Charity and Sponsorship Requests (UK only)
We established our UK Charity and Sponsorship Committee in 2007 to support the communities we serve. Managed by a selection of employees from our Bus, Rail and Group operations, the Committee aims to support the needs of our employees, customers and communities in our operating areas.
The Committee provides one-off donations of up to £2,500 to local projects that fall into our charitable criteria:
- young people
- the environment
Unfortunately we cannot consider applications which fail to meet these criteria or fall into our exclusion list below:
- political parties or groups
- bodies promoting religious beliefs
- third-party giving organisations
- projects funded solely by local or central government
- the arts (unless the donation provides direct support to one of our criteria)
- animal welfare
- research projects not directly associated with the needs of the business
Our online application form has only nine sections and is easy to complete using the Quick Guide below.
- Firstly, check that your project or cause satisfies one or more of our charitable criteria (i.e. health, young people or the environment).
- We aim to support causes that are important to our employees. Therefore, we ask that all external applications are supported in the form of a letter from a First employee.
- You don't need to complete the form in one sitting. Once you have completed the registration page you will receive an email with a unique ID and password which allows you to start the application questions. You can save your partially completed application form and recover it at a time that suits you. The Committee will not review your application until it has been fully completed and submitted.
- We want you to provide us with the right information about your cause. We therefore ask a number of compulsory questions each marked with a red asterisk. If you fail to complete a compulsory question you will be unable to submit your form and the incomplete question will be highlighted for you.
- We can only provide support up to the value of £2,500. Our Charity and Sponsorship newsletters will give you an idea of the amounts we typically donate.
Before you apply, check out this guide to the information you should have to hand when completing the form:
Internal applicants (First employees)
- Payroll number - this can be found on your payslip.
- Details about the First employee who is supporting your application: name, payroll number, First operating company, job title and contact details.
- A letter of support from the supporting First employee (alternatively you may email this to us at the time of submission, referencing your application ID number).
- Your payment details (should your application be successful we can pay the money straight into the charity's bank account, or your online sponsorship page. Please note we do not pay into personal bank accounts, so you must have a bank account set up in the name of your group before you apply).
Internal and external applicants
If you have any questions or would like a PDF application form please email email@example.com
How decisions are made
The Committee comprises employees from across the UK who represent the majority of our Bus and Rail operating companies. The decision-making process is effective and transparent, allowing our employees to consider and decide upon charitable requests for funding and gifts in kind based on our charitable criteria (health, young people and the environment).
A monthly budget is allocated to the Committee and the number of applications we receive always exceeds the funds available. Therefore this means some good applications may be refused even though they meet our criteria.
Ticket and vehicle hire requests
We receive many requests for donations of tickets or vehicles from local charities, community groups and not-for-profit organisations. Our Charity and Sponsorship Committee reviews such applications, but the applicant must present a quote from a First operating company to show the value of the ticket or vehicle hire. Applications will only be accepted if you declare the amount you are requesting.
Charity partnership selection process
We are currently committed to long-term partnerships with our chosen charities. Our selection process incorporates an employee vote from a pre-determined shortlist of potential charity partners. We do not have a minimum lifespan for our charity partners as we believe in building strong relationships over a long period of time. Unfortunately we cannot accept any further charity partnership requests. However, charities are encouraged to apply for small donations through our Charity and Sponsorship Committee.
Terms and Conditions
Applications may take up to 6-10 weeks to process. You should therefore ensure that you submit your application in advance of your required financial commitment or activity date.
We do not accept letters or emails requesting support: all requests must be submitted via our online or pdf application form.
The Committee receives a large volume of applications each month and unfortunately we are unable to support all causes. Any decision made by the Committee with regard to applications is final and we will not, under any circumstances, enter into any discussion with an application regarding any such decision.
We do not accept applications for funding over £2,500. All applications must state the exact amount requested.
External applications will not be considered unless they are supported in the form of a letter or email from a First employee. 'External' indicates individuals not employed by First, charities and community organisations.
As the Committee is unable to fund every application it receives, it may, on occasion, award a smaller grant than requested, on the basis that the grant will still enable the core aspect of the intended project to go ahead.