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Is your organisation eligible for National Lottery funding?

September 4, 2019

So you have a great idea for a project to help your community to thrive. What next? Let’s look at what it takes to be eligible for one of our grants!

Like most funders, we only fund groups to run projects, not individuals. To be eligible for our funding, your organisation will need a few basic things in place before you’re ready to start your application.

  • A governing document such as a constitution

This document needs to lay out the name and purpose of your organisation. It should also cover how it will work, like how people join, how your committee will work, when you’ll have meetings, and so on.

  • A committee or board with at least two unrelated members (or three if you are applying for more than £10,000)

By unrelated we mean people who aren’t family members (like siblings, parents and children, married couples or civil partners) or living at the same address.

Voluntary groups, schools, social enterprises and charities are all eligible to apply

  • A bank account in your organisation’s name (as written on the constitution)

You’ll also need to make sure that at least two unrelated people are required to approve the withdrawal or spending of money from the account

  • Annual financial accounts

These should clearly state the name of your organisation (again, as on the constitution). They also must show the start and end dates for the 12 month period they cover (e.g. 1 Jan 2018 to 31 Dec 2018).

They don’t need to be produced by a professional, or audited by accountants, but they will need to be signed as accurate by at least two members of your committee.

If your organisation is still in its first 12 months, we will ask for a projection instead, listing any expected spending or income (including any grants you are applying for) over the next year.

Remember – you don’t have to be a registered charity to apply to The National Lottery Community Fund!

Once you have everything in place and are ready to start applying, we’d love to hear from you. We’re always happy to chat, no matter what stage of the application process you’re at.

Email us at enquiries.ni@tnlcommunityfund.org.uk or phone us on 028 9055 1455

You can also talk to us on social media: @TNLCommunityFundNI on Facebook and @TNLComFundNI on Twitter.

How to publicise your grant

August 28, 2019

Projects funded by us in Northern Ireland can get guidance on branding from the Communications and Engagement team in Belfast.

When we changed our name to The National Lottery Community Fund we created a range of materials to help you publicise your grant.

Here’s how you can spread the word and say thank you to National Lottery players.

Show people – by using our logo 

  • Use it on posters, leaflets, presentations, pop-up banners, sweatshirts, hoodies, and your website.
  • Get free materials with our logo already on them.

Download the logo and order branded materials directly from our website. If planning an event allow up to three weeks for delivery.

Tell people – in words

Remember to use our new name and to say thank you to National Lottery players when talking about your award at events, on the radio, in your newsletter, in emails, or in the local press.

You can use words like “…which has been made possible thanks to National Lottery players.”

Tell people – in pictures

Bring your story to life with eye-catching and inspiring photos of your project and people.

Use in the press, online, and on social media.

Follow best practices:

  • Get permission to use the photos.
  • Make sure they are of good quality.
  • Include our logo if possible.

Share with us – on social media 

We love comments and images of you celebrating your grant. Tag us on Facebook @TNLCommunityFundNorthernIreland and on Twitter @TNLComFundNI.

“Thank you @TNLCommunityFundNorthernIreland for awarding £[grant amount] of #NationalLottery funding to #[project name].”

 

Contact the Communications and Engagement team in Belfast with any queries or if you need further assistance on 028 9055 1455 or email enquiries.ni@tnlcommunityfund.org.uk

Six myths about The National Lottery Community Fund

August 21, 2019

Every so often we hear some of the myths that people believe about The National Lottery Fund Northern Ireland and our funding. We’re here to clear up six of the most common! And don’t worry if you believed these too – everyone makes myth-takes!

 

  • “If rejected you can’t reapply for 12 months”

 

If your application is unsuccessful, you can reapply as soon as you are read. If you’re applying for the same project, we do recommend you address any feedback we gave you before applying again. If you aren’t sure why your application was unsuccessful, or if you just want advice on making a stronger application, just ask! We’re always happy to chat about your ideas.

