The Big Lottery Fund is out and about across Northern Ireland today to reveal major changes in how it will fund as it announces a new multi-million pound programme.
The People and Communities programme will invest £60 million over the next five years to support voluntary, community and social enterprise groups to work with local people to make the changes they want in their communities.
The programme is about more than just an application form and groups are being asked to talk to the Big Lottery Fund team about their project idea before they apply. To start some of those conversations, the team are out today visiting around 20 projects in every area of Northern Ireland to see the work they’re already doing with local people.
Grants of between £30,000 and £500,000 will be available for two to five year projects that work with local people, build on a community’s strengths, and are well connected to other services and activities in the community. The programme will remain open for applications for five years.
The Big Lottery Fund’s NI Chair, Frank Hewitt, said: “It is fantastic to be out across Northern Ireland today talking to people about the great work they are already doing in communities, and hearing their ideas of how they could build on that with support from the new People and Communities programme.
“We know that people living in communities are the ones who know what needs to change and how best to do this. That’s why we asking all the projects we fund to get people involved and put them in the lead in changing their lives and communities.
“We want to talk to people about their project ideas, and our dedicated People and Communities phone line will be opening on Monday 1 February. In the meantime, you can find all the details about the programme on the Big Lottery Fund website. We are really excited to hear groups’ ideas and see the difference these ideas will make to people and communities across Northern Ireland.”
One of the projects putting people at the centre is Cruse Bereavement Care’s Big Lottery funded Beyond Words project which offers support and opportunities to older people affected by bereavement. See the gallery for the full story.
More information about the People and Communities programme can be found on our website, www.biglotteryfund.org.uk/northernireland.
We will publish the dedicated People and Communities phone number at 9am on Monday 1st of February.