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.


Local Community Fund - July 2019 update

The council’s Cabinet will be considering the recommended funding programme for the Local Community Fund on 31st July.  Prior to the Cabinet meeting, the council’s Overview and Scrutiny Committee will have the opportunity to consider and comment on the report to Cabinet at its meeting on 29th July.

Peter Okali, our CEO, will be representing the voluntary sector at the Overview and Scrutiny Committee. We are encouraging groups to share any feedback for us to take to this meeting by responding to this brief, 5 minute survey:

You can read the report and supporting papers on the LCF which have been published as part of the agenda for the Overview and Scrutiny Committee.

The appendix F to the report sets out the recommended LCF programme and details the projects which are being recommended by the council’s Chief Executive for funding.  If you have submitted a bid to the LCF you will be able to see in Appendix F whether your project is recommended for funding.  If you submitted more than one bid you will need to look though the recommendations for all of the LCF Themes.

You will see in the main report that the LCF had a huge response with over 230 bids from 131 organisations amounting to £10m. The council continues its commitment to maintaining the current level of expenditure at £2.66m from the Mainstream Grants programme but clearly, with such high demand, only a proportion of the bids submitted can be funded.  With a high number of good quality bids submitted which we are not able to support, the council is committed to helping organisations find alternative sources of funding.

There are projects which the council currently supports where either no bid was made to continue the service or the bid was not successful.  This is not a negative reflection on the existing projects.  It reflects the fact that the council cannot support all of the excellent services which the voluntary sector provides for local residents.

The report sets out a number of proposals designed to help ensure that there is a smooth transition for local residents who use service funded through the MSG programme which may not continue in their current form.  These are set out in paragraphs 3.53 to 3.58 and include proposals to:

  • Include a new theme in the Small Grants Programme to support projects which combat social isolation of older people, particularly in BME communities, through day facilities which will be reviewed over time in the context of the development of the council’s review of day care for older people;
  • Include a new theme in the Small Grants Programme relating to access and participation to establish schemes to provide referral gateways for people from BME communities;
  • Provide transitional support for services currently funded through MSG until funding from the new Small Grants programme themes is available where a significant equality impact is identified;
  • Provide transitional support for community language services currently funded through MSG pending the outcome of the wider review of community language services;
  • Address through targeted commissioning arrangements specific gaps in services identified in the equality assessment analysis including:
  1. Early intervention and support for families leading complex lives particularly with children with disabilities;
  2. Support for young carers;
  3. Support for young people with mental health issues.

You can download a copy of the report and supporting papers on the Cabinet Agenda at

The decisions will be made at Cabinet on 31st July.  The council will then write to all organisations which submitted bids to the Local Community Fund to let them know the outcome of their bids and what the next steps will be.  In the meantime, if you have submitted a bid and have any queries or concerns, please contact the Third Sector Team at


Our bid has not been recommened for funding - What next?

Finding out you have not been successful with any funding application can be difficult. There are a number of things groups may want to concider:

Help THCVS advocate and represent your views at the Overview and Scrutiny meeting on 29th July by giving us your feedback via our short survey

If you are a current MSG-funded group, get in touch with your grants officer and request feedback on your bid

If you are a non-MSG group, contact the Third Sector Team on

Book a one to one meeting with a THCVS staff member on to discuss the options for your group and identify a plan of action, including reviewing alternative funding sources

Call us on 020 8980 8427 to discuss how we can best support you



Local Community Fund - 15 May update

THCVS Updates

Bid Writing and Finance and Budgeting Training Resources

Co-production Training Resources


Tower Hamlets Council Funding and LCF Updates

Local Community Fund Deadline Approaching

Local Community Fund Form Submission

Local Community Fund – Insurance Details – information for people submitting bids

Local Community Fund - Organisation Form – information about submitting annual accounts

Newsletter from the council, content includes:

