The Acorn Giving Circle

Purpose of the Fund:

The Acorn Giving Circle (AGC) is made up of a group of women who aim to make a positive contribution to improving the lives of people living in Derry ~ Londonderry and Strabane, in a small but meaningful way through pooled personal donations.

When the pooled donations reach a target amount, the funds are made available in the form of small grants. These grants aim to support local charitable or community groups and organisations.

The Giving Circle formed in 2012 as a response to the establishment of the Acorn Fund (AF) in 2012 and is managed by the Community Foundation (CFNI). The Acorn Fund is a legacy of the City of Culture 2013 and works in partnership with donors and funders to encourage local giving which supports local people and causes.

AGC aims to prioritise its support to where the need is greatest and where it can make a small but important difference.

Who can apply?

  • Constituted groups who have management committee and current bank account
  • Individuals can be supported through an organisation – please contact us for clarification

The fund wishes to support projects that will improve the lives of children, young people and older people through social, cultural, sporting or educational activities who live in Derry~Londonderry city and its environs, including Strabane Town.

While not exclusive, the Fund welcomes applications for projects that address the following:

  • Children / young people who live in the Derry~ Londonderry City and environs and Strabane Town.
  • The project should demonstrate that it is a new initiative within your organisation/group and not your normal business
  • Projects that allow older people to stay connected within their communities and can also have an intergenerational element
  • Projects and activities which are concerned with raising awareness about local impacts of climate change on vulnerable people in our community  e.g. older people and children around extreme weather events including heat waves, extreme cold, flooding.

Examples of the types of activities that may be supported:

  • Supporting children through bereavement; play and learning projects; health and well-being projects; fun and play projects; social awareness projects.
  • Projects that bring older people together in a safe environment which adheres to current COVID restrictions.
  • Could be a project that you have developed through learning from previous work you’ve done.
  • Your organisation which supports vulnerable people may need to adapt to climate change e.g. air conditioning units, energy efficiency costs

What we can’t fund:

  • Organisations or activities which promote causes that are contrary to our purposes.  Causes and activities that are contrary to our purposes include, but may not be limited to, those outlined in our investment policy.  We will not therefore fund organisations or activities which we determine are linked to the promotion of armaments, alcohol, human rights abuses, tobacco or pornography.
  • Applications from Individuals (some exceptions may apply – please seek guidance from Shauna Kelpie)
  • Funding for retrospective project costs
  • Projects or activity that promote or advance religion
  • Promotion of religious or political activity, including any flags and emblems that may deem to be associated with such
  • Organisations whose purposes include the advancement of religion.
  • The establishment of endowment of any school or institution providing further education within the meaning of the education and libraries (Northern Ireland) order 1972
  • The provision of assistance to any Housing Association within the meaning of the housing (Northern Ireland) order 1976  *Note: Housing Associations will be eligible for some funds, providing they meet all other eligibility requirements, and if they apply as part of a partnership project, and are not named as the applicant organisation.
  • Organisations which adopt a partisan political stance or activities which are party political. We will not support organisations that advocate the use of violence to campaign or influence public opinion
  • General appeals, individual and group sponsorship, marketing appeals, proposals for bursaries from individuals or proposals from individuals for the funding of study or attainment of qualifications
  • The provision of services that are the primary and legal responsibility of the state
  • Input VAT reclaimable from HMRC
  • Payments reimbursed or to be reimbursed by other public or private sector funding
  • Contributions in kind (i.e. a contribution in goods or services, as opposed to money)
  • Depreciation, amortisation or impairment of fixed Assets owned by the group
  • Interest payments (including service charge payments for finance leases)
  • Gifts to individuals other than promotional items with a value of no more than £25 a year to any one individual
  • Entertaining (entertaining for this purpose means anything that would be a taxable benefit to the person being entertained, according to current UK tax regulations)
  • Statutory fines, criminal fines or penalties
  • Liabilities incurred before the issue of an award
  • Use in respect of costs reimbursed or to be reimbursed by funding from any other source
  • Use of funding to top up reserves of your group



In addition the Acorn Giving Circle Fund will not support:

  • Applications from statutory organisations
  • Applications that promote religious or political activities
  • Salaried posts
  • Trips abroad
  • Vehicles or related costs
  • Activities that duplicate existing services
  • Retrospective Funding
  • Substitution for statutory funding
  • Formal education fees
  • Equipment
  • Parties & shopping trips
  • Projects outside of the specified geographical area

Additional Information

Please note:

References will be sought and applicants may be required to demonstrate need for support.

Successful grant recipients will be required to keep a record of expenditure including receipts.

Grant recipients will be required to write a short report detailing how the grant helped them.

Decisions on grants made by the Committee of the Acorn Giving Circle are final.  Any canvassing for grants may lead to disqualification.


Please read the following text before beginning your application.

  • You are a locally based not-for-profit, voluntary or community group working in Northern Ireland to improve the quality of life for local people
  • You have an active management committee, with no two related cheque signatories
  • You have a governing document, i.e. Constitution in the name of the applicant organisation
  • You have a current bank account in the name of your organisation
  • You have up to date annual accounts
  • You have complied with the conditions of previous grants including submission of monitoring returns.


For further information please email Shauna Kelpie at or phone on 07796 264635.


Closing Date: Dec 6, 2021 13:00

Dec 6, 2021 13:00

  • Area:

  • Derry~Londonderry and Strabane

  • Grant size:

  • Grants of up to £1,000

  • Priorities:

  • Children and Young People; Older People and Impacts of Climate change

Ready To Apply?

Apply Now

Apply Now

The fund will close at 1:00pm on Monday 6th December 2021

Apply online by clicking here:



Who to speak to

Shauna Kelpie

Fund Development Officer

If you are unsure about any of the above, or have any other queries, then please contact Shauna Kelpie, Fund Development Officer.

Shauna Kelpie

Fund Development Officer

If you are unsure about any of the above, or have any other queries, then please contact Shauna Kelpie, Fund Development Officer.

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