheme, applicants must clearly demonstrate the following in completing the relevant application form:

I. What the project is, including planned dates (events should be well-planned and locally connected)
II. The need for the project (evidence base that the project meets the needs of the local community
III. The benefits of the project (eg strengthens community, addresses loneliness, provides warm spaces)
IV. Specifically targets people that are lonely or socially isolated

Each answer will require a minimum of 50% in scoring for the application to be successful.


To enable projects to commence as soon as possible, groups may request 50% advance payment of grant. In order to avail of this please contact the Grants Team to request an Advance Payment Request Form. The remaining 50% will be paid on completion of the project and satisfactory vouching has taken place (at Council’s discretion).

N.B. Council, at its discretion, may contact suppliers directly to verify expenditure has taken place in accordance with the application for funding and any offer of funding by Council. Cases of suspected fraud involving Mid and East Antrim Borough Council funds will be reported to the Police.


Mid and East Antrim Borough Council will not fund the following under this scheme:

a) Any action or project that breaches the directive given by the UK Government in relation to self-isolation and the delaying of the spread of the virus;
b) Commercial ventures and organisations;
c) Organisations which fall under the remit or are primarily funded by Central Government or public sector bodies, such as schools, state funded / private pre-school groups, state funded / private childcare facilities, PTAs. (N.B. Community and Voluntary operated pre-school and childcare facilities are eligible to apply to this scheme);
d) Large items of equipment which would be deemed capital, i.e. non-portable, permanent fixtures or vehicles etc.
e) Use of commercial/business premises during normal opening hours (hire of a commercial premises outside normal opening hours for an activity which is not for commercial gain may be considered)
f) Single issue organisations whose primary focus is campaigning or lobbying;
g) Parades;
h) Events, parties, shopping trips or other day trips;
i) Umbrella groups not represented in the Mid and East Antrim area by a locally based committee;
j) Projects that have already commenced or expenditure incurred prior to making application to this scheme;
k) Projects outside of the Mid and East Antrim area;
l) Groups currently in arrears or in bad debt to Council;
m) Items of personal team kit, clothing and uniforms;
n) Alcohol;
o) Applications from individuals;
p) Holiday schemes/projects;
q) Party political activity
r) General running costs of an organisation. This includes salary, electricity, heating, Mobile / telephone, internet, rent costs, subscriptions, bank fees and membership fees, ongoing upkeep of websites.
s) The purchase of equipment relating to the administration of the group, e.g. IT equipment and mobile phones.
t) One off events


While administering the Grants Support Scheme, Mid and East Antrim Borough Council will ensure the promotion of equality of opportunity between:

a) Persons of different religious belief, political opinion, racial group, age, marital status or sexual orientation;
b) Men and women generally;
c) Persons with a disability and persons without; and
d) Persons with dependants and persons without;

In addition, due regard will be given to the promotion of good relations between persons of different religious belief, political opinion or racial group.


Before completing an application, applicants should make sure that they are eligible to apply and have read these guidance notes in full.

Applications are made online by going to our Grants Portal.

If you have issues in accessing the grants portal, please contact DEA Council Officer for your local area (see contact details below).


Projects that have been awarded funding through this or other Council grants schemes will not be permitted to obtain additional funding under this scheme for that particular project.

All projects awarded funding within the 2022/23 financial year must have their final claims submitted before 31 May 2023.

Proposed activity/project ends by Final claims/paperwork submitted by
by 31 March 2023 31 May 2023

N.B. It is the responsibility of the applicant to ensure that all statutory licences and permits are in place prior to an event taking place. Typical licences required for a community event may include Entertainments, Street Trading etc.

For information on licences and fees, please visit our Business Licensing section.

Full terms and conditions are available to download.


The following procurement procedures must be adhered to when purchasing any individual good or service relating to the project or event. Applicants are required to upload the necessary written quotations as outlined below to the application form. Failure to do so will result in the application not moving to the next stage of evaluation and may be deemed ineligible for funding.


