The assessment process

There are three main stages in our Small Grants assessment process

These include:

You can find out more about each of these stages using the list below.


The first stage of our assessment focuses on eligibility and the earlier guidance on this website will help you understand if your project is a good fit for Small Grants in three broad areas:

  • If your organisation is eligibile to apply
  • If the aim of your project fits with our aim of creating a sporting habit for life in young people and adults over the age of 14.
  • If your costs are eligible and you aren’t asking for a grant for costs we cannot support.

We are unlikely to support a project that doesn’t meet all three of these criteria so it is important to check this before spending time on an application. If you need some advice the Small Grants pre-application checklist is a good tool to use and you can always call our funding helpline on 08458 508 508.

Supporting documentation

We will begin our assessment when we have received all of your essential documents and made sure that they all show the correct name of your organisation.

Where appropriate, please also submit:

  • Evidence of affiliation to your sport’s national governing body
  • A detailed breakdown of your budget
  • Copies of quotes from suppliers (required for items over £5k)
  • A project delivery plan
  • Confirmation of partnership funding.

We will make a judgement on your application based on what you tell us so you should show that your project is well planned, provides strong sporting outcomes and shows evidence of need.

Application form

Once we have established your application is eligible and we have all the essential documents we assess its strengths in four key areas. You will have the opportunity to explain how your project meets each of these criteria on your application form.

Why is your project needed?

This is your opportunity to tell us why your project needs to happen.

While it may be simple to answer this question, a strong application will tell us how you know this. Key things that can support your answer to this question include:

  • Any research that supports the need for your project and sets the wider context. (e.g. local authority, social, health and sports participation statistics)
  • Evidence of demand from participants for your project to happen. This can include survey’s, waiting lists, letters of support or any other evidence you can provide that shows your project is driven by local demand. 
  • Evidence of support for your project from your national governing body (NGB), county sports partnership (CSP) or local authority. Anything that indicates your project will contribute to the wider picture in your sport and local area.

What difference will your project make?

Here we are asking about the sporting opportunities your project will provide and the impact it will have on Sport England’s strategy.

You should ensure that your answer to this question fully explains what you want your project to achieve. Small Grants wants to support projects that will get more people playing sport.

Strong applications will be very clear about what will be acheived and the difference that our funding will make to the number of people playing sport.

How will you make your project happen?

Here we are asking for more information about how you have planned your activity to be successful. 

The level of detail you need to provide will vary depending on the complexity of the activity you are planning. We want to gain a full picture of what will happen and have assurance that everything has been planned thoroughly. Examples of things to consider include, who will take part? When and where will sessions take place? How long will sessions last? Who will run the project?

If you’d like to provide a detailed plan you can attach one to your application. We have published a project planning template that is available for you to use.

What will happen after this project ends?

Here we want you to describe how your project will encourage participants to continue in sport after our funding ends.

Small Grants wants to support projects that will have a lasting impact on sports participation so this is your opportunity to explain how you will do this. This does not necessarily mean we expect you to financially maintain the project. Strong projects can also establish opportunities for long-term participation through partnerships with other local sports providers or by offering lasting skills and experience for people to take away.

However your project will tackle this challenge, this section is your opportunity to describe your approach.