Culture for All – helpful tips: The Good, The Bad and the Ineligible…..

By Rosaleen Curran, Big Lottery Fund Culture for All Funding Manager

Rosaleen Curran is Funding Manager for the Culture for All programme.  She has written a blog offering some helpful tips and advice for organisations applying to the programme. Read her blog below…

Rosaleen Curran
Rosaleen Curran

The Good, The Bad and the Ineligible…


I manage a team of Funding Officers who are assessing applications to our popular Culture for All Programme launched in August 2012. 

This new, short term funding programme, linked to the UK City of Culture Celebrations in Derry/Londonderry 2013, is attracting a lot of interest and we are keen that you understand the programme rules and funding priorities so you can submit a stronger application or if you’ve already done so, we want you to understand better the reasons your application may have been unsuccessful.

Like every funding source, Culture for All has its rules on eligibility (see the Guidance Notes on our website by clicking here: and with a budget of £1.35 million, stretching over a 12-14 month period, the decision makers face real challenges when equally worthy projects are competing and being judged simultaneously.

A friendly reminder to those of you who have received a conditional offer: Please Read Your Terms & Conditions (T&Cs) document.  The T&Cs are issued with your conditional offer and are legally binding, so once you sign to accept the offer you are signing up to the conditions attached to the release of the money.


Unfortunately, not everyone receives good news and we are acutely aware of the disappointment this brings. Here are some of the reasons and some things you might consider before applying or re-applying:-

  • If you need to start your project on a certain date, then you need to make sure you send your application in early enough. We have made a commitment to let you have a decision within 6 weeks, however it can take up to a further 28 days to turn your conditional offer into a firm offer – depending on queries relating to governance, banking etc or in some instances delays at your end if staff are off ill or some unforeseen circumstance means you cannot return the information in time.

What’s the Big Question?

And perhaps the Big Question we are being asked is:

What do you mean when you say “Must link to the City of Culture celebrations in a way that benefits your Community”? 

So far, many of the successful applicants have made a strong case by providing strong evidence of need gathered from their local community (focus groups, questionnaires, community audits, etc) and linking their project to some of the many and varied events being run by The Culture Company 2013 e.g. you may have secured a firm commitment/agreement to participate in an event in the city on one of those days, you may plan a similar event to take place in your community on the same day and remember our priority is that the project is clearly an arts/culture projects that is new, or develops what you do now and more importantly builds community capacity – see Page 6 in the Guidance Notes.

We want as many people as possible across Northern Ireland to benefit and because of the limited funding we may give low priority to investments in capital equipment such as musical instruments and digital media resources in projects that don’t clearly show the opportunities for communities to share in the UK City of Culture celebrations.

The scope for running projects in your own community anywhere in Northern Ireland is phenomenal. Events can take place in your village or town, your local community group, local care homes, local school – you can plan a street party, a local dance or drama – events on land or on the water – we know there are many creative thinkers and planners out there so put your thinking caps on…..we await some interesting proposals……


There are also some activities and costs we cannot fund and you will find a detailed list on Page 8 of the Guidance Notes, but here are a few to note: –

  • Projects that are not arts or culture focused
  • Purchase of Tickets for Events
  • Prizes, Personal Clothing or Equipment;
  • Goods or services you order or receive before the date of our letter confirming your award etc.


Finally, even though you feel you’ve done everything right and your application is worthy – please remember it is a competitive process and you may still be unsuccessful.

This funding is open to groups across Northern Ireland, not just in DerryLondonderry, so geographical spread will be taken into consideration. But we need to receive good quality relevant applications.  We will want to see quality applications linked to the priorities as listed on page 6 of the guidance notes.

To find out more about the Culture for All programme visit out website at:

To learn more about the events and activities planned during the UK City of Culture celebration in Derry~Londonerry in 2013 visit:

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