  • LBTH Local Community Fund updates – council priorities
  • LBTH Small Grants Programme – deadline 24th June
  • LBTH Emergency Funding – revised criteria
  • ESF Community Grants Programme – launching 10th June
  • Tower Hamlets Innovation Fund (match funding through crowdfunding) – workshop on 20th May from 10am at Osmani Centre
  • NHS Long Term Plan – General Survey (Healthwatch Tower Hamlets) – survey closing 22nd May
  • Challenge Poverty Week (CPW) – Planning Event
  • LBTH Social Value Framework
  • Pension Credit – update
  • Resident Support Scheme

Welcome to Tower Hamlets

Are you new to the UK and Tower Hamlets? (10 years or less). Do you need to learn English or improve your skills? Details of free ESOL activity in Tower Hamlets here


7th May Update - Co-production Resources

Co-production Workshop

Last week we held our joint co-production training with Inspire, who led on a co-produced training session with members of their co-production group.

You can find the resources from this session here:

Workshop presentation slides -

Morning session

Afternoon session

Co-production word jumble

Co-production Action Plan

Co-Production Guidlines - A handbook for services who want to start the journey of co-production, by Inspire

Short film - Inspire Co-Production & Involvement Service - co-produced with the Inspire co-production group




30th April Update - Additional Bid Writing Workshops

THCVS are putting on some additional workshops to support Tower Hamlets voluntary groups to make their applications to the Local Community Fund.

We are holding three bid writing workshops at our THCVS Office on 15A Old Ford Road. The dates and booking information is here:

Bid Writing for LCF – Additional Workshops

All held at THCVS Offices, 15A Old Ford Road

Friday 3 May, 10am to 1pm Book here

Wednesday 8th May, 10am to 1pm Book here

Wednesday 8th May, 2pm to 5pm Book here

Finance and Budgeting for LCF – at Professional Development Centre, 229 Bethnal Green Road on 9th May,  - Book here

Strengthen your Community Cohesion offer in your LCF Bid

If you are looking to strengthen the community cohesion offer in your LCF application, you should concider attending 'Building Cohesive Communities in Tower Hamlets' event on Tuesday 7th May from 10am to 12.30pm at Toynbee Hall, 28 Commercial Street, London, E1 6LS.

The event will offer a policy update on the councils approach to Community Cohesion, followed by an opportunity for voluntary groups to give their insights on the best ways to improve community cohesion. Book here

You can also access the council's 'Supporting Cohesion in Tower Hamlets: Commissioning of community based projects 2017-2018' document and outcomes framework here

Bid Writing Training - for resources, templates and presentation slides

Top Tips for Bid Writing

Held at our 'Meet the Funder's Event' on 26th March, and again on 11th April

Bid Writing for LCF

Held on both 24th and 29th April and repeated on 3rd May and 8th May

  1. Session - Evidencing Need in your LCF Bid

We also recommend you concider which of the THCVS and wider Tower Hamlets Forums offered in the borough would be good places to sit yourself so that your LCF project is linked in with strategic processes across Tower Hamlets.

2. Session - Outcomes and Indicators for LCF

3. Project Description for LCF bids

4. Business Planning for LCF bids


18th April Update

The final council workshop on the Local Community Fund online application is on Thursday 25th April from 5pm to 8pm at the Professional Development Centre, 229 Bethnal Green Road. To book, email You should receive confirmation of your email receipt immediately. If you do not, please email

Here is the link to the council website for all the bidding documents for the Local Community Fund

Slides from the Tower Hamlets Council 'How to use the online form' Workshops is here These are the workshops delivered by Gemma Cossins

Here is the link for Planning Triangle and drafting outcomes/indicators and measurements

Here is the link for the business planning template

Here is the link for the word version of the online application form

Here is the link for the updated Tower Hamlets Community Cohesion outcomes framework

Other training and support from THCVS - scroll down through the 10th April update to find out what else we can offer to support you with your application.

10th April Update

This is the second of our weekly LCF updates, to keep you all in the loops about what is happening to support the sector prepare for bid submissions for the LCF. Last week saw the first of five workshops being delivered by the council to help groups with the online application form. Two new updates from THCVS include a word version of the online application form, and the addition of a Finance and Budgeting for LCF workshop to help groups with their applications.


