Funding for faith-based organisations: a quick guide

*This blog was updated on 12/04/18. This was to take into account changes to our application process. 

When we talk to faith-based organisations, they are often surprised to find out that they might be able to access our funding! Because of this, we thought it would be a good idea to try and deal with a few of the most common questions, issues and misconceptions. Here we go:

I don’t think we can accept money from the The National Lottery Community Fund because of its links to the National Lottery. Do you run the National Lottery?


It’s important to note that the The National Lottery Community Fund doesn’t run the National Lottery. The National Lottery is run by a separate organisation, Camelot, and a proportion of the income they generate is given to the UK government. The government, which set up The National Lottery Community Fund along with a number of other distributors, gives some of this money to us to distribute to good causes throughout the UK.

Can faith-based organisations apply for The National Lottery Community Fund grants?

Yes. Faith-based groups (including places of worship, religious organisations, or charities with religious values) can apply for most of our grants, so long as they have the following things in place.

  • A committee or board with at least two unrelated members (or three if applying for more than £10,000)
  • A governing document such as a constitution
  • A bank account in the organisation’s name
  • Annual financial accounts.

Applicant organisations don’t have to be registered charities. They just have to have charitable or social aims, and meet our basic requirements laid out above. You can read more about these requirements here.

What type of activities can faith-based organisations use The National Lottery Community Fund grants for?

Faith-based organisations can apply to run the same kinds of activities as any other groups applying.

The main thing faith-based groups need to be aware of is that we cannot fund the practice of religion, or any activities that actively promote religion or particular belief systems (or indeed the lack of belief). This is because these activities could exclude people from accessing a project on religious grounds.

Can The National Lottery Community Fund support projects with religious elements?

Potentially. Our main consideration is whether these activities could exclude people from accessing your project. For example, we couldn’t fund a counselling project that requires all users to make a religious pledge before taking part. But if users were given the option to opt out from this pledge without it affecting their participation, we could consider funding the activity.

Can The National Lottery Community Fund support community buildings within places of worship – like church halls?

Yes. We regularly fund minor refurbishment and upgrades for the likes of church halls through National Lottery Awards for All Scotland. We recognise that these are important assets in many communities, and host a wide range of other groups and activities. That said, we would not typically fund a building (or parts of a building) that is used primarily as either a place of worship or for other religious activities. However, our sister organisation the The National Lottery Heritage Fund can potentially fund places of worship where they are of particular heritage value.

Do any of The National Lottery Community Fund’s grants come from sources other than The National Lottery?

Yes. Most of our funding comes from The National Lottery, but we also administer some grants in Scotland that distribute money from other sources. For example, we run the Young Start fund which is solely run and funded using money from dormant bank accounts . We also run funds for the likes of the Scottish Government, so it’s worth checking with us if you are interested.

Any other questions? Not sure if you can apply?

Get in touch! You can find our contact details here.


    • Hi there – I’m afraid we can only fund projects that are being run in the UK, by UK based organisations, so we would not be able to consider offering you funding. Good luck with your project.

  1. We are a church organisation raising funds towards a community building .We are mainly black minority and our building will benefit the church as well as the community as we are planning to have a day centre facility and engage in other activities to benefit the community.We are based in Leicester.

  2. Hello does this article relate specifically to Scotland? Or does it hold true for all the big lottery awards? We are an open faith based group that is inclusive to all and are looking for funds to build a small structure and garden in England.

    • Hello Chris – sorry not to get back to you sooner. I’ve been on leave, and it seems that the notification of this message came to my personal email not my team.

      Although this piece was written from a Scottish perspective, and with that audience in mind, our approach is similar across the UK. Generally speaking, most of our grants programmes can support faith-based organisations, so long as the activities you are asking us to fund are open to all regardless of faith, and not directly promoting religion.

      If you’d like to discuss your possibilities for funding, I’d suggest getting in touch with our England Advice team on or 0345 4 10 20 30.

      Hope that helps, if a little late!

  3. we are faith NGO involved in research,training,linkage in agriculture and focusing on the most disadvantaged in community. we are in Kenya. please advice.

    • Hello John, thanks for your message.

      Sorry, but the Big Lottery Fund is not able to fund organisations that are based outside of the UK, so we wouldn’t be able to help with your work.

      Best of luck finding some other options.

  4. We volunteer at a youth club , we started 3 years ago, it takes place each Thursday 3 till 5 , the ages are 6 to 11 , the kids need things to do, like play games , baking , arts crafts, days out to the local beach , we have a hall which cost us 5 a week , but no storage we will look to buy a container to put the things in , most of these kids come from a broken family , or parents that dnt work , and some come 2 parent family that works , but still need help , the kids make cakes biscuits to take home , for there family , we charge £1 a week each kid but sometimes a couple of kids dnt have money we still let them take part, the voultees take time out there working week to help , we also give the kids fruit , juice and snack , could you help keep this group going

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