 

  • “We don’t fund your area of Northern Ireland”

 

We fund projects right across Northern Ireland and are glad to see applications from any part of Northern Ireland. We’re working more locally than ever – contact us on the details below and we can put you in touch with the team that works in your area.

 

  • “You shouldn’t discuss your idea with us before applying”

 

This couldn’t be further from the truth! We’d love to talk to you about your project before you apply. We can give you advice on getting your community involved in your project, what funding programmes might suit your project best, how the application process works – and anything in between. In our experience, applicants who talk to us before they apply are much more likely to avoid common pitfalls. So don’t be shy – get in touch with us at any point in the application process.

The National Lottery Community Fund

Whatever your idea is, we’re here to chat!

  • “We only fund projects in areas seen as ‘deprived’”

 

While we certainly consider levels of deprivation when targeting our funding, it is definitely not the only thing we care about. We understand that communities face issues that aren’t related to economic deprivations and we want to know what your community thinks is important to them. That’s why it’s important to us that the projects we fund have been designed in a way that includes the voices and opinions of the people taking part – we want to ask communities what matters to them, not what’s the matter with them.

 

  • “We don’t like giving away money”

 

We love giving money away! It’s the best bit of our job and is the reason The National Lottery Community Fund exists. Obviously, we have a responsibility to make sure that our funds are spent well. But we can’t keep the money for ourselves, so we are always looking for great new projects to support.

 

  • “Only registered charities can apply”

 

You don’t have to be a registered charity to apply to any of our funds! We don’t fund individuals, and there are a few basic things your organisation needs in place before it can apply, such as a committee, a governing document, and a bank account.

Above all, we want you to talk to us. No matter what your question, whether you’re thinking of applying to us or if you’ve been funded by us before, we’re always happy to chat.

Email us at enquiries.ni@tnlcommunityfund.org.uk or phone us on 028 9055 1455.

You can also talk to us on social media: @TNLCommunityFundNI on Facebook and @TNLComFundNI on Twitter.

What is a strength-based project?

August 13, 2019

We want to fund projects that build on the strengths and skills a community already has. Communities thrive when projects start from the strengths that already exist.

What this looks like in practice is different for each application we receive. It isn’t ‘one size fits all’ – your project should be shaped by the people it helps.

First of all, explore the strengths your community already has. Ask people, “What is working well?” and “What is important to you?” Then take stock of what resources and skills you have.

Portglenone Community Workshop and Men’s Shed

Portglenone Enterprise Group uses the strength of local groups in their ‘Unity in the Community’ project to improve health and well-being in the community.

The group brings together smaller community groups in the area to run activities for local people based on ideas from the community themselves. The activities they run include gardening, line dancing, a history and literacy group, and social activities.

The groups who make up the Portglenone Enterprise Group include Portglenone Arthritis Group, Bannside Eco Buddies, Bannside Stitchers, Bannside & District Beekeepers, Portglenone Bowling Club, Portglenone Community Workshop and Men’s Shed, Monday Club Portglenone, and Portglenone Senior Citizens Arts and Crafts.

By coming together as a collective, these smaller groups are made stronger by sharing resources and having access governance training and support.

We asked our Funding Officer Chris McClure what makes this a good example of a strengths-based project.

Chris said, “Portglenone Enterprise Group is a good example of a number of smaller groups coming together to assess their strengths and weaknesses, how they can support each other and where they need additional help.

“They have over 100 volunteers delivering the project. By coming together like this, the groups can share resources and skills. Portglenone Enterprise Group share their experience and their venue is available to other groups. The men’s shed use their skills and equipment to support the Eco-Buddies and Beekeepers group with small scale building projects.

The Bannside Stitchers

We asked Nora O’Neill from Portglenone Enterprise Group about the strengths of their project.

“Volunteers are a real strength; our project couldn’t run without them. The Unity in the Community project brings groups together and brings in more volunteers and people with skills.

