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Outdoor Nurseries Social Enterprise Fund open for applications

Outdoor Nurseries Social Enterprise Fund open for applications


Thanks to a generous donation from a supporter who wishes to remain anonymous, we have established a new Fund to offer seed-corn investment to develop innovative approaches for the creation of a new generation of outdoor early learning and childcare (ELC) settings.

Funding will be available for 12 to 18 months to support the establishment of new outdoor ELC settings.

This Fund is intended to target areas of very high deprivation where there is a clear need for ELC provision.

Please note that only existing charities that are currently social enterprises or who plan to become social enterprises in the course of the funding year are eligible to apply. 

The closing date for applications is midnight on Friday 12 July 2019.  We want to support those making an application and we invite those who are considering applying to register their interest with us by e-mail to – questions can also be submitted to Jo and we will circulate questions and answers to all those who have registered on 29 June and if further questions are submitted thereafter, we will circulate the answers to those on 5 July.

A Performance Advisor will be available for one to one discussion about your application if required by telephone from 24 June to 10 July, by arrangement with Jo.

Considering the specificity of the eligibility criteria, you must read the guidance notes before beginning your application.


Frequently Asked Questions:

Q. We are a CIC and operate as a Social Enterprise – can we apply?

We only fund charities so you need to be a charity at the time of application.

Q. Is there flexibility on what funding is for? For example, can it be used for running costs and capital, and is there a fixed split between the two?

Each application will be considered on its own merits – we welcome applications that are looking for funding for running costs, capital costs or both if they fit the objectives and wider criteria. 

Q. We want to offer ELC to a wider area than just the deprived communities locally. Is this okay?

The fund is aimed at providing outdoor early learning and childcare for children from deprived communities and we would expect an application to reflect that.

Q. Can we use the fund to develop the grounds of an indoor/free flow nursery?

The funding is intended to support fully outdoor ELC provision so enhancing grounds attached to an existing indoor/free flow nursery would not be eligible.  Establishing a satellite outdoor nursery on another outdoor site (i.e. not the nursery garden) which might be managed by an existing indoor/free flow nursery manager could be eligible. 

Q. Could you please confirm whether organisations who have not had discussion with either the Care Inspectorate or the relevant local authority are ineligible to apply?

You can still apply, however preliminary engagement with the care inspectorate and your local authority regarding your proposed development is encouraged.


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