There are currently four opportunities to join our team for people who are passionate about supporting communities in Wales. So to give people an idea what it’s like working at the National Lottery Community Fund, we interviewed Liz, a Funding Officer in our Cardiff office, and Hywel, a Funding Officer in our Newtown office, to give you the inside scoop…
Tell us a bit about what the National Lottery Community Fund does.
Liz: The National Lottery Community Fund distributes the funds raised by people playing the National Lottery. We give out money to organisations who make a real difference to people throughout the UK.
What made you decide to join the National Lottery Community Fund?
Liz: I started with the fund five years ago as a temp. Before I was told about the job I didn’t know much about the Fund and what they did so I had to do some research to find out. I have always chosen to work in the third sector because it’s important to me that my job makes a difference. Everything I found showed that the Fund was working to improve the lives of people who are most in need and I wanted to be part of that.
Hywel: I have been with the Fund for over 18 years. I was at a stage in my life when I fancied a new challenge with regular hours. I had previously been self-employed and a director for various manufacturing companies for over 20 years. The thought of giving out money and helping others for a living as opposed to chasing money from creditors appealed greatly.
What has surprised you the most since joining?
Liz: How large the National Lottery Community Fund is! We are the biggest distributor of National Lottery funds and we reach people in every part of the UK. I work on our small grants programme which means that I have had the chance to work with people from the whole of Wales.
Hywel: After the initial massive shock of working in the public sector as opposed to the private sector, the biggest surprise is that I am still here! I honestly thought I would move on after a few years but the variety of the work, the flexible working conditions and in particular the projects funded, have made me re-evaluate my priorities.
What’s been your highlight?
Liz: I was lucky enough to be part of the first ‘Surprise Lottery Letter’. We know that grants from us make a huge difference to the people we work with. Generally we let people know their application has have been funded by an email or letter. However, a colleague in our communications team, decided to try out telling people face to face and filming it so that we could see their energy and passion and share it. It was amazing! The group were so pleased to be funded and we were in the room which was going to be transformed by the project so we were able to see the impact it was going to have.
Hywel: The highlight for me is being able speak Welsh daily, both to internal colleagues, but more importantly with applicants, grant holders and their beneficiaries from all over Wales. I had very little opportunity to use my mother tongue in my previous work.
If someone becomes a Funding Officer, what can they expect to do on a day-to-day basis?
Liz: I work on our small grants programme National Lottery Awards for All. I spend most of my day assessing applications and supporting grant holders. This involves reviewing applications, writing reports, planning payments for groups, and answering calls and emails. But it’s more fun than it sounds! We get to see what groups want to do and how they want to make an impact on their communities. We also get to help them achieve these goals. It’s great to speak to someone after they have completed a project and find out the real difference it’s made to their community.
I also go out to communities to speak to groups who are thinking of applying, we talk through the requirements of the programme and what they would need to do to apply to us. It’s great to see people’s ideas for their community and how they develop them into fantastic projects.
Hywel: A bit of everything. Clearly you will be required to assess and provide judgement on a range of applications from £300 to £500,000, and potentially manage those grants. This will involve contact with people, both in an advisory and supporting capacity. You will be expected to work as part of a team (which can also include making cups of tea!), but can expect full support from colleagues in return. You can expect to get out and about to meet potential and current grant holders and evidence for yourself the great work they do.
What would you say to people who are thinking about applying to join us but aren’t 100% sure?
Liz: The Funding Officer role is varied which gives people the chance to make it their own. We work to our strengths so whatever your strength is it will be valued.
Hywel: Give it a go. Your knowledge and skills, in whatever field, may be just what the Fund requires.
And any words of wisdom for those who are applying?
Liz: Give us a ring, it’s always useful to have chat with someone to make sure that the job is right for you and it’s a great way of finding out more about us.
Hywel: Demonstrate your passion for wanting to make a difference and you’ll be fine.
Interested in working at the National Lottery Community Fund? To better represent the communities we work with, we are keen to recruit people from a wide variety of backgrounds.
To find out more information or to apply, please click here.