We want to involve people from Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic communities in our grant making

Our latest blog is from Sara Houston, our Knowledge and Learning Manager, who is developing a pilot programme with Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) communities in Northern Ireland.

What we are doing

National Lottery funding is for everyone. And we want to make sure that it is fair, open and accessible for all people. We are working closely with communities to hear how this can continue to be improved.

Over the last year, we have spoken to a number of BAME led organisations across the voluntary, community and social enterprise (VCSE) sector in Northern Ireland. We have heard about the challenges and opportunities they are facing, particularly when it comes to funding.

We have heard that for many BAME communities and organisations, there are additional challenges around a lack of infrastructure support in the sector, difficulties with application processes and filling in forms, which can all be further compounded by language barriers.

We are interested in exploring these barriers further, with the aim of removing them, ensuring more voices are heard and making our funding more accessible.

With this in mind, we are developing a pilot programme and are looking for help from people from BAME communities in Northern Ireland to work with us to develop this. We want this to be a participative and inclusive process by directly involving people, communities and potential grant recipients in decision making.

It is important to note that we recognise the limitations of the term BAME and we are working hard to develop our language around race in order to better reflect the diversity and self-determination of communities. We intend to move away from BAME but will continue to use it while this process is ongoing.

What we are looking for

We are looking for a group of BAME people to help us design and develop this work. We want your experiences and expertise to inform our approach so that we can better support BAME communities and BAME-led organisations. You might already work in the VCSE sector and have experience of other funders or you might just be someone who is passionate about supporting your community – either way we are keen to hear your views.

It is important that this group reflects the diversity of BAME communities in Northern Ireland, to ensure rich and inclusive discussions. We are particularly interested in hearing from women, younger and older people, disabled people and LGBTQ+ people.

What does it involve?

This will involve attending a number of online sessions to explore and develop the specifics of this programme, including things like grant sizes, application processes and decision-making processes.

These sessions will take place throughout March and April 2021.

This is an opportunity to have a say in how funding decisions are made and will also inform what we do in the future to support BAME communities in Northern Ireland by embedding this as a core part of our funding.

We are committed to supporting people to be involved in this and will offer appropriate remuneration for your time. You will also be able to claim expenses in line with the National Lottery Community Fund policies.

We are also aware of barriers such as language, childcare, transport and digital access and can cover costs for such additional needs. If you have any additional access or digital requirements, please don’t hesitate to get in touch and we will support you in whatever way we can.


If you are interested, please send an email to sara.houston@tnlcommunityfund.org.uk before 5pm on Friday 26th February 2021.

We know that leaders in BAME communities might not always put themselves forward for this type of work, so you can also nominate someone else to be involved.

The email should include:

  • Your name
  • Contact details including email address and phone number
  • A bit about yourself and why you are interested in taking part
    • This can include who you are, your experience, knowledge of the community and voluntary sector and/or any experience with funders
    • We understand that your lived experience provides valuable insights and knowledge for positive change. But you don’t need to tell us the details of your own personal history or story.

If you have any questions or would like to discuss any of this, you can email me at the above address or call me on 079 7033 3667.

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