“Our idea is to have taster sessions and more cross-over between groups – to open up choices for people. It’s better for health and well-being. It gives the community what it wants.

“It’s good to listen to other opinions and people’s experiences and try out new ideas. People bring fresh ideas and energy.”

If you are based in Northern Ireland and want to apply to our People and Communities programme, you can talk to us about your ideas before sending in an application form. Give us a call on 028 9055 1455 or email enquiries.ni@tnlcommunityfund.org.uk

“Find your circle of support and you can achieve anything.”

July 16, 2019

“Find your circle of support and you can achieve anything.” These are the words of Tasleem Billal, 37, from east Belfast. In 2012, tragedy struck Tasleem and her family, leaving her vulnerable, isolated, and unsure where to turn. But thanks to GLOW, a Belfast-based group using funding from The National Lottery Community Fund to help women to reach their goals, Tasleem was able to turn her life around. 

Mum of three Tasleem moved to Belfast after marrying her husband, Billy, in Pakistan. She and Billy had two children together, Mohammed and Jamal, but Tasleem struggled with the language and depended on Billy for everything. 

“Moving here was a big change for me,” said Tasleem. “My English wasn’t great, it was hard for me to understand people especially with the accent. My husband came with me to all my medical appointments and he dealt with all the finances.” 

Tasleem and her children were completely dependent on Billy. But in 2012, after nine years of marriageBilly passed away suddenly due to a blood clot in his lungs. 

“Billy’s parents moved us to east Belfast after the funeral so we could be near them. I knew I didn’t want to depend on them forever. The boys were struggling and I didn’t know how I was going to cope. 

“It was on one day, when I only had £20 left that I knew I had to do something. Jamal was crying because he wanted food and it was cold and the gas meter was about to run out and I just burst into tears.” 

Tasleem opened up about her problems to another mum at the school gates.  Fortunately for Tasleem, the woman she spoke to was Chara Clarke, the director at GLOW. 

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Tasleem and Chara at Tasleem’s home studio

GLOW delivers personal development, life skills and mentoring to women to empower them reach their goals. Since 2012 they’ve received around £150,000 of funding from The National Lottery Community Fund to support their work. 

Tasleem explained: “Chara was amazing. She helped me get a National Insurance number and apply for benefits. When I started receiving job seekers allowance of £70 a week it felt like £70 million.  

“I needed to look for a job but I had no work experience or confidence. Chara helped me realise that I have skills – I can thread eyebrows – and she invited me to GLOW to take part in some classes to get support and improve my confidence. 

“From the moment I walked into GLOW I felt at ease,” said Tasleem. “There were lots of other women in different situations, but we were all there to improve ourselves. 

Tasleem started a business threading eyebrows, working out of her living room. Since joining the group, Tasleem has gained the skills and confidence to expand her business. She now has a separate studio in her house where she does a range of beauty services, including nails, HD brows, and lashes. Thanks to National Lottery players, Tasleem has been able to come off benefits and support her family through her own earnings. But it’s her family’s happiness that she values most. 

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Tasleem has been able to expand her business to include a variety of services

My family in Pakistan are very proud of me and so are my children – they are what gives me strength,” she said. “Being a single mum is hard so working from home is really handy for me, but as the boys are getting older my next goal is to open up my own salon in east Belfast. 

I still miss Billy so much, but I found a circle of support and I found myself. 

Chara Clarke, director of GLOW said: “Having funding from The National Lottery Community Fund over the years has enabled GLOW to support many other women just like Tasleem.  

“We want to give these women confidence and self-esteem so they can discover their potential and go out and live a life that makes them happy and that makes a positive impact on their families and communities.” 

To find out more about GLOW, visit their website: https://www.glowni.com  

To learn about National Lottery funding in Northern Ireland, check out our website: https://www.tnlcommunityfund.org.uk/northern-ireland