Last updated: 2 February 2024

Next review: 21 March 2025

Food production, preparation and sharing


In Waltham Forest, we have a proud history of supporting residents in accessing the good quality, culturally appropriate food that everyone needs to lead happy, healthy lives.

The support available to residents would not be possible without the vital infrastructure and safety net created by the Voluntary and Community sector (VCS), from our food banks offering critical emergency support to our most vulnerable residents, to our mutual aid networks and community cafes and kitchens providing spaces to eat and access support.

Notably, members of the VCS-led ‘Food Resilience Network’ and ‘Food Growers Network’ are already leading the way in showing us the potential of innovative practice and what can happen when we work together in partnership.  

Objectives of the Food Innovation Fund

Through the Food Innovation Fund, Waltham Forest Council will offer grants to local VCS groups who want to move towards more innovative food practices and a more diversified offer of food support for residents.

We are looking for innovative, community-led proposals, such as ones that sit outside of the traditional food bank model. 

We are looking for proposals that build a resilient, sustainable community of support, based on the foundations of collaboration, mutual aid, and dignity for all.

The Innovation Fund is not to fund existing activity, but to support groups looking to make more seismic shifts across how they operate, what they offer and who they work alongside.

Although not a mandatory requirement for this funding, the council are particularly interested in collaborative partnership-based applications that demonstrate innovation and foster greater connections and partnerships across the existing VCS food landscape.

See the ‘Food Innovation Fund Guidance Note’ for examples of innovative, community-led projects.

Funding available

  1. Up to £10,000 funding is available for individual groups applying to run a project as a single entity.
  2. Up to £30,000 funding is available for a maximum of three groups (maximum of £10,000 per organisation) to apply to run a project as a partnership.

We especially encourage partnership bids between groups and priority will be given to those working in partnership.

Funding body: Waltham Forest Council.

Key Dates

  • Online Questions and Answers session: Wednesday 7 February 2024.
  • Application deadline: Sunday 25 February 2024.
  • Funded activity to start: negotiable. 
  • Funded activity to end: negotiable.

Who can apply?

Applications will be accepted from constituted voluntary and community groups working with residents in the London Borough of Waltham Forest.

Organisations are only able to apply for a grant if they operate on a wholly not-for-profit and/or charitable basis and that the appropriate measures are in place to demonstrate this.

See the ‘Food Innovation Fund Guidance Note’ for a list of eligible and ineligible organisations.

The following criteria, regardless of organisation type, must also be met:

  • 100% of surplus funds are reinvested into the organisation and no profits are made.
  • Executive directors operate in a voluntary capacity and not as paid shareholders.
  • There is a ‘no profit distribution’ clause and/or an ‘asset lock’ in the governing document (unless this is already a statutory component of the organisational structure (e.g. CICs already have a statutory asset lock and therefore no discretionary lock is needed)
  • Experience working in food. Demonstrable experience working as a VCS food organisation/project. (If a partnership bid, the main applicant must meet this criteria.)

See ‘Food Innovation Fund Guidance Note’ for additional information. 

How to apply

Applications may be submitted at any time before the application deadline.

If you are interested in applying for this fund you must:

  • Read the ‘Food Innovation Fund Guidance Note’.
  • Fill in the ‘Food Innovation Fund Application Form’ Word doc.
  • If you are applying as a partnership with other applicants, they are required to fill out their own organisation details and individual budget breakdown on the separate 'Food Innovation Fund Partnering Applicant Form' Word doc. The lead application and partnership application forms (one for each partner applicant) must be submitted together.
  • Email the completed application form to by the deadline.

If you would like support filling in the forms, further information, or have questions about your application please contact  

Support with your application

If you have any questions, would like to discuss your ideas, or want to talk through your application, the Council will be hosting a Questions and Answer session: 

  • 12.30pm to 1.30pm.
  • Wednesday 7 February 2024.
  • Online. Join on your computer, mobile app or room device.

Join the meeting on Microsoft Teams

If you require a printed application or have any other accessibility requirements that mean you require a different way of submitting an application, please email at least one week before the application deadline.

Documents and links

If you applying as one organisation please fill in the Food Innovation Fund applicant form

If you are applying as a partnership (more than one organisation) – the main applicant needs to complete the fund application form with the partner organisation completing the ‘Partnering applicant’ form.