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Keep your funding application simple and straightforward

June 7, 2019

If you are applying to us for funding, we want to make it easy for you.

Our funding staff are keen to talk to community groups about their ideas, before you even put pen to paper.

Feel free to run your idea past us to see if we can consider funding it.

Talk to people about what is needed in your community and use these ideas to develop a project.

  • Keep it simple – gather feedback in a way that suits you and your community.
  • Include people in developing your plans and keep them involved in the project.
  • You know your project best, so we want you to fill in the form. You don’t need to get an ‘expert’ to fill it in for you.
  • The application forms are short, you just need to tell us about your ideas in your own words.
  • We often call out to see applicants and chat to them as it helps bring your ideas to life on the application form.
  • You only need to send us what is directly relevant to your application. For example, for Awards for All we only need your application form and a recent bank statement.
  • If you are unsure about anything, please get in touch and ask us.

You can phone our office on 028 9055 1455 to talk to a funding officer, or if we are out and about in your local area you can meet up with us for a chat.

Check our Facebook and Twitter feeds to find out when we are in an area near you.

See our website for information on funding available in Northern Ireland.

Singing and laughter for wellbeing

June 3, 2019

Living with a long term health issue can be stressful and isolating. But thanks to National Lottery players, the Western Health and Social Care Trust are helping people to find joy and laughter through their condition.

In this guest blog, they tell us more about it.

The Calm and Care: Holistic Therapy Programme is run from the Macmillan Health and Well Being Campus at Altnagelvin. The project has been using £9,600 of National Lottery funding to support the holistic needs of people living with cancer and other long term conditions.

The project, run from the Macmillan Health and Well Being Campus at Altnagelvin, delivered a range of complementary therapies as well as programmes that use laughter and singing for health and wellbeing.

These sessions helped people relax with fun and laughter, and supported people to cope with the stress and anxiety that often comes with living with a long term condition.

Blog - Guest blog Singtonicity

Singing for wellbeing: These sessions are bringing a smile to people’s faces

Siobhan Heaney, who led the singing for wellbeing sessions, said: “You can’t worry and sing at the same time! People left the sessions feeling vibrant, light and confident and with a smile on their faces. The fun experienced by everyone was infectious.”

One lady who availed of the complementary therapy sessions is 65 years old and lives with multiple long term conditions. She said: “After the session I felt normal again for a while. It was if the sessions reset me to the way I would like to be.”

So far, the project has benefitted over 100 patients and their families. Tara BoyleManager of the Macmillan Health and Well Being Campus, explained how: “The interventions available through the Calm and Care programme are have multiple health benefits for people living with cancer and long term conditions. They’ve helped to reduce physical, mental and emotional stress as well as bringing about an emotional balance. Thanks to National Lottery players, this project has made an immeasurable difference to over 100 people’s lives.”

This project was funded under our National Lottery Awards for All programme, you can find out more about it here.

Flexible funding to meet the needs of your community

May 21, 2019

Don’t try to shape a project to fit the rules of a funding programme. Focus on what you want to achieve in your community, and the best way to do it.

Our funding programmes give you flexibility to apply for the amount of money you need to deliver your project, in a timeframe that suits you.

RyanOKane2If your idea can be delivered within 12 months then apply to our Awards for All programme for between £300 to £10,000.

If you need more time and more money, then apply to People and Communities or Empowering Young People. Grants of between £10,000 and £500,000 are available and you can choose any length of time between one and five years to deliver your project.

Awards for All supports projects bringing about positive change, improving people’s lives and strengthening community activity.

People and Communities is for projects helping people to make changes that improve their lives, and helping communities to build on their strengths and share learning.

Empowering Young People supports projects giving young people aged 8 to 25 the ability to overcome the challenges they face. These projects will enable more young people to have: the skills they need for the future; better relationships with support networks and communities; and/or improved health and wellbeing.

There is flexibility to fund a wide range of activities, it just depends on what the people in your community need.

Talk to and involve the people you want to help at every stage of your project. Their experience will help you to shape your idea into the best project to help them thrive.

