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Advice team’s guide to…the journey of an application

3 March 2016

I have applied for a Big Lottery Fund grant. Now what?

Every month, Big Lottery Fund receives hundreds of applications asking for money from one of our funding programmes. Understandably, we get asked a lot of questions about what happens after an application is submitted and how it is processed.

So, we thought we would follow the journey of a typical application form for our Reaching Communities England programme with a camera, the results…well see for yourself!

It’s arrived!IMG_0220---blog-size

Your application form has arrived safely in Newcastle where one of our funding officers will pick it up and check that everything is there.

If the form has been filled in correctly, you will receive a project ID number from us and it will then be passed onto the assessment team.

If there are details missing, we will contact you to let you know and you will have 10 working days to send us the missing information.

Assessment time

IMG_0229---blog-sizeThe next thing that happens in the Reaching Communities application journey is a funding officer will assess the application against our criteria. They will also gather input from our Local teams working throughout the country who will offer local context. At that point, they will make a decision whether to invite you to go forward to the next stage.

We receive around 230 Stage one Reaching Communities applications a month; and work through all of them to ensure the information is fully assessed. For this reason, we ask for your patience and give a timeframe of about eight weeks from us receiving your application to letting you know whether it made it through to Stage 2.

Typically, a quarter of Reaching Communities applications are accepted to go through to the next stage.

Stage 2IMG_0215---blog-size

If you are invited to Stage 2, you will receive an email from the funding officer with the Stage 2 form, guidance documents, and other relevant information. You will also get a courtesy call to let you know the result. At this point the funding officer will also provide feedback covering areas that may need additional information or areas that may require particular attention.

You have about four months to return the Stage 2 application to us. Again, it will be checked for completeness and if incomplete you will have 10 working days to send us the missing information.

The complete application form will be assessed by a funding officer against our set criteria and they may contact you to ask more questions about your project.

If you are not invited to the next stage you will receive notification by email containing feedback.

 The panel

IMG_0235---blog-sizeOnce the application form has been given the green light by our funding officers, it is allocated to a fortnightly decision making panel of senior managers. The panel consider all applications under £500k, looking and making a final decision on around 30 applications at a time.

These panels typically approve about £7.5m of funding at each session.  Around 80% of Stage 2 applications are approved for funding.

Larger applications are recommended for decision by our England Committee which meets periodically.

At this point, if the application is not successful, you will receive a written notification including feedback.

Success Street-Dreams---Out-of-the-Dark-022---blog-size

If successful a funding officer will contact you by telephone and we will send a contract to be signed and returned. This typically occurs within 12 to 16 weeks of us receiving the Stage 2 application.

You will have four weeks to accept the grant contract and the project must start within six months.

Your project will be allocated a named funding officer who will provide constant support throughout the life of your grant, including through the monitoring and reporting period.

We hope this blog post has helped you gain a better understanding of the Reaching Communities application process. Please bear in mind that timescales are approximate, and subject to change.

There is more information on the Reaching Communities programme on the Big Lottery Fund website.

You can find out more about our Advice team, from our help and support page or by calling 0345 4 10 20 30.

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