The Local Community Fund Programme (previously called the Community Commissioning Programme) and VCS Grants Programme - is the Successor to Mainstream Grants Programme

The Local Community Fund (LCF) Programme replaces Tower Hamlets Council's Mainstream Grants (MSG), a programme of voluntary sector funding of about £3m per year, which having been extended will end on 30th September 2019.  The LCF funding will be spread across 5 strands, each focusing on outcomes for local residents, making a positive impact on their lives and linking clearly with the borough priorities set out in the Tower Hamlets plan. The overall available funding offered is being maintained with the previous MSG allocation as a demonstration of the confidence and trust in the voluntary sector.

*Update* - 12 March 2019

The draft prospectus for the Local Community Fund is now in the final stages of approval.  We expect the fund to go live next week and will publish the final prospectus, forms, guidance etc.

The draft prospectus brings together in one document the funding schemes, general guidance and the assessment criteria which we have been discussing for the past few months.  Most of it will be familiar to those who have taken part in the discussions but the council would like to give an opportunity to organisations to see the draft prospectus before it is finalised.  It is draft so please do not be distracted if the formatting and numbering is not yet quite right.  Anyone familiar with drafting large documents will know the nightmare of consistent formatting!

Click here for the  draft prospectus

View the FAQs here

*Update* - 21 February 2019 

The Local Authority have updated the FAQ's for the LCF following the last workshop

View the FAQs here

*Update* - 18 February 2019 

Notes and Questions from ‘Theme, Schemes and Bidding’ workshop, 6th February 2019

*Update* - 11 February 2019 

The LCF workshop on 6 February discussed the draft schemes which organisations will be bidding to in the Local Community Fund, the bidding process, monitoring and setting out outcomes.  You can see the presentations made at the session here.  We are collating the feedback from the workshop and will be publishing the summary shortly.  Feedback from the workshop is being incorporated into the schemes and guidance for the programme and the final draft of the prospectus for the LCF will be published before the end of the month.  We are also revising and updating the FAQs and factsheet about the LCF.

*Update* - 1 February 2019

Local Community Fund Update 1 February 2019

The Council will be holding a workshop session on 6th February at 10:00 to 12:30 at the Professional Development Centre, 229 Bethnal Green Road, E2 6AB.  Refreshments will be available from 9:30.  To book a place, please register here.

At this session we will look at:

  • The draft schemes (previously we called them specifications).  This includes a final look at the outcomes for each of the priorities;
  • What you will need to include in your bids, what information we will be asking for and how your bids should be structured across the themes;
  • Monitoring outcomes;
  • Training and support, and
  • The next steps.

We have been working on the feedback we have had from past sessions and your individual feedback to produce a set of documents which set out the Local Community Fund programme in detail.  These documents are available on the THCVS website along with documents from previous sessions on the Local Community Fund page (scroll down to past updates for more information).

Summary of LCF Outcomes

Inclusion, Health and Wellbeing

Digital Inclusion

Information and Advice

Employment and Skills

Community Safety

Even if your organisation’s primary focus is in one of the theme areas, we recommend you look at the summary to see whether there are priorities and outcomes in other themes which maybe relevant to you.

We are nearing the end of the process and expect to launch the new fund prospectus and open for bidding in the second week of March.  The schemes are still draft and we continue to welcome comment and suggestions as well as questions which we can add to the frequently asked questions (FAQs).  If you would like to comment but cannot attend the session on 6th February, please email, or


*Update* - 29 January 2019

London Borough of Tower Hamlets invite you to join us for a Local Community Fund Prospectus workshop. Refreshments will be available from 9.30am, and the workshop starting promptly at 10am.

This session will look at elements of the prospectus for the Local Community Fund including the revised outcomes, criteria and assessment, general guidance and the support programme.

6th February, 2019 9:30am to 12:30pm, at Professional Development Centre (Hall), 229 Bethnal Green Rd
London, E2 6AB

Book your place here 


*Update* - 15 January 2019

Tower Hamlets Council is holding a workshop to discuss the outcomes and assessment process for the Local Community Fund on Monday 21st January – booking details here.

Draft Themes and Service Outcomes

This document provides a summary of the revised strands and suggested service outcomes for the Local Community Fund.  Please note that these are still very much in draft format.

 The service outcomes were developed following input from workshops and meetings in late 2018 and feedback from colleagues in the voluntary sector and Tower Hamlets Council.  The original overarching outcomes (from the draft framework, online here) are listed in blue below, with updated outcomes in black.  