Here is a reminder of the support available to the sector from the council and from THCVS

Tower Hamlets Council Workshops

Saturday 13 April from 10am to 1pm
Thursday 18 April from 2pm to 5pm
Thursday 25 April from 5pm to 8pm

To book a place on any of these sessions, please email You should receive confirmation of your email receipt immediately. If you do not, please email

All of the sessions will take place at the Professional Development Centre, 229, Bethnal Green Road.


THCVS LCF Workshops

Bid preparation workshops

Bid Writing Top Tips, Thursday 11th April 2019 at Sundial Centre, 11 Shipton St, Bethnal Green, London, E2 7RU. Book here

This session will work through some of the top tips for writing a bid, how to draft outcomes and indicators, and spend time drafting bullet points for organisational business plans.

Speed dating

Speed Dating session is taking place on Tuesday 16th April from 1pm to 5pm at Osmani Centre. Book here for Employment and here for Digital and General speed dating.

To facilitate partnership working for applicants submitting an LCF bid, we are running speed dating events, the first batch of which took place today at the Bernie Cameron Centre. If you missed todays speed dating and want to get in on the action, book on to our 16th April sessions. Getting to know what other groups can offer - be it referral pathways, shared venue spaces, opportunities for joint working, all add to your local value case for the LCF bidding process. Its a great way to promote what you are doing too and how you can help support other groups.


Bid Writing Workshops

Two days of modular sessions covering a range of key areas for preparing and submitting a bid and how to apply – using the on line forms. We will deliver this day-long session in short modules, and we will publicise the agenda shortly, so you can attend only/all the modules you wish. The modules will cover: the online form, writing a project description, outcomes, indicators and measurements, business planning for the LCF and more.

Wednesday, 24th April 2019 at Bernie Cameron Centre, 32 Merchant Street, E3 Book here

Monday, 29th April 2019 at Bernie Cameron Centre, 32 Merchant Street, E3 Book here

Finance and Budgeting for LCF

The Finance and Budgeting workshop session will cover the aspects of financial management and budgeting for LCF applicants. The session will talk you through the financial requirements for applicants and help you to think through your budget using the LCF budget template. Book here

Co-Production Training

Co-Production Training on Thursday 2nd May 2019 at Southern Grove Community Centre, Southern Grove, E3 4FX. Book here

With Coproduction being a key element in the bidding scores for LCF, this session will help you think through how you will engage with your users so that there is continuous co-design within your LCF application. This session will be led by Charlotte Spirgel Sinclair – Co-production and involvement manager from Community Options and members of the co-production team - who together, have ‘walked the talk’ on coproduction, and will share their experience alongside discussing tools, tips and techniques for successful coproduction.

Other Support from THCVS

Word Version of the LCF Application Form

Following requests from the sector at the first LBTH LCF workshop, we have produced a word version of the LCF online application form. Just to be aware, the online form automatically times out after a relatively short period. This could result in the loss of any material you may have typed in to the online form. To help you get round this, we would recommend that you make a word version of your form and then ‘copy/past’ in to the online form, so that you always have a version stored on your computer.

Access the word version of the online application form here

THCVS Phone Support

A member of the THCVS team will be available Monday to Friday, 10am to 5pm to provide phone support for groups seeking advice on their LCF applications. To access this service, call us on 020 8980 8427.

THCVS One to One Advice and Support

A member of the THCVS team will be available Monday to Friday, 10am to 5pm for groups to book appointments. We recommend that groups needing this service book in appointments in advance, as we expect a high demand for this service. You can book an appointment by either calling us on 020 8980 8427, or by emailing a member of the team. You can book to see Alison Robert on Peter Vittles on or Jane Bell on

Bid Checking Service

We will be providing a bid checking service to give groups feedback on their bids. We expect this service to be high demand, so please plan ahead and get your drafts in as soon as possible. The last date for us receiving drafts for checking will be Monday 13th May – to give our external bid checkers time to review drafts, and then you time to make any changes. Call 020 8980 8427 or email us on emails above, to access this service.

Become a member of THCVS

It’s free and it means we will prioritise you for support. See the online form here or email our interim Memberships Officer, Jonathan on  He is very friendly and will help you get your membership registered.

