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Grants from the Societies Syndicate

All applications to the Syndicate for assistance should include a financial statement which should be filled in with the society's accounts, correctly audited, together with information about the current year (including estimates where necessary). When a grant is requested for equipment, the Syndicate will need a list of relevant assets, their cost and replacement value.

Applications must be typed and sent by email to the Senior Treasurer for approval before onward transmission, direct from the Senior Treasurer, by email to the Secretary of the Societies Syndicate: 

Notes of advice to applicants

  1. The Societies Syndicate gives financial assistance to University clubs and societies that are registered with the Proctors’ Office. Sports clubs should apply to the Sports Committee.
  2. The Syndicate's annual income is derived from the University and from a capitation fee payment made by College JCRs and equivalent bodies. An Annual Report is distributed to these bodies detailing that year's allocation of funds to societies.
  3. Applications are usually assessed by the Technical Committee of the Syndicate, which consists of twelve Junior Members of the University with experience of running University societies. The Technical Committee is chaired by the Junior Proctor, and may make grants of up to about £1,000 and guarantees against loss of up to £3,000, without reference to the Syndicate. (Applications for support above these limits will be referred to the Syndicate, but may be given preliminary consideration by the Technical Committee which may give advice or make recommendations to the Syndicate as appropriate).
  4. Societies are expected, as a matter of general principle, to be self-financing and to meet their day-to-day expenditure, including travel expenses and the cost of speaker meetings, etc. from subscriptions and/or other contributions from members, or from other sources of revenue. Consequently, the Committee does not ordinarily make grants to cover running costs, but awards grants mainly for non-recurrent or capital expenditure, for example towards the purchase of an item of equipment that would be of long-term benefit to members, and which a society cannot reasonably or realistically be expected to meet from its normal revenues.

There are four types of financial assistance available from the Syndicate:


Name and Description

Application Requirements


Launch grants

  • Normally £200 or less.
  • Intended to cover the start-up costs of a new society.
  • Applicants should detail what the grant will be spent on (eg, publicity, first meeting, stall at the Societies Fair, freshers’ squash).
  • Applicants should detail what the grant will be spent on (eg, publicity, first meeting, stall at the Societies Fair, freshers’ squash).


One-off Grants

These may cover:

The purchase of an item of capital equipment

  • Granted when a society wishes to purchase an item of lasting and continuing benefit to the society, and it is not feasible for them to purchase it themselves.
  • Where equipment is income-generating, the society will be expected to cover operational and replacement costs itself.

Travel expenses

  • Awarded to provide assistance with a society’s exceptional expenditure on travel.
  • These will not usually be given for one-off travel, or for travel to (for example) competitions or to musical and dramatic performances; these costs are expected to be met by members directly or from the society’s other income.

Awards for special activities

  • Granted for events outside the normal activities of the society which are not feasibly self-financing.
  • Applicants may instead wish to apply for a guarantee against loss.




  • Applicants should provide details of the life expectancy of every item to be purchased and a description of how the items are to be stored and maintained.
  • Ideally, more than one quote for every item to be purchased should be provided.


  • Applicants must show that the expenditure is both integral to and an inherent part of their primary activities, but that the costs cannot be met from subscriptions or other income. 



  • Applicants should provide full financial information for the event, including itemised income and expenditure




Ongoing Grants

  • Awarded to support ongoing general expenses which are not feasibly self-financing.
  • Applicants must provide details of the expenditure (including duration) and reasons why the costs cannot be met from subscriptions or other income.


Guarantees against loss

  • Given on events, such as musical or theatrical productions, or on an issue of a publication (normally the first).
  • Guarantees are only given to cover losses owing to unforeseen circumstances.
  • Payment will only be made when the audited accounts of the events concerned are received.
  • Accounts must be received within 3 months of the events ending.
  • Applicants must submit applications well in advance of the event.
  • Applicants should budget to break-even without assuming that a guarantee will be granted, and where feasible should build a contingency into the budget (without assuming that a guarantee will be granted).


