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Together we can do more for the causes you care about

Would you love to help a local project that matters to you? The Aviva Community Fund is back, offering support and funding to causes that make a real difference where you live. Put forward an idea that will benefit your community and it could get funding of up to £25,000.

How the competition works

Whether you’re looking to solve a problem, speed up an ongoing project or help in some other way, this is your chance to make a real difference to your local community. And it all starts with your great idea.

Put your thinking cap on

What projects does your organisation need financial support for that will make a positive impact in your community?

Submit your project

Fill in our short entry form. There are six categories you can enter into, and four levels of funding to choose from.

Rally the voters

Promote your project to as many friends, family members and neighbours as possible to get their votes.

Fingers crossed…

The projects with the most votes will become finalists and judged before the winners are announced.

Martin Parr digital exhibition

To mark the launch of the 2016 Aviva Community Fund, we have collaborated with one of the world’s most celebrated photographers, Martin Parr, to unveil a new collection of digital images that offer Parr’s own unique perspective on British community life in 2016.

From urban Camden to a rural village in South Wales the images provide a chronicle of the modern day community across the UK. In Parr’s distinct style, they bring to life the inspiring work done by local groups that embody community spirit and were all awarded funding last year.

Introducing the ACF team

Renowned for telling stories and sharing stories, the ACF team is a panel of experts that we have brought together to provide you with all the information you need to create a great project submission.

Starting with Martin Parr – celebrated photographer, Heidi Greensmith – master film story teller, director and writer and Nina Ahmad – journalist and wordsmith who will be sharing their top tips on how to create a compelling entry.

  • Martin Parr
  • Heidi Greensmith
  • Nina Ahmad

Look out for more ACF team members coming soon, to help you with promoting your projects once voting is live.

Watch the videos from Martin, Heidi and Nina on how to bring your project to life

Martin - The power of a picture - how to capture your story in a photograph

Video transcript

Telling your story through photography: advice from Martin Parr

How to bring the story of your organisation to life through the lens of a camera or smartphone.

Identify key moments that convey the personality of your community

Martin Parr: If you go out and try and photograph yourself you have to go in close, often people go too far away, and you have to identify if you like where the energy source is, and then sort of concentrate on that.

This is in Sheffield, this is the Loxley Silver Band, and I went to one of their rehearsals, and this guy was doing a trumpet solo, and you can see the absolute concentration and the puff that you have to put in. So I’ve focused on the fingers here, and the rest of his face, it’s all there, the detail, but it’s slightly out of focus. So you really get a sense of that real hard work that has to go into playing a brass band instrument.

Make sure you tell a story through the photos you take

Martin Parr: I think the better pictures tell a story within the single frame. You get a sense of what’s going on, there will be a contradiction there, there will be a point that’s being made through the photograph, and you can build up these little sections if you like of the narrative, and at the end you have 10, 20 pictures that really do give a sort of image of what this place was like, and the sense of feeling and the excitement of being at that particular event.

So this is Organised Kaos. They use a lot of things like trapezes, so that means that during sort of free time they’re often hanging upside down. So I was able to actually get these two kids who had a great relationship with each other, and someone the right way up, so it just makes it look surreal. So you’re looking all the time for little moments like this where you’ve got a little surprise in the photo but it also tells you a story at the same time.

Take lots of photos

Martin Parr: I think my advice is, take many more pictures, accept that you have to take a lot of bad pictures because if you just wait for the great moments then you sort of lose momentum.

To view Martin’s images and to support a project in your local community, visit aviva.co.uk/community-fund

Heidi - Small screen stories - how to create community videos on your mobile phone

Video transcript

Telling your story through film

Hello, I’m Heidi Greensmith. I’m a writer and director. I make documentaries, music videos, commercials and I’ve just made my first feature film. I’m here today as part of the Aviva Community Fund Team to share with you my top tips on how you can bring your entry to life by using your smartphone to make a short film.

