Our grant application process

Step 1: Read the guidance

Before making an application it’s really important that you first find out if your organisation is eligible and understand our funding principles. Click on the links below to find out more.

Step 2: Submit an online application

We explain how risk is assessed and are realistic about how much assurance applicants provide.

Step 3: Decision

Your application will be considered in detail by our grant-making committee with a final decision made by our board of trustees.

Step 4: Feedback

All grant applicants will be contacted within three months of the application closing deadline with feedback, and follow up conversations if requested.

Step 5: Award Ceremony

Successful applicants will be invited to attend a special summer event to formally recieve your grant.

Application dates

The 2024 large grants programme is now closed. All applicants have been informed of CPT's final decision.

Our three educational funding priorities


Leadership for Lay People

Projects that deepen the awareness of Catholic Social Teaching and Catholic Social Thought to better equip people to take on leadership roles in tackling poverty, exclusion, economic inequality and environmental concerns in their communities.


Educational Social Action

Projects that have an educational dimension to deliver tangible outcomes to tackle poverty, exclusion, economic inequality and environmental concerns for marginalised people and communities.


Applied Research

Projects that develop and apply Catholic Social Teaching and Catholic Social Thought, in partnership with those who are delivering social action work, to ultimately improve public policy and practice.

Who is eligible for support?

What funding support you can apply for from CPT depends on the size of your charity. Please consult the charity income document. Please also read our exclusion criteria below to ensure that your organisation is eligible for Charles Plater Trust support.

Our exclusions - what we can't support

Charities with an annual income above £10 million

The only exception to this if for Universities and HE Institutions, who irrespective of their size and annual income, can apply for both small or large grants from CPT, on condition that they must be partnering with a micro, small, medium or large charity in their project proposal to us to be eligible for our funding in a joint bid of this nature.

Projects that are outside our three priority themes

Leadership for lay people; social action and/or applied research.

Projects from organisations that are not registered charities

Or are not currently working towards establishing their charitable status.

Work that does not have a direct benefit in England or Wales

Or where the applicant organisation is not based in England or Wales.

Grants to individuals

We only provide support to registered charities not individuals. The only exception to this is that we will consider funding individual postgraduate scholarship projects in the applied research priority theme, providing that the applying academic organisation ensures that it holds an open competition to select a candidate to undertake the grant-funded research.

Organisations without at least three non-executive trustees or directors

Grants for over £60,000 in total.

Capital costs

CPT will only fund revenue project costs, not capital costs. Revenue costs are the costs of making projects happen. They occur during the project, for that project. Capital costs are for items which last beyond the project and these cannot be funded by CPT and so should not be included in project budgets.

Organisational core costs

Core costs are the running costs of your organisation. This is the money you need to make the work happen. These are also sometimes called overheads, running costs or operating costs. Unfortunately, due to the demands on CPT's limited resources we do not now cover core costs/overheads in project grants, so please do not include these type of costs in your project budget to us.

Repeat funding

If your organisation has been successful in securing funds from us before, we will only accept another application from you if two years has elapsed from the date you last received a grant instalment from us.

Multiple successful applications

Each successful applicant can only hold one grant from us at a given time.

Frequently asked questions

What kind of applications does the Charles Plater Trust favour?

What kind of applications does the Charles Plater Trust favour?

We judge every application on its respective strengths and encourage applications from diverse and wide-ranging charities. However,  we have some operating assumptions about how to best create change with our partners. These are:

1 Applicants with annual incomes below £10 million
We mainly support (but not exclusively) voluntary sector organisations with annual incomes below £10 million, as typically it is still these charities that struggle most to secure income.

2 Applicants with  clear outcomes
We are focused on achieving the desired outcomes of The Charles Plater Trust, to ensure that we are being as effective as possible with our limited financial support.

3 We are a ‘shopper’ funder
We are a ‘shopper’ funder, which means that we take a real interest in potential grant recipients to see if they are in a position to deliver on our desired outcomes.

4 Three types of change
We want to encourage three different types of change through our funding support.  

Change for individuals
Achieving significant change for individuals who are the most marginalised in the UK today.

Change for organisations
Enhancing the capacity of organisations to respond more effectively to social needs.

Change for wider society
Generating social or systemic change through policy or practice change.

We do not expect any one application to be able to generate change in all three categories, but we do expect applicants to be clear about what type of change they are aiming for with their planned programmes and activities and how they will know if they have been successful in reaching their change goals.

Do you just fund Catholic charities?

No! We don’t just fund Roman Catholic organisations.

Some of our most successful past grants have been given to organisations that are not Roman Catholic or Christian, but whose objectives are clearly aligned with Catholic Social Teaching principles.

How much data do you expect successful applicants to collect?

We favour grant applications based on quality data.
We also know that attributing direct causal relationships between funds provided to organisations and the changes they report, is an almost impossible challenge. Generally, we prefer it when intended outcomes are assessed by measuring change against a given baseline prior to any intervention, and then again after the intervention, so that the beneficiaries journey of change is clearly tracked. But we also know that this is not always possible.

In every case, we are interested in organisations evidencing the change that they have created as a direct result of Plater Trust funding using whatever measurement tools seem most appropriate. We want to encourage applicants to go further than simply supplying anecdotal or unsubstantiated evidence of change. We are always open to conversations with applicants about how applicants can strengthen their own outcome data collection plans.

As a new condition of funding from September 2021, we will also be asking all successful applicants to provide us with a short blog for our website to share the ‘stories of change’ that their project achieved.

Can I do a joint application with other organisations?

Yes! We actually favour grant applications that are collaborative in nature.

We believe that this fosters better learning between organisations, more effective change and more efficient use of existing resources.

Why do you encourage high levels of user involvement?

We believe that having beneficiaries at the forefront is crucial to achieving change. Ideally, we prefer applicants to show us how intended beneficiaries have had a say in the way programmes and activities are designed and evaluated. Our application process, therefore, asks applicants to be clear about how they have involved users, how applicants have secured user feedback and how they use this to ensure that their planned activities genuinely reflect beneficiaries needs.

But we also know that user involvement is far from straightforward in practice and that there may be times when the vulnerability of service users makes such involvement inappropriate. So we encourage potential applicants to be honest about the scope and ability of their organisation to do this.

We also refer all applicants to the useful tool for understanding the different levels of user involvement - The ladder of participation - developed by Arnstein in the US in 1969, which still holds relevance today. It has been widely used and adapted to describe the different levels of user involvement in different contexts.

Read our guidance

Read our guidance to decide whether your work could contribute to The Charles Plater Trust goals.

Still have questions?

Please get in touch with us.

Other funding options

If we are not a good fit for your project, here are some other great funding options that might be!

The NFP Synergy Report

This report was written to try and help organisations think about their fundraising with greater realism and to improve their chances of success. It is aimed at small organisations, those (however large) who are just starting to think about raising more voluntary income, or anybody else who finds it useful.

Community Foundations

Community Foundations is a national network of community foundations and its members give over £65 million in grants a year, making it the largest grant-making network in the UK.

Grant funding and social investment

360 Grant Nav

Discover more about UK grant making organisations with GrantNav’s free data platform.

My Funding Central

A database of grant funding for organisations with an annual income below £1m.

Funds Online

A funding database of 8,000 funders giving a total of £8 billion.

Good Finance

A website aimed at equipping charities to deal with the world of social investment.

Directory of Social Change

Access more funding sources, commentary and analysis than anywhere else through the Directory of Social Change’s resources.