A new approach (or three)

This blog was originally posted in March 2016 to announce the first grants of our main funding scheme at the time. It has since been edited to focus on Charlie’s experience of working with Elgin Youth Development Group to assess their application.

We changed our name from the Big Lottery Fund to The National Lottery Community Fund in January 2019.

When we opened our current funding funding scheme in November 2015 we talked about how we’ve changed our focus to work a bit differently, in order to become a better connected and more relevant and flexible funder.

These changes don’t only apply to those seeking funding – our team of experienced funding officers have had to re-think the way they are working too: from moving to a more conversational assessment to ensuring they understand how the three approaches fit for each project they assess.

Here Charlie Fairley, who assessed a successful community-led activity application from Elgin Youth Development Group (EYDG), talks through the new process with advice for those who might be making applications in the future.

Charlie Fairley
Charlie Fairley

“During the assessment process it was the first time I had to put into the practice our three approaches. It was a bit difficult to get my head around applying the approaches in reference to the application. For example, should the organisation be people-led, as well as the activities being proposed, what kind of strengths inherent within Elgin would EYDG use, and how strong would the connections be with other local groups?

“On the application form evidence for the three approaches didn’t look as strong as it could be. However, after I called them it was clear EYDG was already used to being people-led, strengths based and connected. In fact they were so used to this organisational and activity model, that it isn’t really a new way of working for them.

“But is was through our conversation that I was able to draw out examples of the three approaches which ultimately strengthened my report. I am predicting many of the groups that apply to community-led will already be working, in some capacity, towards the three approaches model.

“EYDG want support for their new community kitchen, which in turn will give everyone in the community a chance to participate in cooking classes, food awareness and healthy eating. As the name suggests, EYDG is involved in youth work; so it was interesting to read that the organisation wants to use this grant to expand its remit to become a community-wide outfit, and play a more integral role for all the people in Elgin. This is one of the reasons that it fitted well with the outcomes for this new programme; by building on the experiences and successes of its work with young people, and using these to provide community-wide activities.

Fun in the kitchen
Fun in the kitchen

“At our initial overview meeting the full team had a chance to review and reach a consensus on what constituted a good application. EYDG’s proposed activities fitted well with the overall objectives of this new programme, by wanting to involve the whole community in a healthy food and cooking skills scheme, along with swapping stories and knowledge. As the funding officer, I’m really pleased EYDG received a grant, wish the group well with their work and look forward to hearing their stories of success.”

  • Elgin Youth Development Group (EYDG), were awarded a National Lottery grant of £139,761 over three years.


  1. Hi . I am trying to raise £3000 for a wood chipper machine for connect community trust in Easterhouse for the lads on the allotment .The men have learning difficulties but are doing s grande job of making garden furniture If they had a woodchipper it will sustain the programme to give the lads work all year round with profits directed back to the group .Is this something you could help with please

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