NB: Except for the circumstances detailed above, the expectation is that activities of societies should be self-financing. Societies should arrange their affairs so that they do not rely on grants. In addition, it is normally expected that the social activities of societies will be self-financing, and the Technical Committee will take this into account when allocating grants.

  1. The Syndicate are not normally prepared to make loans, which may impose an unjustified burden of repayment on the original borrowers' successors in office.

The Syndicate are not normally prepared to fund social events, one-off travel, for example to a competition, or competition entry fees. These costs should be met by the members directly or from the society's subscription income.

  1. In order to qualify for assistance from the Syndicate a society should:
  2. be able to demonstrate that membership is open in principle and in practice to all resident members of the University, irrespective of political, religious or social considerations. When making an application for assistance, societies should state their aim (as given in their constitution). Under current legislation, the Societies Syndicate cannot support a political campaign unless the issue directly affects students as students.
  3. be registered, or in the process of registering, with the Junior Proctor. It is advisable for a society to check that it is registered before applying. The list of registered societies is held by the Clerk to the Proctors at The Old Schools, Cambridge CB2 1TN (phone (3)33314). Societies wishing to register should also apply to this office.
  4. include a financial statement which should be filled in with the society's accounts, correctly audited, together with information about the current year (including estimates where necessary), including a statement of assets and liabilities, and details of income from all sources. A statement of current numbers of members and of subscription rates should also be given.
  5. present a lucid statement of the need for assistance and a clear outline of what exactly is required. The costs of the items to be purchased should be clearly stated, with quotes where available.
    1. The Societies Syndicate Technical Committee meets several times each term. The dates for meetings in 2018–2019 (together with those of meetings of the full Syndicate) are as follows.

Technical Committee:


Application submission deadline

Meeting date


23 October 2018

30 October 2018


27 November 2018

4 December 2018


15 January 2019

22 January 2019


26 February 2019

5 March 2019


16 April 2019

23 April 2019


4 June 2019

11 June 2019

Societies Syndicate:


Application submission deadline

Meeting date


9 November 2018

16 November 2018


25 January 2019

1 February 2019


9 May 2019

16 May 2019

Applications must be made on the correct form and submitted electronically 7 days before the next scheduled meeting. Applications received after the submission deadline will not be reviewed until the next meeting.

Applications must be typed and sent by email to the Senior Treasurer for approval before onward transmission by email, direct from the Senior Treasurer, to the Secretary of the Societies Syndicate:

Applicants will sometimes be required to contact a Junior Member of the Technical Committee to discuss their application. The member will report back to the Technical Committee which will decide whether or not to make a grant. Societies will be advised in writing by the Secretary, whom they should contact to follow up their application.

  1. The Cambridge University Students' Union (CUSU) has launched a new support programme for societies. The Societies Project Coordinator, Grace Anderson, will be focusing on supporting you in applying for funding and managing your accounts, alongside providing guidance for those wishing to set up new societies or register existing ones. She is available to discuss and advise on any applications or the application process. CUSU also provides a wide range of facilities to societies such as room booking, photocopying, printing, vehicle hire, email and web services, the Societies Directory, events listings, the Societies’ Fair and more. Grace will now be providing new online resources, training sessions, workshops and other more tailored support, as well as generally being a point of contact for any questions or advice. Contact her at and read more here - The Cambridge University Students' Union (CUSU) offers societies a number of facilities in their offices at 17 Mill Lane, Cambridge CB2 1RX. These include: quality photocopying; colour photocopying and printing; high-specification PCs with desktop publishing software and a range of other reprographic facilities. CUSU organises the annual Societies Fair in October, which over 300 societies and 8,000 students attend each year, and operates the CU Vehicle Hire Scheme, offering two eight-passenger minivans and an equipment van. 
  2. CUSU also provides free e-mail forwarding for all societies, as well as an online societies directory (at which societies can use to list details of events (which can in turn be published in the student newspaper TCS) and contact details. For information about any of these services please enquire at CUSU Reception (tel. 01223 333313) or visit for more information.