Oct. 5, 2023

School Playground Funding in the UK: Top Providers & How to Apply

With budget cuts and limited funding, we know it can be challenging for schools to afford playground equipment. But our guide to playground funding for schools helps to break down the process and provides you with useful tips and information on how to secure financial support.

From working on many school playground projects across the UK over the last 20 years, we've seen and heard of many schools struggling to find the finance and resources needed to provide safe, engaging outdoor play areas for their students.

Luckily, there are a number of organisations, charities, and government initiatives that offer grants and funding programmes specifically for the development of school playgrounds.

This guide is designed to give you all the information you need about the funding options available to you, what factors you should consider before applying, and how to do it.

In this guide:

School Playground Funding Available in the UK
What Do You Need to Do Before Applying for School Playground Funding?
Applying for School Playground Funding
Getting Started on Your School Playground Project


School Playground Funding Available in the UK

There are lots of school funding programmes available across the UK that vary depending on the budget available, geographical location and specific criteria. However, they all share the same goal of supporting schools in providing beneficial and high-quality outdoor play areas for their students.

Funding ProviderWho They Are & What They DoHow Much Can Be Applied ForWhere in the UK is the Funding Available
Big Lottery Awards For All Part of the Big Lottery Fund grant scheme available for local communities £300 - £20,000 England
Scotland
Wales
Northern Ireland
Asda Foundation Supports schools, charities & community groups in local areas £5,000 - £10,000 England
Scotland
Wales
Northern Ireland
Tesco Stronger Starts Local community grant scheme funding thousands of local projects across the UK £1,000 - £4,000 England
Scotland
Wales
Northern Ireland
BBC Children In Need Leading independent funder for children across the UK £10,000+ (over 3 years) England
Scotland
Wales
Northern Ireland


Read more about these funding providers in our 2024 Guide to Playground Funding & Grants

 Playground Funding

Types of Playground Funding for Schools

When it comes to funding for playground equipment and development, there are typically three main types of funding options available:

  1. Government Grants – funded by government or government agencies and can be accessed through various programmes specific to schools, such as the Big Lottery Awards For All.
  2. Charitable Grants – provided by charities or non-profit organisations and often have specific requirements or criteria your school must meet to be eligible for funding. Some examples of charitable grants include the Asda Foundation and Tesco Bags Of Help.
  3. Fundraising & Community Support – this can include a range of activities, from hosting bake sales and fun runs to organising charity events and seeking donations from local businesses. This type of funding relies on the support and generosity of your school's community.

The amount of funding you can receive from these programmes can vary depending on the specific criteria and budget limitations, so it's important to delve into each option more thoroughly and see which is the best fit for your school.

What Do You Need to Do Before Applying for School Playground Funding?

Before you get started on filling out your playground funding application, you'll need to consider a few factors and put things in place.

Some of these are necessities for the application process, while others will help improve your chances of securing funding.

Step #1: Get Together a Project Team
Step #2: Make a List of Project Funding Opportunities
Step #3: Create a Detailed Plan and Budget

 

Step #1: Get Together a Project Team

You'll need to put together a dedicated team or group who will work on the playground process. For schools, this is likely to consist of school governors, council, staff and local community members.

The people in your project team will be responsible for helping to plan and oversee the funding application and the playground project itself. They'll need to set out their ideas and purpose for the playground to communicate this effectively in their application. Point them towards this guide to help them, and encourage them to reach out to our team if they need assistance.

Answer questions like:

  • What is the need for a playground at the school?
  • Who will use the playground?
  • What are the benefits of installing playground equipment?
  • Are there any land restrictions or safety considerations?
  • Do we need permission from any other authority to install playground equipment?

The more thoroughly thought out and detailed your answers are, the better.

 Types of Playground Funding

Step #2: Make a List of Project Funding Opportunities

Now that you have your team together, it's time to research and compile a list of playground funding opportunities available in your area.

You can use our table above as a starting point, but there may be more specific and localised options which could increase your chances of securing funding.

