Big Lottery Fund Scotland Director Jackie Killeen is keen to hear from projects across Scotland. Here she tells why:
“As winter approaches we know everybody in the third sector busy working to meet the needs of their beneficiaries while planning for the future and supporting staff and volunteers. This year has been an interesting one so far. I hear people talking about new ideas and fresh opportunities, mixed with real challenges and concerns about the future.
I want to make sure that the funding available from the Big Lottery Fund works as hard as possible across the whole of the country, reaching and helping to improve lives for as many people as possible.
In this financial year we have £105.54 million to commit to people and projects here in Scotland. And I think it is timely that we set out a clear stall for the rest of the year, so that we can play our role in supporting you to make a difference in communities.
So I want to make three commitments.
- First, we have a large grants budget this financial year, with over £105 million available in Scotland overall. We have already funded many excellent projects – but we still have plenty of funding available to support many more. The majority of those funds are in our mainstream Investing in Communities programme.
Through Investing in Communities we make grants of up to £1 million for projects lasting up to five years. You can apply at any time and we are welcoming new applications now.
- Second, there’s never been more help to apply. From early conversations with our staff over your first idea or your draft form, to more intensive support from a dedicated development worker. We can offer development funding if you need it, or access to our specialist contracted professional help on finances and self evaluation. Once you apply we are committed to helping applicants with the right ideas to get their projects off the ground.
And once you hold a grant with us we provide a one to one relationship with our staff which is flexible and responsive to the help you need.
- Third, if you start an application journey with us in Investing in Communities, you are more likely than ever to be funded. We tailor our advice to help you put together the strongest bid possible. And we won’t ask you to fill in a full application form unless we think you have a high chance of success. If we do ask you to complete a second stage application you can be sure it’s worth the effort – we currently fund four out of five of the Stage 2 applications we receive. And Investing in Communities has more funding available than any other programme we run in Scotland year on year.
As Investing In Communities is open all the time you have an even chance of success throughout the year. However I know that a funding deadline can focus the mind. And certainly we’ve received big responses to programmes we’ve run this year with deadlines. So if a deadline helps your planning process, consider this: if you apply before the end of October you are likely to have a decision on funding in time for the new financial year.
This all means that I’d like to encourage you to take the time to talk to us. Our funds are focused on clear outcomes, and we receive many good bids. In these difficult times we aim to support the best work to bring improvements to communities and people most in need. Although we are unlikely to be able to support every idea, we are keen to work with you to find out if we could support yours.
So, with significant funding available, more help along the way, a high chance of success – could Investing in Communities be for you?”