We will work with you to support you to make an application. Talk to us about your project idea to get feedback and advice by ringing 028 9055 1455.

#TeamNI might be coming to a community near you

May 16, 2019

Today we are celebrating the start of The Big Lunch Community Walk 2019.

Four teams will be starting their journey today, setting off from each of the four nations across the UK. #TeamNI’s Patricia Fleming and Rory Mullan started off from The Women’s Tec in Belfast this morning.

Their route will take them to communities across Northern Ireland where they’ll hear more about the fantastic work projects and inspirational people are doing to support their communities to thrive. They will be even be stopping at a few #NationalLottery funded projects on their travels.

“The National Lottery Community Fund proudly supports Eden Project Communities’ Big Lunch initiative.  The community walk and Big Lunch weekend help to bring communities together which is fantastic.  We wish all the walkers, especially Patricia and Rory, the very best of luck for their journeys and we will be cheering them on all the way.”

Kate Beggs, Northern Ireland Director, The National Lottery Community Fund

The #TheBigLunch Community Walk will take place from now until 31st May and will be followed by The Big Lunch weekend on 1st and 2nd June. Keep an eye on our facebook and twitter feeds or visit The Big Lunch Northern Ireland to find out where #TeamNI will be.

#TeamNI will be encouraging people to get involved in attending or arranging a Big Lunch get together in their local area – so far nearly 600 Big Lunches are taking place in Northern Ireland.  Every year millions of people take part in The Big Lunch – in fact an average of 6 million people have joined in every year since 2014.

If you received funding from us and are arranging a lunch in your area feel free to tag our facebook page in your posts and we can share your photos to inspire others. This initiative is organised each year by Eden Project Communities and is proudly supported by The National Lottery Community Fund.

Visit to find out how you can arrange a Big Lunch get together in your own community.  You have plenty of time left to get planning.

Can your community group empower young people?

May 14, 2019

Young people are best placed to come up with the solutions to the problems they face. If your community group works with young people to turn their ideas into a project, we want to hear from you.

Our Empowering Young People programme offers grants between £10,000 and £500,000 for projects that support young people aged 8 to 25 to overcome challenges in their lives. We want to see projects that get the young people themselves involved in developing ideas, designing and running the project.

Mayfield Village Blog pic

Mayfield Village Community Association in Newtownabbey are using £70,757 of National Lottery funding over three years to support young people to become role models and take the lead in delivering activities for others.

Helen Callaghan from the group said: “The young people, aged 14 to 18, will join a certified young leaders programme to develop new skills and improve their confidence and employability.

“They’ll organise sessions for other young people in the Mayfield Village area, including games nights, dance and drama, as well as producing a community magazine and making videos for their own YouTube channel.

“Guest speakers will talk about social issues which the young people have raised, such as social media, body image and substance misuse.”

Helen has this advice for applicants: “No matter how small your project is, just go for it and apply.

“If you’re doing a project with young people, involve them in the process and listen to them. Don’t assume that you know what they want or need

“For example, our young people told us they wanted a camera to put films on YouTube. I would never have thought of this.

“Don’t feel anxious – there’s plenty of help available from staff at The National Lottery Community Fund. Really make the most of your relationship with their funding staff.

“It can be difficult to put into words what you need. Having a visit from a funding officer really helps. We brought our young people along to this meeting to make sure they were involved in the whole process.

“Applying is a positive experience – when you pull together information for the application, it makes you realise what you have achieved and can be proud of.”

We welcome applications from constituted voluntary or community organisations, and social enterprises.

We’re looking to fund projects that meet one or more of these aims:

  • More young people have the skills they need for the future
  • Young people have better relationships with their support networks and communities
  • Young people have improved health and wellbeing

Choose a grant size and length that suits your project – anything from £10,000 to £500,000 over a period of 1-5 years.

We want to make things easy for you, especially if it is a small-scale project, and we’re keen to chat to you before you even put pen to paper.

Phone us on 028 9055 1455 or email us at to chat about your project.

Or see our website for more information on the Empowering Young People programme and how to apply.