What we do

The Swire Charitable Trust makes grants to charities supporting some of the UK’s most vulnerable people to overcome barriers and realise their potential, and to charities who are protecting our precious environment and heritage.

We welcome funding applications from charities whose work is closely aligned with the funding priorities of our core programmes (as below) and those who are well positioned to meet current challenges.

We run a rolling programme with regular grantmaking meetings, so there are no deadlines. Once you have submitted your application it will be assigned to the next available meeting. You can expect to receive an outcome within 2-3 months of submission.



Improving life chances, realising potential

We support charities that are directly addressing the challenges faced by the most marginalised and disadvantaged, supporting them to make the most of their talents and boost long-term outcomes. Specifically:

  • Ex-service men and women
  • Survivors of slavery and trafficking
  • Children and young people:
    • In the care of their local authority
    • Involved with the criminal justice system
    • From the most socio-economically disadvantaged backgrounds


Connecting people to the environment

We fund charities that inspire and motivate individuals and communities to enhance our natural and built environment and help guide those who wish to live more sustainably.

Supporting the UK’s biodiversity

We support activities that actively improve the health and resilience of the UK’s ecosystems, marine and land-based habitats and native species.



Regeneration through restoration

We are keen to fund projects that have legitimacy from a heritage perspective as well as the potential to deliver meaningful social and economic benefits to deprived communities or disadvantaged people.

We favour grass-roots organisations that strongly engage with their local communities.

Safeguarding endangered skills

We also fund charities that are working hard to protect and cultivate the skills and knowledge underpinning the UK’s heritage sector.

About our grants

Across our programmes, we take a consistent approach to how we make and structure our grants.

Who do we support?

Our core programmes only fund:

  • Work carried out by charities that are registered with:
    • the Charity Commission for England & Wales
    • the Office of the Scottish Charity Register, or
    • the Charity Commission for Northern Ireland
  • Work that takes place in the UK

Across all our  programmes we aim to prioritise charities that:

  • Operate in some of the most disadvantaged parts of the UK
  • Try to engage the most marginalised and vulnerable in their work
  • Can clearly demonstrate the needs they are addressing
  • Know what they are aiming to achieve and plan to monitor and evaluate outcomes
  • Are well placed and qualified to deliver the work
  • Can show a proven track record as well as solid ambitions
  • Have the potential to change the way issues are tackled more widely
  • Take an effective approach to using volunteers and mentors (where appropriate)
  • Are seeking to make their income streams more sustainable
  • Have strong and quality leadership
  • Manage their finances prudently

What can’t we fund?

Please note that our core funding programmes are unable to consider:

  • Applications received by post or email, i.e. not via our online funding request form
  • Organisations that are not UK registered charities
  • Activities taking place outside England, Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland
  • Individual applicants or proposals that will benefit only one person
  • Requests from charities that have applied to us in the last 12 months
  • Work that has already taken place
  • Work targeted towards people who are primarily disadvantaged due to the following:
    • physical health issues, disabilities or sensory impairments
    • learning disabilities or special educational needs
  • Statutory bodies or work that is primarily the responsibility of statutory authorities (e.g. residential, respite and day care and housing)
  • Activities of local organisations which are part of a wider network doing similar work (e.g. uniformed youth groups, YMCA, MIND, Mencap, Home-start, RDA, Relate, Citizens Advice Bureau, Age UK etc)
  • Scholarships or bursaries

The Trust’s discretionary fund is not subject to all of these funding exclusions.

Our funding

Types of funding

Grants from our core programmes will aim to meet the needs identified in your application. We fund individual projects that are aligned with our funding priorities, though we also recognise that charities are often best placed to allocate resources within their organisations. We therefore award many grants on an unrestricted basis and are willing to support core costs, capital expenditure and salaries.

There is no maximum or minimum grant size and, although we base our grants on the amount requested and the size of organisation, we may award more or less than you applied for.

We appreciate that charities welcome security of funding, so, where a longer-term commitment can be clearly justified, we will consider multi-year grants of up to three years.

Our small team processes a large number of requests and grants each year. With such limited resources, we are unable to consider more complex funding arrangements, like loans, or offer other types of support such as advice, feedback or networking opportunities.

Standard conditions of funding

We aim to provide funding with as few strings attached as possible, but our grants usually come with a set of simple conditions. Any additional requirements will be detailed in your grant email. We generally make our payments by bank transfer soon after a grant is awarded, and we ask grantees to provide proof of account.

For grants of £25,000 or more and for multi-year grants, we now ask grantees to complete our simple online monitoring report at the end of the grant period and, for multi-year grants, one month before the next payment tranche is due.

If we are funding a specific project that is subsequently found to be non-viable, grantees will need to seek our approval before reallocating our grant to another purpose.

We are happy to be named in charity donor lists, such as in annual reviews, but we ask you to get in touch if you wish to highlight the Trust in any other way.

Sadly, because we receive many more applications than we could ever hope to support, we inevitably have to turn down many requests, even those that are closely aligned with our funding priorities. In 2023, around 70% of applications received were unsuccessful.