If you have an idea to help a community need in York, then we can help you make it happen. Students and staff members can apply to the University Community Fund to kick start an initiative or extend existing community-focused projects.

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

The University Community Fund, supported by Portakabin, aims 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 funding, you can research or road-test your ideas for future development and make a positive impact on the community.


  • Be a change-maker with your project ideas
  • Get support for your initiative
  • Enhance your project's community impact

Do you have a fantastic idea for a community initiative, but just need the financial support to make it happen? This funding can help you kickstart your project. To be eligible, the 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 for up to £500 funding

Is your initiative already set up but you are looking for extra support to make it even bigger and better? Up to £5,000 will normally be made available for small-scale projects; applications are assessed by the Volunteering and Community Committee Executive Group.

Applications must demonstrate how a project will:

  • Be sustainable - the Committee is not able to support projects which require recurrent funding. Applicants must show how the project will be sustained beyond the funding period.
  • Involve volunteers - applications should 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 - applications must 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 University Community Fund Application Guidance (PDF , 465kb): we recommend that all applicants seek advice from volunteering@york.ac.uk before submitting their application.

Apply for up to £5,000


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. 


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!


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.

Community Fund case studies

Before applying: 

We recommend you explore your idea with a member of the Community Engaged Learning Team before making an application to the Community Fund.

Just drop us an email at volunteering@york.ac.uk to discuss your project.