Funding in Northern Ireland

The National Lottery Community Fund is the largest community funder in the UK. Each year we distribute millions of pounds of funding raised by National Lottery players to community groups and charitable projects across Northern Ireland.

Our priority is to keep money flowing to support communities across Northern Ireland.

We are here to help and want to talk to you about your ideas to support local communities. We have a range of open funding programmes and are happy to chat to you about these.

Contact us if you have an idea on 028 9055 1455 or at

Each month we share lots of information about our funding opportunities, hints and tips, stories about supported projects and more. Sign up to our newsletter to keep up to date here

Funding programme update

We are reviewing our grant making and want to hear from community groups about what matters most to their communities.

We want to chat to all groups working in local communities across Northern Ireland, even if they have not applied for National Lottery funding before. Groups can get involved in the discussions by:

What funding is available?

National Lottery Awards for All Northern Ireland


  • Projects bringing local people together to make positive changes in their community.
  • No deadline, so groups can apply any time.
  • Applying is quick and simple.
  • Applications welcome from constituted voluntary or community organisations, schools, and statutory bodies.
  • If we funded you within the last two years, we may have to give priority to other groups that have not recently been funded through this programme.
  • This funding is for projects that will run for 12 months or less

Find out more

People and Communities


  • Project ideas should come from the community. Talk to the people you want to help and get them involved in shaping and planning the project.
  • Your project should make good use of the skills, knowledge, resources and energy of people within your community; making it stronger and ready for the future.
  • Understand the need for your project and how it fits with the work of other organisations. Build relationships and work together on shared goals.
  • Applications welcome from constituted voluntary or community organisations, and social enterprises.
  • This funding is for projects that will run for between 1 and 5 years.

Find out more

Empowering Young People


  • This funding is for projects that work with young people (8 – 25 years old), and which will run for between 1 and 5 years.
  • Projects will help young people to: have the skills they need for the future; have better relationships with their support networks and communities; and/or have improved health and wellbeing.
  • Young people must be involved in the planning and delivery of the project. They must be able to develop the skills to help themselves, and their support networks and communities need to be involved too.
  • Applications welcome from constituted voluntary or community organisations, and social enterprises.

Find out more

Dormant Accounts Fund

  • The fund opened for applications on Tuesday, 12 January 2021.
  • This fund will support the voluntary, community and social enterprise (VCSE) sector to be more resilient and prepared for the future by funding activity that increases capacity and sustainability.
  • Dormant accounts are UK bank and building society accounts that have been untouched for 15 or more years, and where banks and building societies are unable to trace the customer who owns the account. They are not derived from National Lottery activity.
  • Under Section 22 of the Dormant Bank and Building Society Accounts Act 2008, we distribute money under direction from the Department of Finance.
  • To make sure this funding has maximum impact in communities, we held a consultation in late 2019. You can read what we heard.
  • In the first phase, we have developed a flexible and responsive grant programme that will support organisations to be able to adapt to future challenges and be more financially resilient.
  • We'll also support larger investments that will enable collaboration and develop new and creative approaches to sustainability. These Northern Ireland-wide or sector-specific proposals could focus on specific themes such as volunteering, digital capacity or diversity and inclusion.  If you have any questions, contact us.

Find out more

We’d like to talk to you about your ideas early on so we can give you the best funding advice, so please call our team on 028 9055 1455.

Other funding opportunities

UK wide programmes

We have a range of UK wide funding programmes open for applications.

Find out more

Other National Lottery distributors

There is a range of National Lottery distributors across the UK.

The Arts Council for Northern Ireland, Sports Northern Ireland and National Lottery Heritage Fund support local projects.

Find out more

About the ideas we support

We believe people know what's best when it comes to improving their lives and communities. We focus on the potential in people’s ideas, and on the skills and energy people already have that they can draw on. We ask what matters to communities, not what’s the matter with them.

We are interested in ideas that:

  • Involve people from the community right from the start – we want them to be involved in the development, design and delivery of a project.
  • Bring people together and strengthen relationships in and across communities.
  • Encourage people and organisations to work together to make a difference in their community.

We do this through:

  • Funding grassroots projects that bring people and communities together.
  • Asking groups to contact us early on so we can give advice and support, including feedback about which of our funding programmes is right for them.
  • Offering a range of flexible funding and support to make sure we’re able to help the biggest range of groups.
  • Helping organisations to share their learning with others.

Reducing your environmental impact

We all have a responsibility to protect the environment for future generations. This includes the communities and projects we support. 

We’ll expect all applicant organisations to consider their environmental impact and to have relevant policies and procedures in place.

Learn more about how you can make your project or event more environmentally sustainable and perhaps save money at the same time. You can access some links to local guidance on our website.

Useful information for groups who have received funding

Congratulations, you're now part of a family of fantastic organisations that are making communities across the UK better places to be.

We're proud to support the good work you do, using funding raised by National Lottery players for good causes. It's thanks to them that we give out more than £500 million to charities, community and voluntary groups each year.

As a grant holder, you’re now required to make sure you recognise the National Lottery support your project has received. You can do this by using our grant holder logo on your website, social media and across any printed materials. We also have a wealth of information available to help you promote your project.

If you have received funding through the Dormant Accounts Fund NI visit this page for details on promoting your project.