Bringing People Together

Connect 4 Women

This funding is for projects that build stronger connections across communities. We're looking for ideas that strengthen these connections by exploring and developing the conditions needed to build better and longer-lasting ways of bringing people together.

Here are some examples of projects we’ve funded before.

We're interested in projects that:

  • deliver across at least two UK countries (England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales) – you can work in a network or partnership
  • are bold and experimental responses to bringing people together using new approaches, or a new combination of approaches
  • can demonstrate clear positive impacts for communities, including those communities most in need of support
  • have a clear focus on equality, diversity and inclusion
  • can demonstrate they can learn and adapt as they go.

Your project must also meet at least one of the priorities listed in what we're hoping to fund.

Area
UK-wide
Suitable for
Voluntary and community organisations
Funding size
Up to a maximum of £1 million for up to five years. We expect most of the funding will go to projects that request between £200,000 and £500,000. There will be a smaller number of awards for projects above £500,000.
Application deadline

Ongoing

How to apply

You can apply online  

We’ll ask you about your idea and how it fits with the areas we are focussing on. We want to know:

  • how your project will work across two or more UK countries
  • what it is you’re hoping to change
  • how you’ll support communities to make long-term change
  • how your idea supports connected and thriving communities.

We’ll contact you about any additional information that we might need for us to make an early decision about your application.

Apply online

If you’re not sure if you should apply

You can:

If it's difficult or impossible for you to apply online

You can contact us if you have communication support needs or find it hard to complete the form. We can provide alternative ways for you to tell us about your idea, such as:

  • an Easy Read version of the application form and guidance
  • a PDF version of the application form
  • a British Sign Language (BSL) version of the application form and guidance.

How to share your ideas using a video

When we ask about your project or idea, you can share a video rather than describing it in words.

There are some questions you'll still need to answer with words.

There is guidance about how to share your video in the application form, but if you have any questions, email us at general.enquiries@tnlcommunityfund.org.uk

What happens after you apply

1. We’ll assess your application – there is high demand for funding, so we’ll only be able to take applications through to the next stage that most strongly meet our criteria.

2. We’ll take some early decisions – we’ll aim to tell you if you’re through to the next stage within eight weeks.

3. If you’re invited to the next stage, we’ll ask for more information about your project – we’ll also ask for more details about your organisation and the main contacts for the project. We'll use the information in this form to update our records and carry out some security checks. We’ll also ask you about your proposed budget. If you’re not sure about how much you want to apply for, we can discuss this with you. We’ll aim to tell you the final decision within around four months of being invited to the second stage.

4. We’ll make a final decision – your request will be considered by one of our funding committees.

5. If your application is successful – we'll contact you with the good news! Here’s what happens when you’re awarded funding. We’ll also discuss how we can help you:

  • celebrate and promote your funding
  • share your learning with others including other grant holders and future applicants to contribute to wider collaborations in these areas.
Who can and cannot apply

We support applications from:

  • both large and small organisations
  • consortiums or partnerships – in this case, a lead partner will need to take responsibility for the application process.

 You can apply if you are a UK-based: ​ 

  • registered charity   
  • community interest company (CIC)
  • Charitable Incorporated Organisation (CIO) 
  • community benefit society 
  • co-operative society (if it has a not-for-profit clause and registered with the Financial Conduct Authority) 
  • voluntary or community organisation   
  • statutory body (including town, parish and community councils) 
  • company limited by guarantee (if it has a not-for-profit clause or is a registered charity).

We want to support underrepresented communities

We're particularly interested in projects led by, or supporting people and communities experiencing ethnic or racial inequity, discrimination or inequality, disabled people, LGBTQ+ people, and people who are seeking asylum or who are refugees. We want to see more people in these communities represented in our funding.

If you already have funding from us

You can still apply if you have a current grant from The National Lottery Community Fund. We’ll have to consider how this funding would complement and impact on existing awards during the assessment process.

If there’s a high demand for this funding, we may need to prioritise organisations that do not already have grant funding from us.

Board or committee members 

You need to have at least two people on your board or committee who are unrelated​. By unrelated we mean people who are not:  

  • related by blood to each other 
  • married to each other  
  • in a civil partnership with each other 
  • in a long-term relationship with each other 
  • living together at the same address.

We cannot accept applications from:

  • individuals   
  • sole traders   
  • organisations focussed on making profits and sharing these profits privately - including companies limited by shares, organisations without the right asset locks, or organisations that can pay profits to directors or shareholders
  • organisations based outside the UK   
  • applications made by one organisation on behalf of another   
  • schools.

