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Allen Lane Foundation

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Wed 1 Sep 2021

Grants are available to small registered charities, voluntary groups and charitable organisations in the UK for work that makes a difference to people's lives as opposed to simply alleviating the symptoms or current problems and should aim to reduce isolation, stigma and discrimination.

Fund Information

Maximum value: £ 15,000

Minimum value: £ 500

Application deadline: None specified


The Allen Lane Foundation is a grant-making trust which was set up in 1966 by the late Sir Allen Lane, founder of Penguin Books, to support general charitable causes. The Foundation has no connection with the publishing company, but five of the Trustees are members of the founder's family.

Objectives of Scheme

The Foundation makes grants to voluntary not-for-profit organisations in the UK for work which benefits groups of people who are under-represented in UK society. 

Overall, the Foundation wishes to fund work which:

Will make a lasting difference to people's lives rather than simply alleviating the symptoms or current problems.

Is aimed at reducing isolation, stigma and discrimination.

Encourages or enables unpopular groups to share in the life of the whole community.

In 2019, the Foundation has launched its new Social Cohesion Programme, which was established to provide support to local communities. It will fund projects that aim to break down barriers and tensions between different groups of people, and build a more cohesive and inclusive community for all.

The aim of the Social Cohension Programme is to:

  • Proactively work towards building better community cohesion and trust, and encouraging respect and understanding in the local area
  • Proactively promote the inclusion of marginalised groups and individuals in the life of the local community
  • Fund work which breaks down barriers and tensions in the local community thereby reducing feelings of division and “them and us”.

The funding is for community-led grassroots groups and organisations whose work is focused at a 'very local/community level' such as a housing estate or distinct community.

Applications will be particularly encouraged from areas of high deprivation but not exclusively. The Foundation is keen to support communities come up with their own solutions to local issues of division. It is open to supporting actions which are new or may have been tried before or are on-going, however, the work must have lasting benefits for those people the projects are aimed at.

Value Notes

The Foundation typically makes around 150 grants in a year with a total value of between £750,000 and £800,000.

The Foundation makes single grants, or grants split over two or three years.

One-off grants of between £500 and £15,000 are available. The average grant is between £5,000 and £6,000.

Grants repeated for more than one year vary from around £500 per annum up to £5,000 per annum, for a maximum of three years. 

Key Criteria

Small registered charities, voluntary groups and charitable organisations in the UK can apply.

Registered charities are eligible to apply as well as other organisations which are not charities, but which seek funding for a charitable project. This could include, for example, constituted voluntary groups or Community Interest Companies

To make sure its grants have an impact, the Foundation will not fund larger organisations. If an organisation works in a relatively local area - a village, or estate or small town - to be eligible it will have an income of less than about £100,000.  At the other end of the spectrum, an organisation which works across the whole of the UK will be eligible if it has an income of not more than about £250,000.

Organisations whose work solely benefits people within Greater London cannot apply. However, if their work benefits people across a much wider area, then they may be considered.

Applications received from mid August 2021 until the beginning of December will be considered in the round leading up to the February 2022 meeting.

Applications to the Social Cohesion Programme are now paused until at least the summer of 2022 as the Trustees are concerned about the level of need across all of the Foundation’s main funding programmes.

For more information and to apply for funding see the Allen Lane foundation website.