The Big Lottery Fund Advice Team discusses how best to apply for funding for capital projects.

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BLF - When it comes to making physical changes or improvements to buildings, there are a range of things we are more or less likely to fund. Here are the basics you need to know…

What do we need in place before getting a grant?

In most cases your organisation will either need to own the building or hold at least a 5 year lease before we can fund you to make improvements to it. For some of our larger grants we require ownership.

If the work will require planning permission, you’ll need this before we give you money to do it.

What grants can we get for our building?

The simplest and quickest way to get funding for minor building improvements is through Awards for All Scotland, which offers grants up to £10,000. Awards for All is easy to access, and can fund a great variety of organisation types and building work – from fixing up church halls to refurbishing sports clubs or social enterprises. The downside is that you’re limited to a maximum of £10,000 in any 12 month period.

Can we get more than £10,000?

If your building is owned and run by the local community

…or will be, then our Community Assets fund might be able to help, with grants up to £1M. But there’s a lot of competition for these grants, so we’ll only fund projects that strongly address local disadvantage and inequality.

If you have another type of charity or building project…

…we can and will consider funding improvements to a building through our medium and large grants (such as our Improving Lives, or Community-led grants). But we’ll only tend to such things where they are needed to deliver a specific piece of work. For example, if we were funding you to run a community food project, we might fund the building of a new extension and commercial kitchen.

What types of building project won’t you fund?

We are unlikely to fund the likes of a national charity solely to refurbish a building without the work having a specific focus (e.g. refurbishing a head office).

We are also unlikely to give grants of more than £10,000 for work on community buildings that doesn’t strongly address local disadvantage or inequality. In practice this means we are unlikely to fund things like large scale playparks or replacing the roof on a church hall.

Finally, we are unlikely to give you a grant for larger sport or arts venues, or to maintain a building for heritage purposes. However, our sister National Lottery funders sportscotland, Creative Scotland and Heritage Lottery Fund may be able to help you.

How do we apply?

Usually it’s best to just get in touch! We are happy to give you advice, chat things over with you, and help you apply. Email us on advicescotland@biglotteryfund.org.uk or call 0300 123 7110, 9-5 Mon-Fri.

Source: Big Lottery Fund – Big Blog Scotland

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