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Lottery £50m to shelter VCS from funding cuts

25 October 2011

A funding lifeline of at least £50 million to support hundreds of vital Voluntary and Community Sector (VCS) projects and services is being announced today by the Big Lottery Fund (BIG).

The full impact on the VCS of cutbacks is still to come according to the National Council for Voluntary Organisations (NCVO) which estimates that voluntary and community groups will face a reduction in public funding of over £900 million by 2016, losing a total of £2.8 billion in that period.

Demand for services is expected to increase and BIG is planning its £50million cash injection in response to be awarded before the end of the financial year, bolstering the sector as it deals with the developing impact of funding cuts.

As part of the funding package, BIG has made £17million available to fund an additional 650 charitable and community projects through its two main open grants programmes, Reaching Communities and Awards for All. The grants, which have been made to a range of projects from family support schemes to employment and debt advice services, are designed to help the sector meet increased demand for support from communities and individuals most in need.

Over the next few months, BIG will also be offering grants of up to £10,000 to close to 1,000 existing BIG grant holders in the last 18 months of their projects to review the way they work and explore ways of becoming more sustainable. Activities could include developing a more effective operating model, partnership working, or finding new ways to deliver activities in future.

Projects that are having a particularly significant impact will also receive an additional year’s worth of funding to continue their project and carry out plans to make their projects more sustainable in the long term.

Nat Sloane, Chair of BIG’s England Committee, said: “We have listened to the sector who have made it very clear that the next few months are going to be a very difficult. There is likely to be a gradual and cumulative impact as services reduce or are withdrawn, and household income for some of the poorest and most vulnerable people and families in our society reduces further still.

“We have put a package together in response that allows us to support these services and projects to ensure they are getting the funding when they need it and to help them prepare for the increasingly difficult funding environment.

Sir Stuart Etherington, Chief Executive of National Council for Voluntary Organisations (NCVO) said: “This funding will provide some welcome relief for the sector during these challenging times, and help voluntary organisations to continue providing vital services.”

17 Comments leave one →
  1. 26 October 2011 12:00 pm

    Very welcome news for our sector. Spend it wisely folks!

  2. 26 October 2011 12:17 pm

    Interesting and a welcome move. I look forward to reading detail behind the funding news.

  3. 26 October 2011 12:56 pm

    Perhaps I’m just a little slow, or perhaps this is not worded clearly, but… the £50million cash injection BIG “is planning”, consists of

    – £17million in “grants, which have been made” already?
    – £10million which BIG “will also be offering [in] grants to existing BIG grant holders in the last 18 months of their projects
    – so where’s the rest, and how can charities apply in order to help them “prepare for the increasingly difficult funding environment.”?

    It might be better guys if you could create a simple table so we can see more easily what is new money and who is eligible to apply etc..

    • V Wilson permalink
      28 October 2011 7:45 am

      I totally agree. They may be paying out an extra £50m, but shouldn’t the majority of it be targeted at groups/organisations that haven’t had a lottery grant in the past couple of years, or that haven’t been eligible for the existing programmes which have tight restrictions?

    • Big Lottery Fund permalink
      28 October 2011 12:53 pm


      £17m has been added to the Reaching Communities and Awards for All budgets and has funded an extra 650 projects that have recently applied to us.

      Around 1,000 projects that are in the last 18 months of their funding will be eligible to receive awards of up to £10,000, which will help them to review their work and make plans to become more sustainable. In addition, these 1,000 projects will also be able to apply for an extra year’s worth of funding to continue and extend the benefits of their project and carry out plans to make their projects more sustainable in the long term if they can show the project is having a particularly significant impact. We are contacting grant holders that are eligible.

      • 28 October 2011 3:28 pm

        Would this include projects funded through Transition Fund. Surely they are equally deserving and suffering from austerity measures.

      • Big Lottery Fund permalink
        31 October 2011 3:47 pm

        This Supporting Change & Impact funding is targeted at BIG’s Lottery funded projects that are in the last 18 months of their funding, enabling them to review the way they work and plan for the future.

        While the Transition Fund is being delivered by the Big Lottery Fund (through its non-Lottery arm, BIG Fund) it is a government funded programme.

  4. 27 October 2011 7:59 am

    This is much needed!

  5. KimG permalink
    31 October 2011 2:14 pm

    Does this include projects funded under Access to Nature (BIG lottery via Natural England)?

    • 14 November 2011 3:21 pm

      I also asked about projects funded under transition fund but have received no response from BIG.

      • Big Lottery Fund permalink*
        14 November 2011 4:24 pm

        Hi Nasim

        The short answer is no, the Transition Fund is not covered by this. While the Transition Fund is delivered by BIG, it is not funded by BIG, it is funded through the Office for Civil Society, Cabinet Office. The Supporting Change & Impact programme supports BIG funded projects. Hope this helps.

      • 15 November 2011 9:30 am

        Can someone in BIG take on the responsibility to ask if Transition Fund project can receive further financial support please.

      • Big Lottery Fund permalink*
        5 December 2011 10:51 am

        Hi Nasim – many apologies for the delay in responding. Having looked into your query, we understand the OCS has no plans to add more money to the Transition Fund.

  6. martin moorman permalink
    11 November 2011 5:11 pm

    Hi, With regard to your announcement about Big Lottery and £50M of extra funding, please see the mesaage I posted to your team 2 weeks ago. Sadly, until BL see fit to making a fair and transparent application process I won’t be wasting my time on future bids for funding.

    Thank you for your request for feedback on BL.

    Message sent below in October 2011

    I’m happy to provide email feedback here, but not happy to spend a minimum of 15 minutes completing your online questionnaire.

    I have consistently found BL applications to be extremely frustrating: I have submitted 4 applications for BL funding on behalf of the Friends of Ravenscliffe (Reg Charity 1071795) over the last 2 years. all 4 applications have been rejected, despite our ability to meet your essential funding criteria square on within each bid. All 4 bids reflected applications that would have advantaged significant numbers of children and vulnerable adults with a wide range of learning difficulties and the wider mainstream community as well.

    When I first considered a BL application I was warned by a colleague who is an expert in the field of ‘bid writing’, that ‘it wasn’t called lottery for nothing.’ He was cynical about how funding was allocated believing that it was arbitrary at best. My frequent subsequent experiences have consistently matched this projection.

    In short a BL application is a hugely bureaucratic and time consuming process with applicants having very little liklihood of getting approval. This is wrong because really valuable and sustainable projects for society’s most vulnerable young people are rejected often, it appears, on technicalities.

    I, for one, am not prepared to waste my time and the time of FoR on a process that is so flawed. So until the process is improved to my satisfaction I will not be seeking lottery funding for future projects, no matter how valuable they are. It is pointless!

    Please feel free to add these comments into your evaluation questionaire and to pass them on to the lead personnel who decide on the application process and procedure., But please don’t expect people like me to engage more wasted time in such a fruitless process.

    Thank you for reading this email. I would appreciate at least an acknowledgment that you have received it.

    Martin Moorman Headteacher Ravenscliffe High School

    • Big Lottery Fund permalink*
      14 November 2011 11:49 am

      Hi Martin

      Thank you for your comments. I have forwarded them to colleagues for inclusion with the evaluation questionnaire results.



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