If you’re not sure if you should apply

You can:

What we’re hoping to fund 

Your project must focus on one or more of our priorities 

We recognise that most community-led projects will bring communities together in some way. However, in this programme, we’re particularly interested in projects that focus on one or more of the following priorities. We’re looking for projects that: 

  • build connections across communities, not just within existing communities. We’re looking for projects that can foster a positive sense of belonging by reducing divisive ‘us and them’ attitudes
  • support and explore what’s needed to connect communities and enables stronger collaboration to bring people together and keep people together – for example, community infrastructure like networks, shared resources or coordinated approaches, or supporting infrastructure organisations that support the work of other groups
  • focus on creating longer-term change. This could mean a focus on improving the conditions available to communities to help create this change (instead of only delivering services or a series of public events)
  • build collective action and strengthen communities’ own abilities to have control, influence and agency on the things that matter most to them.

We’re also interested in supporting projects that respond to national and significant moments that are important to communities across the UK and relevant to the societal challenges we face.

We’re interested in projects that:

  • deliver across at least two UK countries (England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales) – you can work in a network or partnership
  • are bold and experimental responses to bringing people together using new approaches, or a new combination of approaches
  • can demonstrate clear positive impacts for communities, including those communities most in need of support
  • have a clear focus on equality, diversity and inclusion
  • can demonstrate they can learn and adapt as they go.

Here are some examples of projects we’ve funded before.

We'll support a range of projects

We want to fund projects that reflect a mix of communities and places from across the UK. However, we're particularly keen to support:

  • a geographical spread of funding across the UK
  • projects that are open for everyone and can show what proactive action has been taken to ensure any potential barriers for participation will be addressed – particularly for disabled people, communities experiencing ethnic or racial inequity, discrimination or inequality, LGBTQ+ people and people who are seeking asylum or are refugees.  We also recognise that there may be some circumstances where projects will only work with specific communities – you should explain why that's necessary in your application
  • projects that will connect with each other and share approaches and learning. We'll offer support to the awarded projects as a whole group and we'll discuss what this activity could look like at the assessment stage.

We'll take these factors into account when assessing your application against others.


Bringing People Together in uncertain times

We understand that bringing people together continues with uncertainty at this time, so we welcome projects that are testing new ideas.

We’re comfortable with uncertainty - we want to understand what we can do to build capacity in communities and learn from your experiences. We’ll work flexibly to allow you to bring people together in a way that makes sense to you.


We’ll have to make difficult decisions

We expect demand for this funding to be high and we’ll have to make difficult decisions about what we’re able to fund. 

What we’re unlikely to fund 

We’re unlikely to fund: 

  • place-based activities which are exclusively focussed on a community space or hub in one area and does not deliver across a minimum of two UK countries - this may be more suitable to other funding programmes
  • one-off events and projects that are focussed on service delivery without any clear longer-term sustainability or evidence of impact
  • projects that are exclusively transferring their activities to deliver online
  • projects that cannot show how the wider community has informed its design and development.

Delivering your project in Wales 

If one of the countries you’ll be working in is Wales, you'll need to deliver your services bilingually (in Welsh and English). This is part of our grant condition. Read ourguidance on managing your project bilingually.

If you’re not sure if you should apply

You can:

What you can spend the money on

We can fund things like:

  • Staff costs, including sessional workers
  • development work (testing new ways of working, staff training and development, developing governance, tech or IT upgrades and purchases, sharing learning) 
  • transport 
  • utilities and running costs 
  • volunteer expenses 
  • learning and evaluation
  • equipment  
  • capital costs (we can consider funding capital costs but do not anticipate these costs to be a significant amount of the proposed budget)
  • costs associated with delivering your project bilingually in Wales, such as translation costs.  

If you’re invited to the next stage, we’ll talk to you to agree what the funding will cover. 

We cannot fund:

  • statutory activities and activities that replace government funding
  • loans, endowments or interest 
  • paying someone else to write your application 
  • political activities, including lobbying 
  • activities where a profit will be distributed for private gain
  • fundraising activities  
  • VAT you can reclaim 
  • alcohol 
  • things you’ve spent money on in the past and are looking to claim for now  
  • items which will only benefit an individual, rather than the wider community 
  • religious activities (but we can fund religious organisations if their project benefits the wider community and does not include religious content). 

UK’s subsidy control commitments

Our grants come from public funds and successful applications will be asked to comply with the UK's International Subsidy Control Commitments listed on the GOV.UK website. You should seek independent legal advice if you need more guidance.

Considering your environmental impact

We're committed to helping you protect the environment. You can check our guidance on reducing your environmental impact. Our Climate Action Hub also has information about our approach to tackling the climate emergency, including learning and insights, stories and funding.

We expect all funded organisations and any partners to consider their environmental impact. This includes having the relevant policies or action plan in place to help minimise negative impacts on the environment.

If you’re not sure if you should apply

You can: