Meet the Funder: Benefact Trust

21 Jun 2023 Jocelyn Horton    Last updated: 21 Jun 2023

Andrew Bass, Senior Grants Officer the Benefact Trust gives an overview of the Trust and its funding programmes aimed at empowering churches and Christian charities across the UK and Ireland
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Since 1972, the Trust has awarded over £235m to churches, Christian charities, and the communities they serve. £100 million of this has been given in the last 5 years alone.

While historically, their focus had been on preserving history and heritage through repair and renovation grants towards Christian places of worship, today they have broadened their focus to empowering Christian causes to preserve hope and provide a lifeline to some of the most disadvantaged local communities they serve.  

A major goal for this funder is to be the largest corporate giver within 3-5 years.

Overview of Current Grant Programme

Benefact Trust operates 5 grant programmes alongside occasional special funding calls:

  • Methodist Grants
  • Roof Protection Grants
  • Heritage Skills Grants
  • Building Improvement Grants, and
  • Community Impact Grants

To find out more about each Grant, please visit Benefact Trust as well as viewing the attached PDF slide pack.

General Funding Guidelines

They aim to support as many applications which fit their objectives and criteria as possible. As it can be challenging to raise raising funds, the Benefact Trust have simplified the application process.

  • As a rough guide, if you are spending more than 40-45 minutes (Building Improvement Grant) or 1 hour (Community Impact Grant) completing the application form in one sitting, you may well be giving them more information than they need.

After submitting your online application, you will receive an immediate email acknowledgement stating they have received your application. 

All grant applications are assessed by their Grants Team. For the island of Ireland, Andrew Bass is the Grant Officer.

  • Assessment includes how well the application meets the programme criteria and along with need, impact, the sustainability of the project, and the level of deprivation in the project area.

If your project fits the programme criteria, the size of your grant will be calculated by the Grants Officer based on your total project costs and their assessment criteria.

  • Applicants are asked to submit their total project costs and details of matched funding, rather than requesting a specific grant amount.

Because the Trust wants to help those most in need, deprivation is considered in the assessment process.

  • They provide uplifts for grants supporting the most deprived communities.

For further details relating to all funding programmes, interested applicants should visit Benefact Trust.

Q&A Session

We’ve already benefitted from a Benefact Trust grant - for which we are very grateful. Can we apply for further grants for that Centre? and if applying under historical buildings do we need to have match funding?

If you are successful, you will need to wait two years after your final grant payment before you can apply under the same programme again. So if you have applied for1 year’s funding you can reapply in 3 years’ time or applied for 3 year’s funding, you can reapply again in 5 years.

  • But you can receive funding under more than one of the Trust’s grant programmes.
  • Example - Community Impact Grants and Building Improvement Grants for different projects during the same period, but you cannot apply to different programmes for the same project.

Please see their FAQS on their website for rules regarding funding received under their previous grant programmes.

  • Generally, the Trust requires 30% of funding to be in place before an application can be made. 

Can we self-fund the 30%?

Yes. Your matched funding can be from any source – your own fundraising, loans, major donor, other funders, your reserve, etc.

 Can we apply full cost recovery?

No, but the Community Impact Grant allows you to apply for revenue costs such as salaries, training, reasonable expenses, and capital equipment costs related to a project.

Do you include amounts for salary increases within 3 year funding awards, or is the grant award a set amount?

We award grants based on the total cost submitted in your application. So, if you have included salary increases over the 3-year period, then this is what will be used to determine the final grant award.

We would like to do a building extension to further our training provision. We equip leaders to lead and deliver programmes across all of NI.  Our object is to Advance Christ's Kingdom.  We train around 100 new Leaders each year and up to 2-300 young people with leadership skills - would that fit into the Empowering Christian Education stream?

Potentially, yes. This grant tends to support Christian schools with a clear Christian ethos and outlook. It’s best to contact me to discuss the best way forward.

Do you come to visit any projects to find out more prior to offering grant funding?

No. All awards given are based your application and any requested follow-up information given only. Site visits are made to for successful grantees if Grant Officers are in the area.

We currently have a Brighter Lives grant for 1 year, do we have to wait for 2 years before reapplying and if so how long will the Community Impacts theme run for?

No. The Brighter Lives grant programme was a standalone Thematic scheme. You can apply to our current grants programme without waiting two years.

What monitoring or reporting requirements are needed to provide assurance post-grant award?

You will need to provide Benefact Trust with an annual written report of the work you have taken and the benefits achieved with funding, measured against the objectives, outputs and outcomes from your submitted application. You will also need to include a breakdown of how the grant has been spent.

Does Benefact Trust appreciate being thanked / promoted via social media? Is this something funders in general want?

The Trust likes to publicise its grant making activities and also finds this information is useful other potential applicants who want to approach the Trust for support. So where possible, awardees should publicise their grant, e.g. on social media, in physical and digital literature, on noticeboards and newsletters, in the media, on websites or on a plaque/donor recognition board, etc.


Eligible organisations interested in applying to the Benefact Trust can review further information, guidance, FAQs, and helpful resources on their website.


Andrew Bass, Senior Grants Officer 

Landline: 01524 782825  Mobile: 07391 861909 Email: [email protected]'s picture
by Jocelyn Horton

Fundraising Advice Officer

[email protected]