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Changing Chalk - Community Grants Scheme

View looking over Lewes and the surrounding landscape
Lewes and Bordering Landscape, Sussex | © South Downs National Park/ Martin Offer

The Changing Chalk Community Grants Scheme supports grassroots community-led initiatives that will help to restore lost habitats, bring local histories to life, and provide new experiences in the outdoors. In partnership with The National Lottery Heritage Fund, the scheme aims to award a total of £150,000 to local initiatives during the lifetime of the Changing Chalk project.

The application window for grants for projects and activities within the Changing Chalk project area is currently closed, but expressions of interest for habitat projects between £5,000 and £10,000 are welcomed at any stage.

Sussex groups from Shoreham, Hove, Brighton and Lewes to Peacehaven, Newhaven, Seaford and Eastbourne can apply for grants to fund projects that will make a real difference to their local communities in our next round of funding in Autumn 2024.

There are grants of up to £5,000 available for community projects and up to £10,000 available for habitat-related projects focusing on restoring the fragile chalk grassland of the South Downs. We’re particularly looking for projects which help people to access, enjoy, learn about and look after the nature and cultural heritage of the eastern South Downs. Please see the guidance documents via the links below for details of the scheme, project area and eligibility criteria. Please note these were updated in March 2024.

Wild meadow flowers with orchids growing on South Downs, Sussex
A wildflower meadow with pyramidal orchids on the South Downs | © South Downs National Park/ Charlie Hellewell

Who can apply

The following groups are eligible to apply:

  • Local community or voluntary groups and organisations

  • Registered charities and other non-profit making organisations eg. social enterprises/CIC

  • Schools, town councils and parish councils - if the project demonstrates wider community involvement and benefit

  • Private individual landowners - for eligible habitat projects only

Further information on what can and can’t be applied for, eligibility and assessment criteria can be found in the How to Apply section.

The deadline for the Spring 2024 round of funding was 11.59pm Tuesday 7 May 2024. Applicants will be informed of the outcome in July 2024.

Additional funding rounds are planned for Autumn 2024, please see our social media channels and check this website for updates.

Group of volunteers surveying archaeological features on the South Downs
Surveying archaeological features on the South Downs | © National Trust/ Josie Jeffery

Before you apply

Using the links below please read the guidance documents and full eligibility criteria before you apply.

Please note that:

  • Grants will be paid in two stages, with an upfront payment (50% of the grant award) at the project start and the remainder paid in arrears, following receipt of a satisfactory End of Project Report and evidence of expenditure.

  • Applicants must provide a copy of their Constitution/Terms of Reference or similar with their application which details the purpose and governance of the group or organisation.   

  • Applicants must have a UK registered bank account for the grant award to be paid into (or provide evidence they can utilise the bank account of an organisation they are affiliated to).

  • Grant recipients will be required to comply with the guidance as set out by the National Trust and The National Lottery Heritage Fund in the Grant Agreement, including acknowledging the funding in any publicity.

  • Please ensure you have read the Applicant Guidance Notes and Frequently Asked Questions document before you complete the Application Form.

  • Applications for grants up to £10,000 for habitat-related projects on priority chalk grassland require an Expression of Interest form to be submitted first. See the Applicant Guidance Notes below for further information.

If you still have questions after reading all the documents below, or if you require them in an alternative format (this may take additional time), please contact us at

How to apply

If you are interested in applying for a grant, please read the current Guidance documents below to check you are eligible.


Community Grants Scheme Frequently Asked Questions (SAMPLE) 

Supporting information to help answer any questions you may have about the scheme and application process


Community Grants Scheme application form (SAMPLE) 

To apply for the Community Grants Scheme please download and complete this form