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Meet Catrin Davies: How to turn your ideas into a reality

February 1, 2016

When you’ve trawled the internet for information about funding and you’ve read reams of guidance notes, sometimes there is nothing better than having a good old fashioned telephone conversation. That’s where I come in. My role at the Big Lottery Fund as Communications Assistant is to provide information and advice on applying for grants.

An enquiry that I often encounter is that of eligibility – ‘will the Big Lottery fund our project?’ unfortunately there is no straightforward answer and sometimes projects are ineligible. That isn’t to say that they aren’t brilliant ideas, but that is often the problem, they are still only ideas.

How to develop your idea into a reality.

Firstly, you need to ensure that you are able to apply and that your organisation is eligible for Big Lottery Funding. Specific requirements vary from programme to programme but our basic criteria is that:

  • you are a not-for-profit constituted group
  • you have a UK bank account that requires at least two unrelated people to sign each cheque or withdrawal
  • you have a governing body with at least three unrelated members residing on the board

I often advise that people visit the WCVA Getting Started webpage if their organisation doesn’t meet these requirements. This webpage is full of handy information on how to establish a group eligible for Big Lottery funding and it even includes a model constitution to help you along.

Secondly is research. You need to make sure that your project is something that the Big Lottery will fund and what better way to do this than by doing some research. You also need to find out whether Big Lottery funding is the best option for your organisation. You may discover that your project doesn’t quite fit with our aims or that it is more suited to other lottery money distributors (here is a link to all other lottery distributors Information about our programmes can be found online but you can also request a hard copy by calling our Advice Line.

Thirdly, it is essential that you can evidence a strong rational for your project and that it’s something that the community needs. Top tip: If you intend on applying to our larger grants programmes, I often recommend applying to Awards for All first so that you can test and pilot your project. It also demonstrates to us that you can manage a grant, as an element of our assessment is based on your organisation’s project management experience. By completing these essential steps, you should be ready to start filling in your application.

Remember, no question is too small and you can call us with any query you may have on 0300 123 0735, email us at or sign up to our eBulletin for Big Lottery Fund news.

Why not like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter @BigLotteryWales for more handy hints.

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