Apply for a grant

Apply for a grant

For more information and to discuss options please contact:
01730 819223

The Volunteer Conservation Fund

Applications by 31 March 2022

This fund is managed by the South Downs National Park Trust in partnership with the Volunteer Ranger Service.

The Volunteer Conservation Fund will allocate approximately £5,000 annually to projects that enhance the National Park in a way that aligns with the Partnership Management Plan.

The average grant per project in previous years has been £2,000.

We aim to increase and diversify volunteering opportunities that support the National Park, and therefore welcome organisations that ensure their activities are inclusive of under-represented groups.

The application form, monitoring form and guidance document can be downloaded at the bottom of this page.

It’s recommended that you email the Grants Officer and copy in your local Ranger team before applying.

Please call the Grants Officer if you would like to discuss an application.

The following organisations are eligible to apply:

  • Not for profit organisations
  • Voluntary/community groups
  • Community interest companies
  • Registered charities
  • Parish Councils
  • Landowners (or those responsible for managing land on behalf of others) who need support to enhance environmentally sensitive areas for the benefit of the wider public.

In order to be eligible projects must:

  • Align with the outcomes in the South Downs National Park Management Plan The Plan
  • Be not-for-profit (commercial landowners may apply providing the project aims to enhance environmentally sensitive areas for the benefit of the wider public)
  • Take place within the South Downs National Park
  • Not have started. We cannot fund items retrospectively.
  • Explain how the activities proposed will be inclusive of under-represented groups and/or how your organisation is encouraging a diverse and inclusive volunteer workforce. More information can be found here.
  • Be sustainable and show how the outcomes achieved will be maintained in future.

The Volunteer Ranger Service

The fund was initially set up using funds belonging to the Volunteer Ranger Service (VRS) Committee. The Committee help to make decisions on applications. The VRS volunteers are a group of approximately 300 people who provide practical/physical support for a range of environmental, leisure and heritage projects across the Park and are led by professional staff from the South Downs National Park Authority (SDNPA). The SDNPA area teams may be able to loan equipment, offer training or provide additional volunteer support if this is necessary to carry out your project successfully. Please contact our Volunteer Development Officer, Daniel Greenwood on 01730 819263 before making an application if you think you will need extra input from the SDNPA. There is then an opportunity to tell us on the application form if you think SDNPA volunteers could help to expand your project further, although this is not a requirement.

For details of the types of work that can be funded, match funding requirements and payment terms, please see the guidance note at the bottom of this page.


The Volunteer Conservation Fund is managed on an annual cycle. At the beginning of the year (January to March) the fund will be promoted to those who are interested to apply with all applications to be submitted by 31st March.

South Downs volunteer rangers

The deadline for the current grant round is the 31st March 2022 with grant decisions being made in May – June. The process follows this cycle: