Grants are available for voluntary and community organisations in Northern Ireland for projects working with local people to bring about positive changes in the community.

Funding is available for projects that enable people to make changes that improve their lives and encourage communities to build on their strengths and share learning.

Projects are expected to meaningfully engage with the following three key themes of the programme:

  • People-led.
  • Strengths-based.
  • Connected.

Coronavirus (COVID-19) Update

The current priority of the Fund is to support communities that are having to adapt to the increasing challenges of COVID-19 in Northern Ireland.

The Fund will prioritise applications from:

  • Organisations supporting people who are at high risk from COVID-19.
  • Organisations supporting communities most likely to face increased demand and challenges as a direct result of COVID-19.
  • Organisations with high potential to support communities with the direct and indirect impact of COVID-19.

Organisations are encouraged to think about any costs needed to help them and their community through the crisis. The funding can be used to cover the costs of delivering activities, as a contribution to overheads, investment in systems, people and infrastructure and/or dedicated capacity development.

Applications not related to COVID-19 can still be submitted but it may take longer to get a decision from the National Lottery Community Fund.

Grants of between ÂŁ10,001 and ÂŁ500,000 are available for one- to five-year projects.

A total of ÂŁ57 million is being made available over a five-year period (until 2021). It is expected that around 400 projects will be funded across Northern Ireland.

Who Can Apply

Applications will be considered from:

  • Unregistered voluntary or community organisations.
  • Registered charities (unincorporated).
  • Charitable Incorporated Organisations (CIO).
  • Not-for-profit companies.


Funding is not available for the following:

  • Retrospective costs.
  • Activities outside the UK.
  • Fundraising activities.
  • Second-hand vehicles.

Eligible Expenditure

All projects must meet the following two outcomes:

  • People make changes that improve their lives.
  • Communities build on their strengths and share learning.

All projects are expected to embrace the following three key themes of the programme:

  • People-led – meaning that the people taking part in the project will be meaningfully involved in the development, design and delivery of it.
  • Strengths-based – supporting people and communities to build on the knowledge, skills and experience they already have to make the changes they want.
  • Connected – demonstrating that there is a good understanding of other activities and services in the community and how the proposed project will complement them, adding value to what already exists.

Funding is available for some or all of the project costs, including staff salaries, training, volunteer expenses, equipment, premises costs, evaluation and overheads.

How To Apply

Applications are accepted on an ongoing basis.

As a first step in the application process, organisations should fill out the online proposal form available on the website of the National Lottery Community Fund.

They will then be contacted by the Community Fund and will receive feedback and an application form to fill out if their project is eligible for funding.

Further information on the scheme and the application process is available on the website of the National Lottery Community Fund.

For more information visit their website here.