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Tips for applying for funding for community buildings

August 7, 2018

Need funding to build or refurbish a community centre or hub? We’ve put together answers to the most commonly asked questions about applying to help guide you through the application process. These questions are based on applying to our People and Places programme which offers grants of £10,001 to £500,000 for 1 to 5 years.

  • Why is your project important?

Firstly we need to know that your project is something that really matters to your community and that you wouldn’t be duplicating the services of other facilities in the area. If the facility is already being used, you will need to show a significant enhancement or expansion to the services offered.

We also need to be sure that the wider community supports the project you are asking us to fund. You should have or should be planning to engage with the people that currently use your building (if there is one), potential people that would use the building, as well as organisations and community groups in your area that could benefit from using the building. Try to get them involved in the process as early as possible so they can get meaningfully involved in designing and delivering the project and its activities.

  • The project impacts and benefits

We need to be sure what the impact of the project would be. A good way to think of the impact is by considering the consequences of what would happen if the project didn’t occur. The impact can be on a range of things – parents, carers, practitioners, volunteers as well as the environment and other organisations but you should focus on what impact it will have on your community as a whole.

It’s also worth considering what strengths are already in your community and how they can enhance the benefits and impacts of your project. For example, think about where people in your community currently meet up, who group leaders are and what skills they have that could support the project. If your community has an existing building that you would like to redevelop, think about what makes it unique and how that aspect of it can be enhanced for your proposed project.

  • Do an options appraisal for the capital work

An options appraisal should give details of all the options you have explored, including leaving things as they are, moving to rentable premises, moving to larger/smaller premises, sharing premises, adapting an existing building, or even providing transport to a nearby existing building. For example, if you are thinking of applying for a village hall then think about whether there’s a similar, underused facility in a nearby village that you could use instead. You should also include an estimated cost and a risk assessment for each option considered as we need to see that the building will be good value for money.

  • Managing the facility

You should consider how the facility would be managed; who will be responsible for the wear and tear of the building and how your organisation could generate sufficient income to ensure that future overheads and bills can be paid. Consider how you will ensure ongoing use of the building – for example, if lots of organisations will be using it you may want to construct a timetable to show how the facility would be used in the long-term.

  • How detailed does your plan need to be?

If you’re applying for a People and Places capital development grant or are applying for a stage one large grant then you need to make sure to have a building design as well as building professionals in place before you send us your application. If you’re applying through People and Places medium grants then you’ll need to make sure that your project is at RIBA stage 4.

Our full Land and building guidance notes further information are available on our People and Places webpages. Click here to see our Medium grants webpage, and click here to see our Large grants webpage.

If you have any questions about applying, contact us on 0300 123 0735 or wales@biglotteryfund.org.uk. We’re always happy to have a chat and point you in the right direction.

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