Need more than £150k? Here’s some advice…

Through our Improving Lives grants, we provide National Lottery funding to help people in Scotland facing challenging circumstances be better able to cope and improve their life chances. In particular these grants will support: children, young people and families; people who have experienced abuse; people affected by loss, isolation or loneliness and; people affected by discrimination. If this is the kind of funding you are looking for you can ask for up to £150,000 with a single application form, and we’ll give you our decision within 3 months.

BUT if you need more than £150,000 in funding we’ll need a bit more information and time to make our decision, so have split the application process into two stages. Here’s the details:

Stage 1

The stage one application is where we ask you to tell us about your activity or idea and how much it might cost. Although this is just the first stage, we will expect a reasonable level of detail, and to see that your plans are fairly well formed. We’ll also ask for information about your group and your experience. We won’t just rely on what you write in the form – we’ll always call or meet you to discuss the project.

Within 12 weeks we will let you know if we’d like to know more about your idea. Check our blog for the latest success rates. Generally speaking, the success rate is lower for stage 1, and higher for stage 2.

Stage 2

Stage two is where we get the, full, detailed information we require from you to make our decision. If you are invited to apply to stage 2 then you’ll have a maximum of six months to work with our funding team to provide information both on a form and through conversations. Once you’ve completed the process our team will make a recommendation to our Scotland Committee who will ultimately decide if you’re successful or not.

How can I improve my chance of success?

  1. Speak to us! – we’re here to answer any questions and to provide pre-application advice and information you may want to consider to make your application as strong as possible.
  2. Be realistic about the amount you apply for. Normally the maximum grant we’d consider making is £500,000, and 3 years in length. The average Improving Lives grant is around £390,000. Due to the large amount of competition there is for these grants, we don’t make many grants much higher than this. Having match funding is also recommended, and also helps reduce your ask from us.
  3. Focus on revenue costs, rather than capital – our grants for Improving Lives are mainly for delivery of services, so we are much more likely to fund things like salaries, overheads and running costs. We can fund some smaller building or capital costs where they’re needed to deliver a service, but we’re unlikely to fund just capital costs, or capital costs not directly linked to a specific service (e.g. a headquarter building).
  4. Be clear on how your work demonstrates the ‘three approaches’  we want to fund – We want to fund work that is ‘People-led’, by meaningfully involving people in the development, design and delivery of your activity – e.g. you might have service users on your board, run focus groups for users. We also want to fund work that is ‘strengths-based’ e.g. by using local skills and strengths in your area, or tapping into the interests and skills of existing or former service users. Finally, we want to fund work that is ‘connected’ in to what’s happening in your area, complements other existing services and has a clear referral process.

Find out more about our grants for Improving Lives here.

If you aren’t sure, get in touch with your funding officer, or just ring or email us on:

0300 123 7110 –

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