Please note that the Northern Ireland programme is currently closed to new applications. Grants staff will be in touch with existing grantees as they approach the end of their grant, to discuss continuation of funding. We expect to re-open to new applications no earlier than September 2024, but will update this information by July 2024.


The Joseph Rowntree Charitable Trust aims to fund work which will contribute to the ongoing transformation of the Northern Ireland conflict.

Its vision is of a Northern Ireland with the following characteristics: 

  • a constitutional settlement which takes account of the range of political views of the people of Northern Ireland, Britain and the Republic of Ireland and which is underpinned by the principles and values of participation, human rights and equality 
  • a non-sectarian political culture which is inclusive, transparent, responsive and accountable 
  • effective processes and mechanisms for managing societal and political conflict without recourse to violence 
  • a respectful and inclusive public discourse about the Troubles, which promotes a shared understanding of the root causes of past violence, and a public policy framework which facilitates truth, justice and reconciliation 
  • a vibrant, pluralist and activist civil society, responsive to the needs of the most vulnerable and able to hold the government to account.

Funding priorities

JRCT is interested in funding work which:

  • addresses the root causes of violence and injustice, rather than alleviating symptoms
  • cannot be funded from other sources
  • is likely to make a long-term, strategic difference
  • addresses injustices around the intersections of gender, ethnicity, and class

JRCT is also keen to support work that responds to the dual harms of the Covid-19 pandemic and systemic racism. We have amended our funding policy below to reflect this.

JRCT has identified the following priority areas:

  • 1. Strengthening human rights and equality

    This includes work to secure and monitor implementation of human rights commitments by the state, work which strengthens a culture of human rights, as well as new initiatives on economic, social and cultural rights.

  • 2. Supporting inclusive, non-sectarian and participatory politics

    This includes initiatives which strengthen the voices of marginalised groups in public policy-making, foster positive, non-violent approaches to expressing and managing political difference and which cultivate the independence of the community and voluntary sectors. In this area, the Trust is particularly interested in supporting work that promotes increased participation of women in politics, and also greater inclusivity in political decision-making and policy work.

  • 3. Supporting processes of demilitarisation

    This includes initiatives which encourage groups engaged in armed struggle to take steps towards exclusively non-violent strategies and to engage in comprehensive processes of transition to civilian life.

  • 4. Dealing with the past

    The Trust is concerned primarily with work that promotes a shared understanding of the root causes of past violence, or which encourages government to implement initiatives to address the legacy of violence at a societal level.

  • 5. Responding to the dual harms of Covid-19 and systemic racism

    JRCT is keen to support work that responds to the dual harms of the impact post Covid-19 pandemic and systemic racism. Specifically, we wish to encourage work that scrutinises the responses and policies of powerful institutions and actors, and which envisions and builds support for transformative social change based on justice, peace and sustainability, including work which:

    • Scrutinises and challenges any systemic inequalities, injustices or abuses of power arising in Northern Ireland the context of Covid-19.
    • Responds to the Covid-19 crisis by building support for progressive reforms which strengthen a culture of human, economic, social and cultural rights.
    • Creates opportunities for black and minority ethnic people to organise around new forms of inclusive, participatory politics, to strengthen the anti-racist voice in systems of power and accountability in Northern Ireland.

Other factors

JRCT is particularly interested in receiving applications related to women’s participation in all of these areas.

In addition to applications from Northern Ireland, it is open to receiving applications from Britain and the Republic of Ireland for work related to the above areas, and for work across the island of Ireland.

Local work will be supported only where it is likely to have a wider impact, for example if it is testing a model which can then be replicated, or is addressing a local issue that has wider social or political implications.

Please note that applications proposing work of any kind in Northern Ireland will be considered through the Northern Ireland programme only.  

Specific exclusions

Please read the Trust’s general exclusions.

  • In addition to this the following types of work will not be funded:
    • the delivery of basic services to people in need, including welfare advice, women’s refuges, basic skills training, etc
    • the core costs of community centres, local women’s groups, local voluntary sector infrastructure organisations or similar community level groups
    • work related to health or disability
    • community development or community relations projects that do not relate directly to the priority interests outlined above
    • any form of personal healing or therapeutic work, including counselling
    • historical research, documentation or archival work
    • work related to the past which is primarily concerned with particular events during the conflict.

Application deadlines

For further information see when to apply.


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The Rainbow Project

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