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7 myths about the Big Lottery Fund in Wales

October 17, 2016

54 percent of applications are written by volunteers. You don't need to be an expert to applyWritten by Andrea Clarke, communications manager.

As the biggest funder outside of Government distributing around £30 million in Wales every year, you would think we would be a popular choice for community groups. When I am out in communities, I am often struck by the myths about our funding and those that choose not to apply because of them.

Here are the top 7 myths about the Big Lottery Fund in Wales that I’m happy to debunk…

  1. You need to be a fundraising expert to apply

The majority of applications that we receive are written by volunteers. For larger grants of several thousands of pounds, organisations sometimes have a paid fundraiser. However there is no evidence that this produces a better application. It is important to us that the person writing the application knows about the project.

  1. If you get rejected, you can’t re apply

We give feedback on all applications that are unsuccessful.  On the majority of grant programmes like Awards for All and People and Places we will accept reapplications as long as they can address the initial feedback.

  1. You won’t fund overheads

We can fund a proportion of your organisations overheads (rent/heating/lighting/legal/HR). The rules differ depending on the programme you are applying to but as a rough guide, overheads are normally 10% of your project budget. For more information check out our guidance

  1. We are unlikely to get funding

If you apply for a grant of £5,000 or less, success rates are above 65%.

  1. You won’t fund organisations that have reserves

We believe financial reserves are a good thing and that they help an organisation to weather any changes or funding cuts. We encourage organisations to build their reserves.

  1. You only fund big charities

While we do fund national charities, small charities and community groups are equally as important to us. In fact, we give out more grants below £5,000 than big grants every year.

  1. You like to see a high number of beneficiaries

We like to see projects work with a realistic number of beneficiaries and monitor and evaluate the difference being made to people’s lives. This means that if you state your project will benefit your entire village or every young person we are unlikely to fund it- as we think the plans are over ambitious. Footfall is less important to us than meaningful engagement.


For more information our Advice Teams are on hand to guide you through our funding and answer any questions you may have. You can contact us by calling 0300 123 0735 or emailing

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