By Amanda Pawar, Funding Manager
We launched our new People and Communities programme on January 28, just over a month ago. As part of the launch, the Big Lottery Fund team and committee members visited 25 projects across Northern Ireland. It was an opportunity for us to learn more about the good work that projects are already doing with local people, and for us to start the conversation about the new programme.
This programme is all about having contact with you through more than just an application form – and we want to talk to you about your project idea before sending you a form. Since we opened our dedicated People and Communities phone line on February 1, we have chatted with around 150 customers, sent out 47 application forms and received six completed forms, which are now being assessed.
You’ve told us that you really value the opportunity to talk to us first before applying. Where we feel a potential idea is not quite ready, we are able to help groups think through the programme’s three key themes that all projects should embrace: people-led, strengths-based and connected.
We have also signposted some callers to our other open funding programmes or to other agencies who can provide additional support.
We haven’t just been talking to you on the phone line – so far we’ve also held events in Antrim, Strabane, Lisburn and Newry to talk with customers about their project ideas for People and Communities and other current funding programmes.
We will be out and about more to learn more about the great work already happening in your local area and to learn how we can support you further. Keep an eye on our website for further information, or sign up to our e-bulletin.
People and Communities will remain open for five years so there is plenty of time to consider the three key themes and develop your project idea.
Call our People and Communities phone line on 0300 123 33 31 once you have your project idea developed. This will give you the chance to discuss this and get some feedback and support from our team.