Accessibility statement

University Community Fund

We can offer funding of up to £500 or £5,000 to students or staff with the creativity, commitment and enthusiasm to make an impact in the local community beyond the University community by developing their own volunteering project.


University Community Fund applications

If you have an idea to help a community need in York, then we can help you make it happen. 

Whether you are a student or staff member you can apply to the University Community Fund to kickstart your initiative. To apply for funding, see below:

Option 1- £500 to give it a go!

Apply for up to £500 to give your idea for a community project or social enterprise a go. We particularly encourage colleges, societies and departments to apply. 

Option 2- up to £5,000 for a sustainable project

You can apply for £5,000 in funding for a sustainable community project led by student or staff volunteers.

Option 1 - £500

£500 to Give it a Go!

The University Community Fund, is supported by The Shepherd Group. The aim of the fund is to encourage innovation and support volunteers/social entrepreneurs from the University to work with the community to address a community need. It is hoped that with some modest funding, you can research and/or road-test your ideas for future development.

A project needs to meet the following criteria and must:
  • be innovative, either a project start-up or a new activity for an existing scheme
  • have a clear local community impact which reaches beyond the University community
  • involve student or staff volunteers
  • be sustainable beyond the period of funding
  • be led by students or staff at the University of York
  • be not-for-profit whether that be a volunteering project or a social enterprise

Apply online

Applications will be reviewed and you will be contacted within three weeks of submitting your application. If you would like to discuss your application in advance, please contact

Option 2 - £5,000

Extend your project - up to £5,000

Staff and students at the University are invited to bid for funding from the University Community Fund to develop new, and extend existing community projects. Up to £5,000 will normally be made available for small-scale projects, for which applications are assessed by the Volunteering and Community Committee Executive Group.

Project criteria

Applications to the fund must demonstrate how a project will:

Be sustainable - The Committee is not able to support projects which require recurrent funding. Applicants will need to show how the project will be sustained beyond the funding period.

Involve volunteers - Applicants are asked to consider the training needs of volunteers, as well as appropriate forms of recognition for volunteers participating in their projects. Applicants are expected to utilise existing training and support offered through the University and the Students’ Union.

Involve a community organisation - It is expected that applications will be made in partnership with a community organisation, or in cases where this is not suitable, evidence of consultation with community organisations must be provided. The project must reach out to make an impact beyond the University community rather than being student to student.

Benefit the Community and the University - Applicants must demonstrate that their project fulfils a community need which is not satisfied by existing activities, citing appropriate evidence wherever possible. They should indicate how their projects will serve to improve community access to institutional expertise, skills, learning and other resources, and how projects might benefit the University in terms of widening participation and the two-way transfer of knowledge and skills.

Please read the guidance to applicants and it is recommended that all applicants seek advice from from before completing the application form. 

University Community Fund Application Guidance (PDF , 465kb)

Apply online  (University of York login required)

For further funding streams visit the 'Funding Sources' tab on the Volunteering homepage.

Other sources of funding

Other sources of funding


There are a range of funding opportunities and competitions run annually by Enterprise, based in Careers. If you have an idea for a business, freelancing or social enterprise this is the place to look for support, funding and advice. 


GSA Postgraduate Community Fund

To stimulate a vibrant and engaging postgraduate community at the University of York, the Graduate Students’ Association (GSA) has set up a fund to which any student or staff member can apply. The main objective of the fund is simply to make postgraduate community better and to support new and innovative ideas and projects.

Postgraduate Community Fund


This is the University’s crowdfunding platform. You can fund your projects, your interests, your ambitions be it events, sports, tech, science, community, theatre, art, fashion and more. Funding has even helped send Astroduck to space!

To get started visit YuStart


Formerly the York Annual Fund, YuFund gives grants and funding opportunities to departments, colleges, and student clubs and societies. Applications should support innovative projects that improve opportunities for students and help the University to contribute to the life of the wider community.

The money is donated by alumni and friends of the University who are keen to invest in enhancing opportunities and supporting current students and is distributed twice a year in November and April.


Past projects

Past projects

Here are a few examples of previous projects we have funded:

2023 Pantry Parcels

Student group 'Pantry Parcels' (part of Enactus York), working in partnership with Your Cafe at Tang Hall Community Centre, run a social impact project in which student volunteers make meal kits from recycled food for those who need them  

The Community Fund enabled the project to look at ways for the initiative to financially sustain itself. The funds helped to publish a recipe book for sale to students, generating income for the project   Funds were also used to buy slow cookers as the basis for workshops to help build more food security. 

From the start of the project 5000 evening meal kits were created, saving over 2000 kg of CO2 emissions. Feedback from the slow cooking sessions showed improvements in quality of life; helping those struggling with the rise in the cost of living by providing access to nutritious healthy food. One beneficiary remarked “What you have done for the community is amazing. I see that it is going to help a lot of families. This was a brilliant brilliant idea, thank you."

2020 Tree Planting for One Planet Week

University staff, students and local primary school children teamed up to plant 1,000 trees around York! Groups planted trees on campus, at a local primary school and the St Nicks nature reserve. The initiative was to raise awareness for sustainability in York and to help the city reduce it's carbon footprint. 

2014 Tour de France Festival Funding Projects

Cycle the Solar System, Department of Physics

Two days of cycling and science, led by students from the Department of Physics, the Solar System Cycle Ride will engage school students and the general public with both cycling and Physics. This route is a scale model of the solar system spread over a 10km section of cycle path. 

Best of York from a bike, Inkwell

Inkwell are delivering creative writing workshops with four primary schools across the city, to gather children’s words and stories of York from a bike. Keep a look out for these words, poems and stories appearing in the city…

The Incredible Edible Bike Rides, Edible Uni

A series of bike rides between the edible beds in York and walk across York that will present and give a taste of the ongoing projects of Edible Uni, Edible York St John, Edible York and The Incredible Movement in York.

Tour de York, (URY)

Publicising and promoting the Cultural Festival through radio workshops with local children; covering cultural, arts and sports events. 

Artistic Autistic, Department of Psychology

Part of the start up social enterprise, Artistic Autistic, this project will exhibit the work of local, autistic artist Peter Myers and local school children who have been inspired by his work. 

Up to £5,000

Minds in Motion

Minds in Motion (MIM) is a community group set up to help support people with dementia and their carers. The project was set up by students from the Hull York Medical School (HYMS) with support from the fund and is now co-ordinated through YUSU.

York Carnival

York carnival is one of York’s largest annual family events. It is a student run project which originated with the aim of bridging gaps between students and the local York community. The carnival includes a range of performances and workshops, with vibrant performances form samba drummers as well as dance crews alongside live music and a parade.