Department for International Development
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Small British charities set to receive major UK aid boost to transform lives in poorest countries

Small UK-based development charities delivering international development projects now have the opportunity to apply for a UK aid boost.

DFID’s Small Charities Challenge Fund (SCCF) is now open to organisations that have an income of less than £250,000 and provide life-changing support to those in need across the world.

Charities can access grants of up to £50,000 to help respond to global challenges such as improving girls’ education, tackling climate change, and promoting access to healthcare in the developing world.

International Development Secretary Alok Sharma yesterday said:

Every day, small British charities are working to save lives. Their commitment and passion is helping to reduce poverty around the world and deliver on wide-ranging priorities including education and health.

We want to make it easier for them to access UK aid which will make a huge difference in their ability to deliver on the frontline.

This new phase of funding, follows a two-year pilot scheme which saw charities like Bristol-based Legs4Africa, use an SCCF grant to help in their work to support amputees in Africa.

Legs4Africa Director Phil Tunstall yesterday said:

Over 100 amputees in West Africa have received prosthetic legs and rehabilitation since we received our first SCCF grant.

UK aid helped us with our project design, getting our policies and procedures in order, and with project funding, all of this has made our small charity grow and become more accountable and professional. This is important, because it means we can help so many more amputees walk again and find their independence.

Teach2Teach International, a small charity based in London which has also received an SCCF grant, trains unemployed young people in Ghana to become volunteer teachers and give something back to children in their neighbourhoods.

Teach2Teach International Founder Anita Lowenstein Dent yesterday said:

Thousands of children in Northern Ghana have benefited from an improved education, giving them the best chance in life, thanks to our SCCF grant. The process was straightforward, allowing us to focus on our delivery and meeting the needs of those we are trying to help. I’d encourage any small charities in the UK to explore how the Fund might be able to support their work.

The first review date for applications is 28th November 2019. To apply, and for more information, go to

Notes to Editors

  • The Small Charities Challenge Fund (SCCF) is a funding mechanism which is part of UK Aid Direct. It is DFID’s first programme dedicated to working with very small British charities, and their feedback has shaped its design. Originally launched in July 2017, the Fund draws on British expertise and is currently supporting 52 charities to deliver vital work in 20 developing countries, with a further 22 set to start over the coming months
  • UK Aid Direct is the UK’s Department for International Development’s (DFID) funding mechanism to support small-and-medium-sized civil society organisations (CSOs), to meet the UN Global Goals.
  • The SCCF pilot was launched in July 2017 tailored to the needs of small UK charities doing outstanding development work. A total of 52 grants for up to £50,000 have been approved.
  • Grants are available for projects up to of two years in duration (i.e. they can be for a shorter period than two years).

The grants available are as follows:

  • Project grants of up £50,000 for the very best small British charities. Eligible projects will last up to two years, be implemented in DFID priority countries where the need is greatest, and will aim to improve the lives of the poorest and most vulnerable. To apply, and for more information, go to
  • Capacity Development grants – up to six grants worth up to £100,000 for larger organisations. These grants are aimed at expert CSOs and networks of CSOs that can deliver specialist capacity development in small UK-based charities in areas including finance, communications and governance. Full details are available on the SCCF website The application deadline is 28 November 2019.

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