BIG improves its Reaching Communities grants programme

The Big Lottery Fund has announced key changes to its Reaching Communities England funding programme which began eight years ago.

The key changes were conveyed earlier this week by the Big Lottery Fund’s England Director, Dharmendra Kanani, in a guest blog on the NCVO website:

“Each month in England, the Big Lottery Fund awards around £12 million through our flagship demand led offer – Reaching Communities. It has become an important vehicle for the voluntary and community sector and the people they support. Whether it’s Teesside, Salford or Brighton – it does ‘what it says on the tin’. By spring 2014, we will have invested £1 billion since 2006 across England – a significant amount straight into the heart of local communities.”

“Three years ago, when I became England Director, I wanted to ensure that our funding was simple, that it made sense, was easy to access and was underpinned by a clear narrative.”

“We will be making the programme more flexible and responsive to ensure the funding stream can meet everyone’s ambitions.”

The following changes will take place:

The upper grant limit has been removed to create flexibility to support larger projects. Groups that need funding of more than £500,000 or have a building application should call Big Advice first.

Feasibility funding of up to £10,000 will be offered through Awards for All.

Building projects will be supported with grants from £10,000.

Revenue funding will be available to help new community building projects through the early stages.

Groups are urged to contact the Big Advice line early on to discuss their ideas and get guidance. Groups will need to add more detail to Stage One applications which will result in earlier decisions. Decisions on Stage Two applications will be made every two weeks. Greater emphasis on learning across all of BIG’s funding means that applicants will need to set out more clearly how and what learning and impact will take place throughout the life time of the funding. For further details on the Reaching Communities England Programme, visit the Big Lottery Fund website.

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