The big lottery: reaching communities

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Reaching Communities England

Funding projects that help people and communities most in need.

Total available: £200 million

What’s it all about?

The application processWe want to let you know quickly whether or not we can fund your project. First of all you need to complete a Reaching Communities Stage One application form. We will let you know whether your project is one that we might consider funding within eight weeks of receiving your form.

If you are successful at Stage One, we will send you a Stage Two application form. You will usually have four months to complete this.

The Reaching Communities programme has two strands.

Reaching Communities funding is for projects that help people and communities most in need. Grants are available from £10,000, upwards and funding can last for up to 5 years. If you think you need more than £500,000 you must call us before you apply to discuss why you believe a larger project is appropriate. There is no upper limit for total project costs.

We can fund, salaries, running costs, a contribution towards core costs and equipment. We can also fund up to £100,000 for land, buildings or refurbishment capital costs.

If you need more than £100,000 for a land and/or buildings project please see the Reaching Communities buildings page.

 What are we looking for?

Every project we fund must respond to need. Need is the term we use to describe a problem or issue, or situation where something needs to change to make things better for a person, group of people or environment.

All projects must address one or more of the following outcomes:
• People have better chances in life, with better access to training and development to improve their life skills,
• Stronger communities, with more active citizens, working together to tackle their problems,
• Improved rural and urban environments, which communities are better able to access and enjoy,
• Healthier and more active people and communities

If you are applying for more than £500,000 you must contact us first to tell us why you believe a larger project is needed. Call the Big Advice line on 0845 4 10 20 30.

The NAVCA website has details of your local funding advisorsGoes to different websiteOpens in new window at its members’ directory page. However much you want to apply for we encourage you to speak to a funding adviser. They can help you plan your project and give you guidance about how to fill in an application form.

Who can apply?

You can apply if you are:
• An unincorporated association, incorporated association, trust or company set up and registered as a charity.
• An unincorporated association set up as a voluntary and community group.
• A community interest company.
• A not-for-profit company limited by guarantee.
• A community benefit society.
• A town or parish council.
• A statutory body, including schools.

Projects must help people and communities in England. Project activities must take place in the UK.

We strongly encourage partnerships between the voluntary and community sector and the statutory sector.

Reaching Communities grants will not normally be available to groups applying on behalf of other organisations, in poor financial health, with poor history of managing grants, or established outside of the UK.

If you are a branch, or related to, a large organisation that may have some legal responsibility for any grant awarded, they must know about your application.

What can you apply for?

Reaching Communities funds projects. A project is a discrete piece of work that will make a difference. We can fund new or existing projects and will make a contribution to the core costs of your organisation where these costs are essential to managing and delivering your project.

You can make more than one application at any one time, but each application must be for a different project.

While we welcome applications from religious organisations, we do not fund religious activities.

We do not fund party political activities

If you apply for a grant for existing work, we will ask you to send us an evaluation report. Evidence of the impact of your project is important to our understanding of the difference your project will make.

A grant will not cover costs you have to pay before we give you a grant.

A grant will not cover costs which someone else is paying for in cash or in kind.

Reaching Communities grants are not available for infrastructure funding or for research projects which produce knowledge aimed at an external audience with the aim of increasing the body of academic research.

For a full list of what you can apply for read the Reaching Communities guidance notes.

Essential application documents – you must read/complete these before you apply

  • Reaching communities Stage One application form
  • Reaching Communities Guidance notes

Related documents – you may find it helpful to read these documents before you apply.

  • Reaching Communities Guidance notes for land and buildings projects up to £100,000
  • Good governance guide


Organisation Types

  • Voluntary or community organisation


  • Stronger communities
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