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5 top tips from our #BIGNIFunding campaign

December 1, 2017

We have been asking staff from Big Lottery Fund and successful National Lottery funded projects for their top tips on applying for funding.

This blog shares the latest 5 top tips from our #BIGNIFunding campaign.  If you missed the start, you can catch up with a roundup of the first 10 tips.

#11   We fund constituted not-for-profit organisations, but they don’t need to be registered charities.

#12  We can’t process your application form if the name on the form is different from the name on the attachments you provide.

#13  Paul Johnston from Monkstown Boxing Club shares their approach to finding out about challenges and developing ideas for their application to our Empowering Young People programme.

#14  Find a funding source that suits your project idea.  This helps to make sure your project is truly people led. You should not develop your project to fit a specific programme.

#15  Successful grant applicant, Shiela Smyth, explains how The Right Key made good use of local people’s skills and energy and got them involved in the design and delivery of their People and Communities project.

Keep following our #BIGNIFunding campaign in the new year on facebook and twitter

To find out more about our funding, visit our website.

You can contact the Big Lottery Fund advice team in Northern Ireland by emailing or telephoning 028 9055 1455 and selecting option 2.  Our team is available Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm.

Attention all Grant Holders…. Here’s our five top tips to help you share your success

November 17, 2017

Congratulations on getting National Lottery funding!

You’re now part of a family of fantastic organisations that are making communities across the UK better places to be.  Here are our five top tips to help you share the good news about your project getting funding and let the public know how they are making life better in their community by playing National Lottery games.


1. Tell the world on Social Media

Social Media is an excellent way to get word out about your project’s success.  You can use this to share your stories, photos and videos quickly and relatively easily.

Use the hashtag #NationalLottery to show where the funding is from.  Remember to tag us on Twitter @BIGNIonline and Facebook @BIGLotteryFundNI and also tag any groups you work with as this will help to get the message out.

2. Talk to your customers


Word of mouth is probably the best way to celebrate your projects success. Remember your customers are your ambassadors and will tell their friends and family about the work you are doing to transform lives within communities. Make sure you tell them where your funding has come from so they can let people know what National Lottery money doing in their community.

3. Get in touch with your local press

Your local press is a fantastic way to get word out to your community.  You can share your story with your local newspaper or news outlet. If you’ve never written a press release before you can find some guidance on our website.

4. Use the logo
New Logo (Blue)Only groups who receive funding from Big Lottery Fund can use our logo.  Using this logo will help you to get word of your success out across Northern Ireland. The logo is available to download from our website in a range of different formats so you can use it on everything from your letter heads to banner stands, from your website to your social media channels.  There is also range of branded items that you can order from us for free to help you with your launch events and photo opportunities.

5. Chat to the people who sell National Lottery tickets in your area

Get in touch with your local National Lottery Retailer and let them know that you’ve received funding – it could be your local newsagent, supermarket or shop. They may even be happy to display some information about the work that you’ll be doing with the National Lottery funding

I hope you have found our 5 tops tips helpful.  Remember that we are here to help and support you at every step of the way when you are sharing your success. We share your stories, photos and videos on our blog, ebulletin and website.  We are here and are always happy to answer any queries you may have.

Feel free to contact our Communications Team using the contact details below.


Call: 028 9055 1455 (select option 2)

Twitter: @BIGNIonline



10 funding tips from our staff and successful projects

October 13, 2017

The Big Lottery Fund distributes 40% of National Lottery good causes funding.  The groups we fund are transforming communities and making a difference to people’s lives. To help applicants in Northern Ireland, we are sharing advice from our staff and successful projects.

Here is a roundup of ten top tips from our #BIGNIFunding campaign….

#1 You don’t need to have your pitch ready before you get in touch with us about your idea


#2 If you are applying to the Awards for All Northern Ireland programme, remember to attach a recent copy of a bank statement for the account the grant will be paid into.


