What is a small spark?

Small Sparks is a small grants programme that helps people to do new and exciting things in their community. People have great ideas and mostly they don’t cost very much money.

They just need a little spark, a little support and then – stand well back!

Small Sparks started in Seattle and Carl developed the programme in the UK with in Control. It’s a great way of just letting people get on with things they want to do. By involving other local people, Small Sparkers can make real connections in their local community and create projects that benefit everyone.

About 30 organisations have started Small Sparks programmes. That’s because Small Sparks is really simple to understand and it works. A little money can go a long way.

To run a Small Spark you just need:

  • an idea
  • a plan to involve local people
  • to keep a record – maybe in photos
  • to share the story of your project.

It’s that simple. Everyone can get involved.

Below are some of the Sparks from Carl’s Small Sparks programme with In Control.

Burnstock Music Festival

One of the projects in West Sussex was to set up the Burnstock Music Festival where 200 people came to listen to people perform. Lots said they had never been to an event like this before – or had the opportunity to perform.


Another was Playday, a celebration at the local toy library to celebrate 30 years of the library including a music bus, an arts and craft centre and fair.

Catching the History of Wawne

Neil Atkinson organised a village event ‘to help all the people in our community come together’. Everyone did get involved. They made a Timeline in the village hall, buried a Time Capsule, had a history Treasure Hunt and finished with a Harvest Supper where the Brownies involved received their special Wawne Culture Badges.