Big Lottery Fund offers £4.5m funding to support local social action

Under the Place Based Social Action programme, organisations can apply for an initial £5,000, which could become as much as £500,000

The Big Lottery Fund and the Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport are offering £4.5m of funding to projects that will support social action in local communities.

The Place Based Social Action programme, which has opened to expressions of interest, is offering up to £500,000 of funding to partnerships that will help people improve their local areas.

Guidance on the scheme provided by the BLF, which will provide funding until December 2024, says this could include activity such as helping people and organisations to take action on issues that matter to them or encouraging new ways of working so that local people have more influence over and ownership of local services.

The guidance says that applications should come from local partnerships, which could involve community members, local charities or business, or representatives from the local authority.

Each application must be endorsed by the relevant local authority and only one application can be made per local authority area.

Up to 20 applications will be selected for initial funding of £5,000 to create plans setting out how social action can help respond to local priorities.

From those successful applications, 10 will be chosen to apply for phase two, when funding of up to £240,000 will be available for each scheme.

Five of those will later be selected to apply for phase three, when an additional £255,000 will be available to each project.

Tracey Crouch, the Minister for Sport and Civil Society, said: “People know what are the most important matters in their local areas, and this joint funding will help communities come together and drive the change they want to see. I am looking forward to seeing the positive impact this investment will have.”

Expressions of interest can be made until 28 November.

For more information, click here.

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Big Lottery Fund defends itself from criticism by Tory MPs

Nadine Dorries, Andrew Bridgen and Peter Bone have slammed the BLF after press stories revealed that it gave out more per head of population in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland than in England

The Big Lottery Fund has defended its grant-making policies after Conservative MPs questioned the way it allocated spending in different parts of the UK.

The Tory MPs Nadine Dorries, Andrew Bridgen and Peter Bone criticised the grant-making body, whose annual report showed that it spent more per person in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland than in England, according to reports in The Daily Telegraph and the Daily Mail newspapers.

But the BLF said it allocated funding according to need, not just population size, although it did take that into account.

According to the BLF annual report for the year to 31 March 2017, it spent £509.6m on grants in England last year, which works out at £9.32 per capita, whereas Scotland received £76m, or £14.04 a head, Wales received £44.3m, or £14.29 a head, and Northern Ireland’s £27m broke down to £14.21 a head. The annual report showed that an additional £56m was set aside for UK-wide projects.

The newspaper reports did not mention that, according to the annual report, England received the vast majority of the country-specific funding, on 78 per cent, while Scotland received 11 per cent, Wales received 6.35 per cent and Northern Ireland 4.65 per cent.

Bone, the MP for Wellingborough, said: “The Big Lottery Fund needs to look more carefully at how it distributes money.

“The Scottish already get far more in public money per head of population than the English, so you’d think in that case they’d be getting less lottery money.”

He said he believed this would annoy those in his constituency who were struggling to get by and there were a number of good causes there that deserved the funding.

Dorries, the MP for Mid Bedfordshire, called for a review of how the BLF allocated funding, and Bridgen, who represents the North West Leicestershire constituency, said people would be shocked by the figures, according to the Daily Mail.

But a BLF spokeswoman said: “Population is one key factor we take into consideration when determining our funding, but we do so alongside other social and economic factors.

“We continually review the allocation of our funding to ensure people across the UK can access it, and that it makes the biggest possible difference to people and communities.”

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Big Lottery Fund renews social entrepreneurs funding with £2.6m grant

The Big Lottery Fund has given the School for Social Entrepreneurs a grant of £2.6m, renewing its funding for social entrepreneurs.

The grant will support 1,300 social entrepreneurs over the next five years with grants of up to £10,000, building on the 1,300 already supported through BLF’s work with the Lloyds Bank Social Entrepreneurs Programme, in partnership with SSE, since the programme was launched in 2012.

Students also attend a year-long SSE learning programme to help them start up, grow or scale their organisation, and receive mentoring from Lloyds Banking Group.