Sign up to our mailing lists to keep up to date with latest developments here



The Local Community Fund is now open

Final submission deadline is midday, Friday 17th May 2019. You can find out more about the programme on the council’s website at

Update - 2nd April 2019 - THCVS Local Community Fund (LCF) Support

THCVS have a number of activities to support the sector with submitting their bids for the LCF.

Bid preparation workshops

Bid Writing Top Tips, Thursday 11th April 2019 at Sundial Centre, 11 Shipton St, Bethnal Green, London, E2 7RU. Book here

Bid Writing Workshops

Two days of modular sessions covering a range of key areas for preparing and submitting a bid and how to apply – using the on line forms

Wednesday, 24th April 2019 at Bernie Cameron Centre, 32 Merchant Street, E3 Book here

Monday, 29th April 2019 at Bernie Cameron Centre, 32 Merchant Street, E3 Book here

Co-Production Training

Co-Production Training on Thursday 2nd May 2019 at Southern Grove Community Centre, Southern Grove, E3 4FX. Book here

Partnership facilitation

We are holding Speed Dating events for each of the five LCF themes:

Wednesday 10th April – 10am to 3pm at The Bernie Cameron Centre, E3

Tuesday 16th April – 1pm to 3pm at Osmani Centre, E1

Individual bid reviews

We will offer a bid checking service to groups - final deadline for receiving bids for checking will be Monday 13th May.

Individual support/query by phone and face to face

We will support groups to think through their projects, prepare a logic frame and make use of the Charity Evaluation Service triangle. Groups can access this support over the phone, and with longer discussions available via Skype, or face to face meetings at our office at 15A Old Ford Road, Bethnal Green.

We are anticipating a large demand on the face to face and bid checking services. We will need to give priority to our members. We recommend you become a member (if you are not already). Its free, takes 5 minutes and will ensure we prioritise your group - see here on how to apply.


*Update* - 25 March 2019 The Local Community Fund is now open.

The final submission deadline is midday, Friday 17th May 2019.

The Local Community Fund is now open for VCS organisations to bid for funds for projects beginning in October 2019.  The programme will run to 31 March 2023.

You can find out more about the programme on the council’s website at

About the Local Community Fund

The Local Community Fund will adopt an outcomes based approach, encouraging organisations to build on local knowledge, skills and expertise and to use their flexibility to undertake the activities which have the most impact.  The new programme will stimulate greater and more effective support in tackling local issues. It encourages organisations to use the principles of co-design to ensure their services are targeted effectively.  This means working together with the people who use their services and with other service providers to respond to change to review and develop their outcomes and the services they will provide over the three and a half years of the programme.

This prospectus sets out the programme in detail.  The funding programme has five themes.  There are links to the details of each theme below.  The priorities within each theme have been grouped into funding schemes which VCS organisations are invited to bid to. 

If you have any queries or would like information which you cannot find on the website, please email and one of the team will respond to you as soon as they can.  The LBTH team will be revising and updating the FAQs and glossary frequently to include new queries we receive.

LBTH are providing training and THCVS will be running a comprehensive training and support programme at a wide variety of venues throughout the borough.

Support from THCVS for the Sector with LCF

The training and support managed by THCVS will include:

  • Bid workshops
  • Co-design workshops
  • Partnership facilitation
  • How to apply – using the on line forms
  • Individual bid reviews
  • Individual support/query (phone)
  • Individual support/query (face to face)

Full details of dates, times and booking will be published soon.

Tower Hamlets Council Support for the Sector for LCF

LBTH support will consist of a series of workshops on how to complete the online portal application forms, and are all to be held at the PDC, Bethnal Green

  • Wednesday 3rd April from 10:00am to 1:00pm
  • Tuesday 9th April from 2:00pm to 5:00pm
  • Saturday 13th April from 10:00am to 1:00pm
  • Thursday 18th April from 2.00pm to 5.00pm
  • Thursday 25th April from 5.00pm to 8.00pm

Sessions will cover the two application forms, go through the extra documents that organisations will need to submit, address some of the key questions and have a bit of discussion about outcomes.

To book a place or enquire about a workshop, email


*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.