#3 You don’t need to pay someone to fill in your form.  Contact us if you need help!


#4 Talk to other groups in your area and see if you can work together to have the greatest impact.


#5 You don’t need to use buzzwords to make your application sound ‘better’.  Answer the questions in your own words.


#6 Aileen from Off the Streets gives you her advice on putting young people in the lead.


#7 This will make you rethink your approach to planning a project – see our people in the lead film.


#8 Check out our very quick video guide about the application process for Awards for All.


#9 Hear from one of our successful projects about how to approach your #funding application.


#10 Read the guidance carefully. Contact us if you need advice.


….. and we have more great tips to come, so keep following our #BIGNIFunding campaign on facebook and twitter

To find out more about our funding, visit our website

You can contact the Big Lottery Fund advice team in Northern Ireland by emailing or telephone 028 90551455 (Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm).

Our highlights from the #GreatBigWalk

June 29, 2017

On 29th May Noel Johnston from Omagh and Olivia Cosgrove from Enniskillen, joined walkers from across the UK in Bately, West Yorkshire to set off on the #GreatBigWalk, funded by the National Lottery.

They walked almost 700 miles on their 21 day journey. It saw them walk from Bately to Liverpool, take the ferry to Belfast and then walk around Northern Ireland before returning to Belfast on 18th June to celebrate at a Big Lunch event.

Along the route they stopped in towns and villages each day to shine a light on amazing community projects which are really making a difference to people’s lives.

Some of the projects Noel and Olivia visited were are funded by Big Lottery Fund. Here are some highlights of our projects:

Connswater Community Greenway

Arriving in Belfast on Saturday 3rd June, their first stop was Connswater Community Greenway where they took a tour of greenway and rang the bell to start Park Run in Victoria Park. They met volunteers and heard stories about the positive impact the greenway has had from people who use it. Connwater Community Greenway has been created with our largest ever grant in Northern Ireland of £23.5million.

Acceptable Enterprises Larne Ltd

On Monday 5th June they visited Acceptable Enterprises in Larne which recently received an Empowering Young People grant of £600,000 to support young people with a learning disability. The team toured the various enterprises run by the group including the allotments, had a meal in their café, and learnt about the bottling process for Clearer Water.

David Hunter, chief executive of Acceptable Enterprises said: “It’s given Acceptable Enterprises Limited a real boost to have the walkers from the Great Big Walk drop in to find out about our project here in Larne.

“Larne has had its fair share of difficulties in the past but sometimes it’s good to focus on the real needs of a community and pull together to deliver positive change.”

Be Safe Be Well

Olivia and Noel visited an open day for Be Safe Be Well Men’s Shed in Limavady on Wednesday 7th June which was developed with support from National Lottery funding. With plenty of visitors – old and new – there was a real buzz around the centre with the members showing off their woodworking skills and sharing stories about why coming to the shed is so important to them.

Armagh Men’s Shed

Armagh Men’s Shed, which has been funded through our Connecting Older People programme was also visited on 13th June. The members met the walkers along with Joanne McDowell and Joan McCrum from Big Lottery Fund and walked through Armagh to their men’s shed where they had lunch, had a sing along and chatted about their lives.

Click here to watch a video of the sing along at the shed.

Dessie, one of the members, said: “Today, meeting the great big walk folk was good craic and good luck to them walking all that way from Yorkshire to here, meeting people and learning what we all do.”

Head injury Support

On Thursday 15th June Olivia and Noel started the day by visiting Head injury Support in Newry which received funding through our People and Communities programme. The walkers were inspired listening to the stories from members, some of who have had to learn how to walk again after surviving a brain injury. They then walked through Newry with some of the members before heading off on the final few days of their journey.

College Park Avenue Residents Association

The walk finished on Sunday 18th June, where Olivia and Noel met Big Lottery Fund Chair Julie Harrison in Belfast and joined a Big Lunch event in the Holylands with over 400 other people from different communities. The event was funded with a Celebrate grant to College Park Avenue Residents Association.

