Application process

Applications to Round 5 of this programme are now closed.

The application process will consist of three stages:

Eligibility Quiz

Applicants will need to meet the following basic eligibility criteria in order to apply to the fund:

  • Committed to solving social problems.
  • Serves beneficiaries of Greater London.
  • Has an eligible organisational structure: Registered charity; Registered Community Interest Company; Registered Charitable Incorporated Organisation; Registered Charitable Company; Exempt or excepted charity; or Registered charitable industrial and provident society or charitable Bencom.
  • Operational for at least one year; able to produce at least one year’s audited or independently examined annual accounts.
  • Has funding in place for one year of operation.
  • Has at least one full-time or two part-time staff members.
  • Is seeking to develop a revenue generating activity with view of taking on social investment in the future.

Applicants will:

  • Complete an online eligibility quiz here.
  • Answering ‘no’ to any of the eligibility questions means that the applicant should not continue to Stage 1.
  • Once you have successfully completed the quiz, you will be taken through to the full Stage 1 Application Form.

Stage 1: Application form

Stage 1 asks for an introduction to your organisation and why you would like Stepping Stones funding. The Trust will use this information to shortlist the strongest proposals ahead of Stage 2.

  • Applicants will be asked to select which strand of Stepping Stones Fund they wish to apply for.
  • Applicants will be asked to prepare a three page outline proposal. Accounts, pro-forma budget projection and the organisation’s constitution will also be requested. If audited or independently examined accounts are not supplied by the end of Stage 1, the applicant will be disqualified from the process.
  • Stage 1 application forms should be submitted no later than 12 noon on 11th May 2018. The Trust will not consider any applications received after the stated deadline.

Applicants will be able to download our application guidelines, see below. A dedicated email address and phone line will be established to deal with enquiries during the application period and this will be answered by City Bridge Trust staff.

Download our Stepping Stones Fund application guidelines

Applicants may also refer to our frequently asked questions.

Stage 2: Detailed proposal and personal interview

The Trust will identify the most suitable applications at the end of Stage 1. Organisations will then be invited to prepare a Stage 2 application. The purpose of this is to identify 10-15 organisations which could achieve significant impact with Stepping Stones funding.

  • Shortlisted candidates will be asked to submit additional documents for this stage: a detailed business plan including financial projections, strategic plan and any other related documents they deem important. Business plans and financial projections are especially important for applicants under strand 2. Those candidates that do not submit financial forecasts will not be considered.
  • Applicants will be invited to a meeting in Central London in Jul 2018 to present and discuss their proposal with the Selection Panel consisting of City Bridge Trust and UBS professionals.
  • The panel will be looking for:
    • Well thought out proposals that are a good strategic fit with the organisation’s work;
    • Fit with the objectives of the Stepping Stones Fund;
    • Leadership and vision.

To help applicants prepare for interview, City Bridge Trust will offer surgery sessions to shortlisted organisations with the participation of UBS volunteers.

Feedback to applicants

Applicants will be notified in writing whether they have been shortlisted to move on to Stage 2. Applicants that do not make it to the shortlist will be rejected at this stage. Telephone feedback will be available for unsuccessful applicants on request.

Organisation will be given approximately 4 weeks to prepare and submit the additional information. The Selection Panel will be reviewing the additional material before the personal meetings. Applicants will be informed about the final decisions in writing and can receive telephone feedback if unsuccessful.


Use of External advisors for selection process

The City Bridge Trust will create a Selection Panel involving external expertise to make final recommendations to the CBT Grant Committee on the allocation of its funds.  The Panel will represent experts in the field of investment readiness, social finance and impact analysis and UBS volunteers. The Panel will take part in reviewing information submitted by shortlisted candidates as well as in the personal interviews.

Information Sessions

City Bridge Trust will hold open information sessions during the application period, so that interested organisations can ask their questions and share their concerns in person. Details will be announced shortly.

To register your interest in taking part in a session, please e-mail

You can view the presentation from a previous session during the last round here, along with a presentation from Social and Sustainable Capital on social investor perspectives here.


Grantees’ use of support organisations

Applicants may seek support from intermediaries, advisors, consultants to help them deliver their goals. In this case, City Bridge Trust will ask the applicant to justify the use of a particular organisation in their application. The Trust will not produce a shortlist of approved providers from which to draw on, but is happy to provide a non-exhaustive contact list for applicants to approach. Relevant links are available in the Frequently Asked Questions section of the Stepping Stones Fund webpages. The Trust will reserve the right to deem a support organisation not appropriate to provide the support requested and to make alternative suggestions should this be necessary or appropriate.

City Bridge Trust grants will be made payable to the social sector organisation, never to the agreed support provider. Invoices to this effect will be needed as proof of purchase on completion of the project.

Intellectual property rights

City Bridge Trust may support the development of products or services which will have a claim to Intellectual Property Rights (IPR). It is the obligation of the grantee to register this IP in accordance with standard commercial procedures. City Bridge Trust will not expect to make any claim on this IP. However, it will seek to share the learning acquired from its support with the widest audience possible, whilst ensuring this does not compromise commercial confidentiality or competitive advantage of the grantee.