Community Initiative Fund

Apply for funding to develop new local community projects.

1 Overview

The Community Initiative Fund (CIF) is administered by County Local Committees (CLCs), providing assistance to local community projects that aim to make a positive impact on people’s wellbeing and support The West Sussex Plan.

The fund is administered to projects through one of two routes, depending on their size.

The Micro Fund is a paper-based application form open to funding bids from small-scale projects with a total value of £750 or less.

The West Sussex Crowd is a crowdfunding platform through which the County Council can contribute towards an element of a project or where the total project costs exceed £750.

For additional advice relating to funding opportunities in your local area, please contact the Communities Team at

The funds are awarded to groups by West Sussex County Councillors at County Local Committee meetings.

Your county councillors want to get behind worthwhile projects which include:

  • increasing group membership and widening participation
  • start-up new activities and expanding existing services for members of the community
  • encouraging individuals or groups to discover a physical activity that can be tailored to varying levels of mobility and fitness
  • organising community events and activities
  • providing specific items for community spaces
  • organising one-off events to increase visitor numbers to the local area
  • activities aimed at developing skills for residents to benefit them and the area
  • providing improvements to community infrastructure and developing communally-held assets
  • helping groups and organisations to develop their assets and/or resources to support future financial independence
  • helping communities influence the planning and delivery of local services
  • protecting the environment and promoting sustainable local development
  • recognising significant events and community achievements.

The CLC Development Team is available Monday to Friday (9.00am-5.00pm) to answer enquiries and offer advice in relation to eligibility and the application process.

To make an enquiry and discuss your project idea, phone 033 022 25075 or email

2 Micro Fund

The Micro Fund was introduced in June 2019 and enables groups to apply directly to the County Council for a grant where the total project cost is up to £750.

Similar to the former Small Grants Fund, the Micro Fund operates under the same Community Initiative Fund (CIF) eligibility criteria as West Sussex Crowd, while providing an alternative avenue to the crowdfunding approach.

Groups are encouraged to first enquire before submitting an application in order to discover when their bid may be considered at the earliest available County Local Committee (CLC) meeting. Applications will be formally considered by CLCs three times per year and funding decisions will be taken alongside crowdfunding pitches.

To request an application form, email

3 West Sussex Crowd

West Sussex Crowd is an online crowdfunding initiative which provides groups across the county with a platform to pitch their project ideas and generate backing from communities. It welcomes shared ideas from a wide variety of groups with the aim of improving their local communities.

The benefits of using West Sussex Crowd include:

  • generating interest and accessing wider community funding in one place
  • adding pre-campaign funding and topping up your total with funding raised offline
  • being in charge of how you promote your unique campaign page
  • setting your own fundraising deadline based on your project’s timescales
  • pitching to other partner funds in addition to the Community Initiative Fund
  • support in the form of backers.

The Community Initiative Fund (CIF) is one of many funding pots accessible via the platform.

When you upload your project idea to ‘The Crowd’, you will be asked to pitch to CIF should you meet the criteria.

Crowd Funding Groups are still encouraged to use the platform even if their project idea does not fit the eligibility criteria or their pitch to the CIF was rejected at its County Local Committee (CLC) meeting.

Since launching in May 2018, more than 90 projects have so far been successful in their fundraising campaigns, while £625,000 plus has been pledged on the platform to date.

From financing a comedy tour of care homes for people living with dementia, to backing a children’s playground transformation - the crowd is united in boosting wellbeing in West Sussex one project at a time.

See our campaign to find further information about West Sussex Crowd. And if you’re ready to apply, find out how to upload your idea.

Last updated:
22 December 2020
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