Applying for a grant: A beginner’s guide

Assistance Dogs Northern Ireland 16Do you have an idea for a community project? Will the project improve the lives of people most in need in your community? If so, you may be able to apply to the Big Lottery Fund for a grant to turn your project idea into a reality.

Like other funders, we cannot give grants to individuals. To be eligible to apply for money from us, you need to be a UK-based not-for-profit organisation. You do not need to be a registered charity to apply, for example you could also be a community or voluntary group, a company limited by guarantee, a school, a community or town council or a health body. Before you apply you will need.

 A governing document, such as a constitution  This document must set out the name and purpose of your organisation. It should also cover how it will work, including how people can join; how your committee will operate; when you will have meetings; how your finances will be managed and a policy for what happens if the organisation closes (a dissolution clause). A model constitution can be found on the Charity Commission’s website.

A committee or board  This should be made up of at least three members who are not related to each other or living at the same address.

A UK bank account  – The account must be in your organisation’s name (as written on the constitution). At least two of the unrelated committee members are required to approve the withdrawal or spending of money.

 Annual Financial Accounts – If your organisation is still in its first 12 months, provide us with a projection listing any expected spending and income (including any funding you are applying for) over the next year. Accounts must clearly state the name of your organisation (as on the constitution) and show the start and end dates for the 12-month period they cover (for example, 1 April 2015 to 31 March 2016).

I am not sure how to set up an organisation. Where can I get help?

Getting your organisation set up can seems overwhelming at first, but the good news is there is a wealth of information and support to help you.

The Wales Council for Voluntary Action (WCVA) website covers most of the things you need to know about starting a voluntary group, including the different types of structures that are available, and what you might need to consider when deciding whether you should register your organisation as a charity or not.  If you need any further support, contact your local voluntary council.

Right, we have got all that in place. What next?

Check out our funding finder to find out which grant programme is most suitable for your project. Our two main programmes are:

  • Awards for All Wales which offers grants from £300 to £10,000 for projects lasting up to 1 year; and
  • People and Places which funds £10,001 to £500,000 for projects lasting up to 5 years.

Our responsibility is to fund community projects that help those most in need. If you are looking to fund a sports, arts or heritage project, check our guide to find out who is the most suitable lottery funding body for your project.

So what kind of projects have you already funded?

Some great examples of projects we have funded through Awards for All Wales include St David’s Hospice’s project to support patients in the Conwy area
living with fatigue, anxiety and breathlessness illnesses and Same but Different’s project which’s raised awareness of rare diseases and syndromes by developing high-quality profiles and case studies of people living with rare conditions, and publishing them on the internet.

Examples of larger projects funded through People and Places include the Down to Earth project’s Building Communities project where vulnerable adults quite literally build their own community training facility and Age Cymru Gwynedd a Môn’s Cadwyn Môn project, which provides friendship and companionship for people over the age of 50 living on Anglesey.

If you have any questions about applying, contact our advice team on 0300 123 0735 or They are always happy to have a chat and point you in the right direction.

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