Estimated value of individual items of expenditure (exc. VAT) Number of Quotations Required
£0.00 - £2,999.99 Minimum of 1 telephone / email quotation
£3,000 - £7,999.99 Minimum of 3 written / email quotations
£8,000 - £29,999.99 Minimum of 4 written / email quotations
£30,000 + Publicly Advertised Tender

Regulations to note:

  • The Public Supplies Contracts Regulations 1991
  • The Public Works Contracts Regulations 1991
  • The Utilities Supply and Works Contracts Regulations 1992
  • The Public Services Contracts Regulations 1993
  • It is good practice to have a system of opening and evaluating tenders.
  • Claims: Please use the proforma provided and submit by the target date. Original invoices and receipts should be submitted and a copy retained for your records.
  • Any legal agreements should only be made following professional advice.
  • When renewing insurance always check with alternative firms to obtain the best quote. Voluntary organisations like NICVA have favourable group arrangements in place.
  • Applicants are advised to maintain records of small purchases in a petty cash book and to ensure that cheques are not signed in advance.
  • Where it is evident that one supplier can provide the product or service as one itemised invoice as opposed to a series of invoices, the project promoter should treat this as such and seek quotations according to procurement thresholds. This will ensure the best value for money. Separating the scope of works into sections for the purpose of invoicing below the procurement threshold, will be deemed by audit as purposely splitting work values to avoid due process.

N.B. Council, at its discretion, may contact suppliers directly to verify expenditure has taken place in accordance to the application for funding and any offer of funding by Council. Cases of suspected fraud involving Mid and East Antrim Borough Council funds will be reported to the Police.

Governance Standards

Council would remind you of the requirements to maintain appropriate governance in undertaking all council funded activities:

  • All activities for which funding is provided must be planned and undertaken in compliance with the Government’s social distancing guidance, to protect everyone from the risk of infection. Visit the PHA COVID-19 Advice page.
  • In relation to any scheme that has been established to assist vulnerable people within the Mid and East Antrim Borough, the applicant group must ensure that the benefits of the funding remain and take place within the Borough only. This includes the distribution of items such as food, household items and PPE (Personal Protection Equipment).
  • Any groups undertaking projects that involve the making and distributing of PPE or food should ensure that the relevant legal guidelines are adhered to and appropriate safety information, including warnings, are provided with the product.
  • As part of the conditions of the Letter of Offer accepted by the signee on behalf of the awarded group, you are required to keep all receipts and invoices relating to the project and ensure that the expenditure is visible on the group’s bank statement. This information will be requested at a future date as part of the monitoring and evaluation stage of the grants process.
  • As stated in the Letter of Offer, all invoices must be made out to the applicant group named on the application form and Letter of Offer and that all expenditure must be clearly visible on the same group’s bank statement.
  • Where possible the standard of the invoices should be of those set out as per the MEA Grants Invoice Standards document.
  • Any cash purchases made by group members should be documented and evidence of reimbursement by the group to the member should be visible on the group bank statement.
  • As declared in the application form, at no point should any member of the applicant group have any interest/financial benefit from the funded project.
  • It should be noted that if not all of the funding awarded by Council can be vouched or if an underspend on the project occurs, Council will clawback this money through the appropriate methods.

Invoice Standards

Please note that grant payments will only be processed whereby bonafied paid invoices have been submitted with a claim.

Invoices should include the following information:

  • Name, address and telephone number of the company the invoice is from.
  • VAT registration number (if applicable).
  • Invoice Date.
  • Invoice Number.
  • Name and address of the person being billed.
  • Description or Reason for Invoice (including dates of events, etc.)
  • The Amount.
  • An Order Number (if applicable).
  • Information on how to make payment.
  • Invoices from individuals should be signed by that individual.
  • Authorisation for payment by a member of your organisation.