Noel and Olivia were overwhelmed by the stories they heard on their journey, but the common theme was that in every community they visited, they met ordinary people doing extraordinary things and they were inspired by everyone they met.

Click here to watch a video of Olivia and Noel reflecting on their experiences.

The Great Big Walk saw five teams of walkers set off from West Yorkshire and walk to Northern Ireland, Scotland, Wales, Cornwall and London. Run by Eden Communities the Great Big Walk encouraged people to hold a Big Lunch celebration on Sunday 18 June as part of The Great Get Together, run by the Jo Cox Foundation.


The Great Big Walk shines a light on Acceptable Enterprises in Larne

June 12, 2017

The Great Big Walk came to Larne last week as part of an initiative from the Eden Project made possible with funding from the National Lottery.

Five teams of walkers set off from Batley, West Yorkshire, on 29th May and are travelling back to Scotland, Northern Ireland, Wales, Cornwall and London respectively. Every day, the walkers and their supporters have been visiting different community projects and initiatives spending time with the extraordinary people who go the extra mile to bring communities together.

The Northern Ireland team of walkers, Olivia Cosgrove from Enniskillen and Noel Johnston from Omagh, chose Acceptable Enterprises in Larne as one of their stops. They recently received a National Lottery grant of £600,000 from Big Lottery Fund to support young people with a learning disability to move into adult services and, where possible, the world of work.

Olivia Cosgrove said “It was my very great privilege to meet David and the staff and trainees at Acceptable Enterprises, the atmosphere was one of a community working together with pride and respect for each other.

The walkers enjoy breakfast at Acceptable Enterprises, Larne

“David is a man with a mission to put Larne on the map as a place of social enterprise excellence, he is an entrepreneurial champion. He sees possibilities instead of problems and pulls people toward the opportunities we can achieve when we work together.

“I’d say from our visit that Acceptable Enterprises have much to be proud of, looking at all they have been doing they are not just providing training for people of all abilities, they are offering transferable skills and learning that can be put to good use in a range of businesses in the retail and manufacturing sector.

“During our visit we toured the sites seeing the healthy vegetables growing in the allotments and enjoyed them as a delicious meal served with a smile by first class staff in the café, right through to the Clearer Water bottling and distribution which is bringing in business from across the water and changing lives locally and in disadvantaged places across the globe.”

Olivia is a founding member of Row the Erne, a Fermanagh based group who brought the community together to build a Curragh. She currently volunteers with the RNLI and travelled to the Greek island of Lesbos during the refugee crisis to support lifesaving training.

She said: “We need more Davids in the world, he is one of those people who you meet who are a fountain of ideas and inspiration. Clearer Water’s back story really struck a chord with me, perhaps because of my love of water, or perhaps because bottled water can often seem extravagant but this water is not only pure and healthy, it makes a difference just like everything Acceptable Enterprises does.”

David Hunter, Chief Executive of Acceptable Enterprises said: “It’s given Acceptable Enterprises Limited a real boost to have the walkers from the Great Big Walk drop in to find out about our project here in Larne. Particularly important, after recent events and as recognised by the decision to start the walk in Jo Cox’s constituency of Bately West Yorkshire, is the need to tell everybody that there is an amazing amount of good work going on every day in every corner of these islands.

“Larne has had its fair share of difficulties in the past but sometimes it’s good to focus on the real needs of a community and pull together to deliver positive change.”

Some Clearer Water donated to the walkers. L-R William MacCauley, Olivia Cosgrove, Noel Johnston, David Hunter, Jerome Grace, Maureen Hanvey

The Great Big Walk will finish on Sunday 18 June, allowing all the walkers to take part in their Big Lunch: the highlight of The Great Get Together, set to be the biggest community celebration the UK has ever seen.

Find out more about the Great Big Walk  and the Big Lunch.