Don't apply for these schemes yet; just make a comprehensive list to refer to later on.

Step #3: Create a Detailed Plan and Budget

One of the most important elements when applying for playground funding is having a detailed plan and budget in place. The funding providers will want to know how much money you need and how it’ll be spent.

At this point, it'll be beneficial to work with a playground provider to identify how much a playground is likely to cost.

We offer site surveys and project quotes to schools to help them get an accurate idea of the costs involved. Your project team can then use this information to create a detailed and realistic budget.

Ask Us About a Site Survey for Your School Playground

Your plan will also need to include the answers to some of the questions we asked earlier, such as safety considerations and land restrictions.

 Types of Playground Funding Plan

Applying for School Playground Funding

Once you have a solid team, a detailed plan and an accurate budget, it's time to apply for your playground funding. Refer back to the list of funding opportunities you compiled earlier and decide which ones to apply for.

Some tips to keep in mind when filling out your application include:

  • Read the application instructions carefully - Make sure you understand the requirements and criteria before filling out the application. This will help you tailor your answers to meet the specific needs of each funding provider.
  • Be clear, concise and detailed - Provide as much information as possible in your answers to showcase why your school is deserving of the funding. Use data and statistics, if available, to support your claims.
  • Highlight the benefits - Emphasise the positive impact that the playground will have on your students and their learning experiences. This can include physical, mental, and social benefits.
  • Submit all required documents - Double-check to ensure you've included all necessary documents, such as detailed plans and budgets, in your application.
  • Be persistent - Don't give up if your first application is unsuccessful. Keep exploring other funding options and consider revising your application to strengthen it for future submissions.

Our Primary School Playground Guide: Equipment, Funding & More

 Types of Apply Playground Funding Plan

Getting Started on Your School Playground Project With Huck Play

When your funding has been approved, it's time to get started on your playground project! At this point, you'll need to work with a provider who can design, manufacture, and install your playground equipment.

The quote you received earlier in your planning process will come in handy now, as it can serve as a starting point for designing and choosing the right equipment for your playground.

At Huck Play, we have over 20 years of experience working with schools to create safe, engaging, and inclusive playgrounds – all within budget. As the UK's leading rope-based playground equipment supplier, we offer a range of innovative and durable playground equipment for schools of all sizes, from Early Years to Secondary.

Our team of experts can provide design consultations, site surveys and full project services to ensure your playground project is a success from start to finish.

Explore Our School Playground Equipment

Get in Touch Today!

Whether you're after a site survey and installation quote or you want to get started on your playground project, our friendly team is here to help.

We understand the importance of outdoor play in schools and are committed to helping you find the best funding options and equipment for your school playground.

Don't hesitate to contact us today and see how we can assist you with creating a safe and fun outdoor play area for your students.

Get Started On Your School Playground Project

FAQs

 

What Funding is Available for School Playgrounds?

Depending on your location and the size of the project, there are government grants and charitable grants available for school playgrounds in the UK. Some popular options include Big Lottery Awards For All, Asda Foundation, Tesco Bags Of Help, and Ernest Cook Trust.

How Do You Apply for School Playground Funding?

The exact application process for playground funding may vary depending on the specific programme or organisation you are applying to. However, it generally requires you to fill out the application either on the organisation's website or through a physical form, ensuring you enclose all necessary documents, and answer any questions clearly and accurately. You'll need to have a detailed plan and budget in place before applying.

How Much Funding Can I Get for a School Playground?

The amount of funding you can receive for your school playground project depends on the specific criteria and budget limitations of the programme or organisation you are applying to. For example, Big Lottery Awards For All offers grants up to £20,000, while the Asda Foundation offers between £5,000-£10,000.

How Can I Raise Money for a New Playground?

Applying for government or charitable grants, like the ones mentioned in this article, is one of the main ways to raise money for a new playground. However, if you're struggling to be approved for grants, it's possible to set up your own fundraisers at your school to help raise some extra funds for the children's playground. Bake sales, fates, sponsored runs, and bingo are all popular ways to fundraise for school projects.