DSE is delighted to announce our new Design for Communities Fund (DCF) which will invest from the charity’s annual reserves to support projects designed to strengthen a community’s design skills or that result in improvements to a community’s built environment in the South East and East of England, outside London. From Colchester to Chichester, Guildford to Gravesham, Reading to Rochester, Slough to Sevenoaks and Worthing to Walton, we want to help local people to deliver projects that support good design for the benefit of communities.

This is the first time our organisation is running the DCF scheme and to do this we are using Crowdfunder, a crowdfunding website dedicated to community projects and it is a great way for us to support projects developed by communities, for communities, alongside the work we do to support improvements in the built environment through our design reviews, training sessions and workshops.

The DCF supports our organisation’s charitable objectives and represents our commitment to investing our surplus revenue to directly benefit communities by:

  • enabling the delivery of high quality sustainable development of benefit to the public
  • increasing community capacity to plan/manage/change the built environment
  • developing community understanding/skills in design, architecture and the built environment

The scheme is very inclusive. Whether a project to introduce minority groups to architecture, a scheme to develop a community centre by revitalising an unused building or to partner with local schools and universities to enhance design awareness in the local area, we are interested in offering our support to the very best projects. We will select the winning projects according to a set of clear criteria and the projects will be run by local people in those communities. The projects must commit to raising 30% of the project value through crowd funding in order to secure our financial support, to a maximum of £10,000 per project.

If you’ve got an idea for a project in your local community, have worked with communities in the east, south east, or know someone that has, we’ll officially be launching the scheme very soon. We want to back local people’s ideas to make a real difference to their community or environment by making local projects happen. Please spread the word and check back to find out more about the criteria for eligibility for DCF support and how to apply.