Making a short film is easy. Here are a few points to help you along the way:

  1. Think carefully about what you choose to shoot. Make sure you’re telling the viewer something interesting and if you’re asking a subject questions, encourage them not to answer with a ‘yes’ or ‘no’.
  2. Smartphones have brilliant recording capabilities for your sound these days, but you do need to make sure that the room that you’re filming in is quite quiet. If you’re outside make sure that it’s not windy.
  3. Don’t think that you have to spend ages editing your film, a series of clips is just as effective at telling your story as a short film.

So that’s it from me. Have fun, good luck and I’ll be looking out for your films.

Nina - Make every word count - how to write the perfect entry

Video transcript

Hello I’m Nina Ahmad and I’m a freelance writer, and I’ve worked as an editor and a journalist across a range of national magazines and newspapers for the past two decades.

I’m working with the Aviva Community Fund to share some tips on how to write a compelling entry. I hope this advice will enable you to share your story and get across the passion and enthusiasm you feel for your charity or community project, while not forgetting the fundamental point of why you need this funding and how it will benefit your cause.

Here’s my advice on how to write an entry that will hopefully make you stand out:

  1. Make a start on your entry by determining your focus. To do this, ask yourself three questions: Why does your project need funding? Why does it specifically need funding now? And why does it need this level of support? Structure your answer around these questions and that way you’ll give as much information to the reader as possible to enable them to make an informed decision about who to vote for.
  2. As well as the facts, you’ll want to get across the energy, passion and enthusiasm you feel about your community project or charity. You can do this by using personal stories and anecdotes. Include the story behind your charity and stories of people that it has helped. This is your chance to really paint a picture for the reader so that they can empathise with you and really understand what this project means to you and the benefits that funding will give.
  3. Try to convey the facts clearly and accurately. Avoid using long paragraphs that are loaded with information. Try to be as concise as possible. Using short sentences will help you with this. The more you condense your information, the easier it is for a reader to take in all the information.
  4. Trust your instincts and be bold about asking for funding. Share the impact of the results. The more the reader can see tangible results, the more it will help you garner support.
  5. Finally, make the most of this experience. Writing a clear and focused entry will always help. Whatever the outcome, you can always use it for future PR and to help recruit members and volunteers.

I hope these tips have helped because funding opportunities are really important. Good luck with your entry and I look forward to reading lots of them in the coming weeks.

Need more inspiration to get involved?

Cramlington Rockets

Video transcript

Celebrated photographer Martin Parr visited local group Cramlington Rockets to showcase the inspiring work of community group organisations.

Steve Beaty – Community Manager: It started off as a bit of a youth group really that just played rugby, but the idea was to engage children, to get them off the streets and onto something constructive.

You roll the clock forward 15 years later, we’re now the biggest rugby league club in the North East, we’ve got over 200 children, we’ve got over 40 volunteers at the club and we’ve got a community department which is one of five in the country.

It’s family values at the heart of it. It doesn’t matter if you’re the best player or the worst player. Everybody’s valued, everybody’s respected. The great thing about The Rockets is we literally prepare everybody we come across for stuff that’s outside of rugby.

We’re a rugby club, but that’s only a very small part of what we do.

Harry – Cramlington Rockets: We’re just a big family, because no one puts anybody down, and I’m just proud of my team.

Steve Beaty – Community Manager: I think people don’t underestimate the positive impact sport can have on children. If it wasn’t for sport, now, I don’t know what I’d be doing.

With this Aviva funding, it has literally enabled us to go and engage everybody we can.

When we see 432 kids today rock up, we know that Aviva have played a big part in that.

To view Martin’s images and to support a project in your local community, visit aviva.co.uk/community-fund

Not Forgotten Association

Video transcript

Celebrated photographer Martin Parr visited local group Not Forgotten Association to showcase the inspiring work of community organisations. This is their story.

Rosie Thompson – Head of Events: The Not Forgotten Association was formed in 1920, and it’s been going 96 years. We’re one of the oldest military charities in the UK. We entertain 12,000 veterans a year.

Phil Jenkins – Communications Manager: For the veterans that come to NFA events, it gives them a day out or an afternoon out. It gives them the chance to meet fellow veterans, to renew old acquaintances, meet others from different associations and different services. Basically, it gives them a good time.