We are interested to know:

  • If the strands and outcomes make sense, i.e. any feedback on the range of outcomes, the people they cover and the overall scope of the programme
  • Whether any outcomes can be merged and/or reworded 

Draft Criteria and Assessment

The draft criteria and assessment for the Local Community Fund sets out the two stages of assessment of bids to the programme.  Most of the criteria will be familiar to organisations which have made bids for funds from any public body but we have included ‘Local Value’ and ‘Service Co-design’ as criteria where we are specifically seeking your input.  We will be discussing what these criteria should look like at the workshop on 21st January and continuing the discussion until the final versions are agreed early in February.    

Following the workshop on 21st  January we will be publishing a second draft, incorporating comments made at the session.

If you are not able to attend the workshop on 21st, or have further thoughts after the event, please email your comments suggestions or questions to:, or




*Update* - 8 January 2019 

At the end of last year there were seven workshop sessions looking at outcomes for the five themes of the Local Community Fund.  The details of these sessions and the notes taken at the sessions are all published on this page which is devoted to the Council’s Local Community Fund.

They are now drawing together all the input from VCS organisations and Council service leads at those sessions and drafting the service descriptions which organisations will be asked to bid for in the new fund.   A workshop session has been scheduled to look at these in more detail, for Monday 21 January at 2:00pm, (refreshments available from 1:30).

To book on this workshop click here

They will also be looking at the funding criteria and assessment, particularly what ‘Local connection’ should look like and also what they mean by continuing co-design of service over the period of funding.

A further date for your diary – morning of 6th February they will be looking at the draft prospectus for the LCF.  Details will be published closer to the date.

If you cannot make it to the workshops you are very welcome to send comments on the documents when they are published to or


Local Community Fund Programme Framework

This sets out the five priority themes and high level outcomes that make up the framework.

Local Community Fund Themed Workshops

6 themed workshops have been planned to cover each of the 5 strands (the Inclusion, Health and Wellbeing Theme has two workshops but each covering the same information and activities)

There will also be a 7th drop in session which will not be themed on a specific strand but rather an overview of the progress so far for all the strands and give a final opportunity to contribute to the outcomes.

Local Community Fund Drop-In Session  - 18th December, 2018 4:30 PM at the Professional Development Centre -  It was a final opportunity for stakeholders to make a contribution to the development of the outcomes for the projects, which would form the basis for the funding bids organisations will be making.

*Update* - 17th December 2018 - Workshop Notes and Draft Outcomes

The workshop notes so far are quite detailed at this stage, so the next step will be to rationalise them into a more concise form.

BUT - If you have any clarifications, suggestions, questions or would like to highlight your favourite outcomes please send your comments to as soon as possible so she can make the changes ready for the next version.

We’re aware that this is a busy time of year and that it might not be possible for everyone to attend the workshops. Gemma is happy to take input, suggested outcomes and questions by email and phone. Please do pass on information about the programme and the ways people can comment and contribute to anyone you think might be interested. The more input we get at this stage, and the greater the range of perspectives we include, the stronger the specifications (and programme) will be.

The notes taken so far are as follows

Community Safety LBTH LCF Workshop - Wednesday 12th December from 2:00pm to 5:00pm at Professional Development Centre

Community Safety Notes

Community Safety Outcomes

Community Saftey Introduction

Digital Inclusion LBTH LCF Workshop – 14th November 2018 2:00pm to 5:00pm at Christian Street Community Hub

Digital Inclusion Priorities and Outcomes

Digital Inclusion workshop notes v1

Inclusion, Health and Wellbeing LBTH LCF Workshop - Friday 23rd November, 2018 9:30am to 1:00pm at Christian Street Community Hub

Inclusion, Health and Wellbeing Priorities and Outcomes

Inclusion, Health and Wellbeing workshop notes v1

Information and Advice - LBTH Local Community Fund Workshop – Monday 26th November, 2018 2:00pm to 5:00pm at Professional Development Centre

Information and Advice Priorities and Outcomes

Information and Advice workshop notes v1

Employment and Skills - LBTH Local Community Fund Workshop – Friday 30th November, 2018 9:30am to 1:00pm at Christian Street Community

Employment and Skills Priorities and Outcomes

Employment and Skills workshop notes v1



All documents linked to in the text are also available to download below.  We'll add more information as we receive it, and can keep you updated by email if you sign up to our 'Funding and Development' bulletin.