People and Communities – the conversation so far

By Kathy Ayers, Big Lottery Fund Senior Policy and Learning Manager

Over the past month, you’ve been talking to us about a new programme we’re developing, People and Communities , and how we can work with you to make a real difference in communities across Northern Ireland.

Kathy Ayers from Big Lottery Fund
Kathy Ayers from Big Lottery Fund

People and Communities will be an open programme that lets you decide on how best to build on the strengths in your community to make the changes that people want.  It’s all based on our new plan of how we are working, People in the Lead.

We want to know how you think this programme will help you make the changes people need in their communities. This conversation is really important to us because we need your knowledge and experience to help us develop the new programme.

So far people have contacted us through Facebook, Twitter and by email. We’ve also had a number of face to face conversations and are planning some events later in the summer.

So what have we heard so far?

Well, many of you have already told us that you like the flexibility our new programme is offering. However, some of you have suggested that this flexibility could be challenging because some people like to have a more detailed process to follow when they are applying for funding.

Let’s think of it in a different way – think about getting funding from us like planning a trip.

In the past, we had programmes that told you where we wanted you to go. We might have even given you certain signposts along the way. For example we developed programmes that looked at certain issues such as alcohol. We drew up the map.

People and Communities is about you telling us how you want to work with people to improve their lives and communities. You decide what your destination is. You know what you want, what you have and what you need.

What do you think? Is this going to be a challenge? Or do you have ideas on how to make this trip? A suggestion on what is a good ‘compass’ or a way to measure your journey? Please tell us. We are listening.

You can find all the details about People and Communities on our website. Talk to us on Facebook, Twitter using #fundingpeopleni or email us at

We have also arranged four conversation sessions for VCSE groups and beneficiaries. More information here.


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