James Harcourt, grant making director for England at the Big Lottery Fund, said: “Collaborations like this allow us to maximise the impact of our funding, and the entrepreneurial aspect of the programme aligns with our commitment to putting people in the lead and having a positive impact in communities across England.”

The sixth cohort of the programme will begin in October 2017. People interested in applying can register their interest at

The local charities support organisation Localgiving is to host a series of webinars in the build-up to the launch of this year’s match-funding Grow your Tenner campaign.

The campaign begins on 17 October and runs until the match funding runs out or on 16 November, whichever is sooner. The focus of the 2017 campaign is monthly giving with Localgiving aiming to help charities and community groups attract long-term supporters.

Donors will be able to support a Localgiving charity or community group by either making a one-time donation which will be matched up to £10 or setting up a monthly donation. After a donor’s first six donations, the following six will be matched up to £10.

Localgiving said it will run four webinars for its member charities: Grow your tenner 2017 – an introduction; Reaching new audiences online; How to make the most of a match fund campaign, and; How to attract regular donors online between 21 September and 12 October.

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People’s Postcode Lottery opens applications for a share of £4m funding

The lottery is offering money to grassroots sports and arts projects, wildlife projects and those which promote human rights

Three funding pots totalling more than £4m are available for charities and community groups from the People’s Postcode Lottery for projects tacking poverty or supporting human rights, wildlife or recreation.

Projects can apply for grants of between £500 and £20,000 between now and 28 August.

The money will be allocated through three separate trusts: the People’s Postcode Trust, which is seeking to fund projects that focus on preventing poverty, promoting human rights and conflict resolution for vulnerable groups; the Postcode Local Trust which is looking to fund projects supporting wildlife, sustainability, play areas and green spaces; and the Postcode Community Trust, which focuses on grass-roots sports, arts, recreation and healthy living programmes.

Clara Govier, head of charities at People’s Postcode Lottery, said: “More than £4m injected into grass roots projects across Great Britain will have a tremendous impact in local communities.

“Between the three trusts, a very wide range of causes are supported, so I’d urge groups to have a look at the websites to see where their project fits – no matter how big or small – and get applying.”

More than 400 projects, including sports clubs, mental health groups and wildlife conservation charities were awarded with grants in the lottery’s last funding round.

In a statement the People’s Postcode Lottery said its players had raised more than £221.2m for more than 3,000 good causes since it started in 2005.

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Big Lottery Fund income down by £60m last year

The figure, shown in its accounts for the year to 31 March, reflects a cut of £120m in the amount received from the National Lottery

The Big Lottery Fund’s overall income fell by about £60m last year after a £120m decrease in the amount of money it received from the National Lottery, its latest accounts show.

According to the BLF’s annual report and accounts for the year to 31 March 2017, published yesterday, overall income fell from £820.2m the previous year to £762.1m.

This came after a near £120m fall in proceeds from the National Lottery, which declined from £769.3m in 2015/16 to less than £652m last year.

But the BLF also received £94.5m in dormant bank account money from the Reclaim Fund, a significant increase on the £37.2m it received the year before, the accounts show.

Last month, figures from the Gambling Commission showed that the total amount of money given to the National Lottery Distribution Fund in the 2016/17 financial year was £1.63bn, a fall of 15 per cent on the £1.93bn handed over in 2015/16.

A statement at the time by Camelot, the company that runs the National Lottery, said the value of ticket sales in 2016/17 had fallen from a record of £7.6bn to £6.9bn.

Camelot said it had launched a strategic review to work out how to boost player interest.

The BLF accounts also show that its grant expenditure increased from £593.4m to £717.4m, with total expenditure increasing from £715.5m to £876.3m.

This means there is a £114.3m gap between the BLF’s income and expenditure for the 2016/17 financial year.

In a statement, a BLF spokeswoman said: “Last year, we awarded £712.7m and supported 13,814 projects in communities across the UK. In the past decade we have seen fluctuations in income and yet have awarded more than £8.5bn to people who have great ideas to support their communities and help them to thrive. 