Rosie Thompson – Head of Events: Aviva’s funding was very specific to Colchester. There’s lots of veterans in the Colchester area, so this afternoon is very much about looking after and giving the Second World War veterans and those older veterans something to look forward to. You know so many of these old boys and girls actually don’t get out, so to come out, to be with people, have a lovely afternoon and a lovely do, it’s a real treat for them.

The difference in their faces when they first come to something, and when they leave – that’s what it’s all about.

To view Martin’s images and to support a project in your local community, visit aviva.co.uk/community-fund

Organised Kaos

Video transcript

Celebrated photographer Martin Parr visited local group Organised Kaos to showcase the inspiring work of community group organisations.

This is their story.

Nicola Hemsley – Founder & Managing Director: In rural Wales, it’s very difficult for young people to actually achieve and to move forward with their lives because of the lack of opportunities.

We started as a Friday night circus school, and I started the organisation in response to the need of the young people in the community because young people were getting into trouble with the police. They had a fascination with fire, so I kind of figured that if young people wanted to play with fire, I would teach them to play with fire, and that was the start of Organised Kaos.

Kaos is an acronym. It stands for keeping adolescence off the street. Before we were awarded the grant, in the aerial classes we’d have two pieces of equipment, and since we’ve had the Aviva award we have ten pieces of equipment up.

Participant: I’ve seen this place go from a crumbling church and chapel into this amazing circus space where you can do whatever you want. You can perform, you can act silly. It’s a place for fun and it’s a place for entertainment. You don’t need judgement here. You are just you, you can be yourself.

To view Martin’s images and to support a project in your local community, visit aviva.co.uk/community-fund

Martin Parr Montage

Video transcript

Martin Parr: Hello, I’m Martin Parr I’m a photographer, and for the last few weeks I’ve been travelling around the UK photographing different community groups. The response has been very positive, it’s a great opportunity for them to share what they’re achieving with their local community to a wider audience. My job when I go to these events is to try and capture what’s going on and you just try to really get a sense of the atmosphere and the excitement that you feel with these different groups.

Steve Beaty – Community Manager – Cramlington Rockets: It started off as a bit of a youth group really that just played rugby. But the idea was to engage children, to get them off the streets and on to something constructive.

Harry – Cramlington Rockets: I’ve made so many more friends just from rugby, it’s made a big impact on my life.

Martin Parr: All of these hundreds of kids suddenly poured on to the school and it was absolute anarchy, and what I also liked was the fact that it was quite muddy, we had to buy a pair of wellies to actually go on to the ground, and mud actually helps good photographs.

Nicola Hemsley – Founder & Managing Director – Organised Kaos: I started the organisation in response to the need of the young people in the community because young people were getting into trouble with the police. They had a fascination with fire, so I figured that if young people wanted to play with fire – I would teach them to play with fire.

Martin Parr: What you can really see in this area in South Wales, is there’s not so much going on, especially for the young kids – the affection and regard they have for the Organised Kaos workshops is quite fantastic. You can just sense it as you went in there that they just loved being there, they put themselves into it 100 per cent, and they really let off steam.

Justin Owen – Trainer, Organised Kaos: If I could go back and see myself when I first started juggling and have a conversation, I’d just turn around and say ‘get ready mate, this is going to change your life.’

Martin Parr: We’ve seen an amazing variety, from Wales to Northumbria to London, and now today in Colchester.

Rosie Thompson – Head of Events, Not Forgotten Association: The Not Forgotten Association was formed in 1920, and it’s been going 96 years. We entertain 12,000 veterans a year.

Martin Parr: Towards the end of the concert the invited everybody to start singing and get their flags out – they were waving away. And that if you like was really the crescendo and sort of the climax of this event. It really does sort of capture the sort of the fantastic atmosphere that you could find that afternoon

Rosie Thompson – Head of Events: The difference in their faces when they first come to something and when they leave, that’s what it’s all about.

Martin Parr: Well when you go to these groups, of course, none of them would know who you are because you are a well known photographer, so they say, so most of these people they’re there for the community association. I just like the atmosphere.

To view Martin’s images and to support a project in your local community, visit aviva.co.uk/community-fund

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