“In addition to National Lottery revenue, our income includes funding we distribute on behalf of third parties and dormant accounts. These can vary and we anticipate awarding more than half a billion pounds to support people and communities across the UK next year.”

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National Lottery good-cause money fell by £293.5m last year

Declining figures for the year to March 31 2017 have prompted the operator Camelot to carry out a review

The amount of money raised for good causes by the National Lottery in the year to March 31 2017 fell by £293.5m on the year before, according to the latest figures.

The lottery operator Camelot blamed a fall in sales but warned that it expected them to fall further this year and has launched a review in a bid to boost player interest.

Figures from the Gambling Commission show the total amount of money given to the National Lottery Distribution Fund in the 2016/17 financial year was £1.63bn, a fall of 15 per cent on the £1.93bn handed over in 2015/16.

In the final quarter of 2016/17 (January to March 2017), £428.4m was raised, £135.1m (24 per cent) lower than in the same period the year before. A note accompanying the statistics said there had been a record performance in that quarter of 2015/16 because of a Lotto rollover peak in January.

In a statement this week, Camelot said ticket sales in 2016/17 were 8.8 per cent lower than in the year before, having fallen from 2015/16’s record-breaking total of £7.6bn to £6.9bn.

The lottery operator said it had launched a strategic review to find out how to boost player interest.

Although 2016/17 was still the fourth-best sales performance since the National Lottery began in 1994, Camelot said the review would focus on four key areas: commercial plans to boost sales performance, investment in technology and systems, the existing business structure and long-term succession.

The review will be led by Nigel Railton, chief executive of Camelot Global, who took over Camelot’s UK operations when Andy Duncan, the UK chief executive, stepped down in April.

Jo Taylor, chair of Camelot, said: “Achieving the fourth-highest level of sales ever, creating a record number of lottery millionaires and raising more than £30m every week for good causes is no mean feat.

“However, sales in 2016/17 fell well short of where we’d like them to be, and that’s largely down to a disappointing year for draw-based games and Lotto in particular.”

She said there was work to be done to re-engage players and address the performance of draw-based games, which would be a key focus for the review.

But she said: “Given the current climate of economic uncertainty and increasing competition from the gambling sector, we expect 2017/18 to be equally if not more challenging for the National Lottery.

“It will therefore take time to turn things around and I anticipate a further sales decline this year.”

But she said she was confident the review would enable the company to put the business on the best possible footing to get back into growth.

In a statement, Camelot said it would publish an update on the review when it announced its half-year sales later in the year.

The price of a ticket for the main Lotto game was increased from £1 to £2 in October 2013.

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Association of Chairs receives £463,000 grant from the Big Lottery Fund

The three-year grant will enable the membership body to work with chairs to build their skills, knowledge and confidence, and to reduce their sense of isolation

The Association of Chairs has received a grant of £463,000 from the Big Lottery Fund to a support and development programme for chairs and vice-chairs of small charities in England

The association said that the three-year grant would enable it to work with chairs to build their skills, knowledge and confidence, and to reduce their sense of isolation and help them be more effective. 

The association said that under the programme it would consult with chairs and vice-chairs of charities with annual incomes of under £1m about the support they need. It would also run a series of workshops throughout England, offer webinars and online surgeries and open an online discussion forum.

The association said that it hoped to reach about 6,000 chairs and vice-chairs through the programme.

The association already receives funding from the Garfield Weston Foundation to support its work with medium-sized charities and said the latest grant would help it to reach many more charity chairs.

Ros Oakley, executive director at the AoC, said in a statement: “We are delighted that the Big Lottery Fund has not only recognised the key role of the chair and the need to support chairs to undertake the role effectively, but is also making a real investment in making it happen. From what we have learned in our three and half years working with chairs, we know we can make a difference to their confidence and approach to governance. This is a real endorsement of our progress to date.”

The association was founded in 2013 to help address the relatively little support chairs of charities receive.

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