Dormant Accounts NI

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Dormant Accounts Fund NI will support the voluntary, community and social enterprise (VCSE) sector in Northern Ireland to be more resilient and prepared for the future by funding activity that increases capacity and sustainability. We hope the programme will support organisations to adapt to future challenges and be more financially resilient.

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.

We received policy directions from the Department of Finance in September 2019. These funds are not derived from National Lottery activity. Around £20 million has built up over the past ten years.

Money from Dormant Accounts will continue to be released for us to distribute each year to support capacity-building and increase resilience and sustainability in the Northern Ireland VCSE sector. Given that this is a rolling fund, we're taking a phased and long-term approach to support the sector, based on learning. We are encouraging groups to take their time in developing an idea which will best fit their needs for the future.

For this 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 want to fund organisations that can identify the best way to improve their long-term capacity, sustainability or resilience to best deliver their mission.

We anticipate that we’ll award funding for between one and three years, in order to have the greatest impact for the organisations and the communities they serve. Complete the online application if you have an idea that meets these aims.

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.  These are examples of themes and not set criteria. Contact us directly if you feel this avenue is more appropriate for your idea.

Area
Northern Ireland
Funding size
Up to £100,000 for individual organisations
Total available
If you think you will need more than £100,000 for your project because you're working in partnership, please get in touch.
Application deadline

Ongoing

How to apply

The first phase of Dormant Accounts Fund NI is accepting applications. There is no deadline to apply.

Only one grant will be awarded per organisation, so we are encouraging you to take your time to make sure your idea helps your organisation become more resilient and sustainable and supports you with capacity-building for the future.

When we talk about capacity-building, we mean building the skills and abilities of staff, volunteers and trustees/board members rather than increasing the number of paid staff. 

The aim of this programme is that the NI voluntary, community and social enterprise (VCSE) sector will be more resilient and prepared for the future, through increased capacity and sustainability. 

We expect projects to meet the following outcomes: 

  • VCSE organisations will be more confident about their ability to adapt to future challenges 
  • VCSE organisations will be more financially resilient 
  • VCSE organisations will have increased skills and capacity
  • Strategic planning in the VCSE sector will improve 
  • There will be more collaboration within and across sectors. 

If you have a project idea in mind and are ready to apply you can complete the online application form.

Apply online

You can also contact us if you would like to talk through your idea first.

When you complete the online form we will ask you to tell us about:

  • Your project details. This includes:
    • the aim/mission of your organisation
    • what you think your organisation’s current challenges and opportunities are in relation to capacity-building, sustainability and/or resilience
    • how this project will address the challenges and opportunities you’ve identified to create long-term change within your organisation
    • an estimate of costs you want us to fund.
  • Your organisation details
  • Information about the people this funding will support
  • Your main and senior contact details - including date of birth and home address. Your main and senior contact must be two different people, and cannot be:
    • related by blood
    • 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 will also ask you to attach a copy of your latest annual accounts before you submit your form.

Once we receive your completed application, we will review it to assess if it meets the aims and outcomes of the programme. During assessment, we will get in touch with you to arrange a time to discuss your application in more detail . We might ask for further information to help with our assessment of your project, including a more detailed budget and project plan.

Already got funding?
Download the logo and read guidance on how to use it to acknowledge your grant.

Who can and cannot apply

You can apply if you are currently delivering services in Northern Ireland and are:

  • an unregistered community or voluntary organisation
  • a registered charity (unincorporated)
  • a registered charity and not-for-profit company
  • a not-for-profit company
  • a Community Interest Company
  • a Charitable Incorporated Organisation.

You cannot apply if you are a:

  • statutory body
  • school
  • college
  • university
  • religious institution like a church, synagogue, mosque etc. However, faith based groups that are working in a community setting are eligible.

If you’re not sure if you can apply

Contact us.

What  we will fund 

We hope that the Dormant Accounts Fund will support VCSE organisations to:

  • have the confidence, capacity and resources to achieve their aims
  • be flexible, adaptable and strategic with a clear understanding of their environment
  • be sustainable, with financial flexibility and longevity.

Here are some examples of what we could consider supporting through the programme. These are examples and not set criteria: 

  • support for organisations to help them to develop long-term financial sustainability - for example, help them develop and implement financial planning tools or ideas for income diversification
  • collaborations and/or mergers between organisations
  • activity that supports organisations to communicate and connect with other organisations and communities more effectively
  • activity that increases the diversity and skills of volunteers and trustees/committee members within organisations
  • succession planning (identifying and developing new leaders) to support the long-term sustainability of organisations
  • activity that helps organisations to improve the delivery and impact of their work, by using the full potential of digital infrastructure and data analysis tools.

This is not a complete list of what we will fund.

Your application will be unique to your organisation, as it will be focused on improving your sustainability and resilience and supporting your ability for capacity-building longer term.

This programme will not fund organisations to recover from the immediate impact of COVID-19.

The Dormant Accounts Fund NI won’t fund existing programme delivery or support an organisation to expand programme delivery.

If you need help to recover from the immediate impact of COVID-19 or to fund service or programme delivery costs we would encourage you to look at another source of funding.

We’re also happy to chat to you about our National Lottery programmes.

Any questions?

Contact us.

What you can spend the money on

We do not have a list of eligible and non-eligible costs for this programme. We will consider whatever costs you need to be able to achieve the change you want to make for your organisation. But we will not fund capital refurbishment, purchase of buildings, loan repayments or costs for new buildings.

When you complete your application, we will ask you to give broad headings for your project costs. We will discuss these with you during the assessment process and may request a detailed budget.

For example, you might need us to fund salaries to free up time of existing members of staff, personal development and training, leadership programmes, digital capacity, and so on. We will consider any reasonable cost if it’s the best way to achieve the change you are working towards.

You must be able to demonstrate the change you expect the funding to make when you are writing your application. For example, how you will adapt how you work so it doesn’t need to rely on funding once it ends.

If you want to apply for salaries – what will happen when the grant comes to an end? Will you have to apply for more funding? Think about the long-term as your application needs to be strategic.

Consider how your organisation will have changed at the end of the grant. We will be looking for evidence that you have undertaken a thorough review of your organisation and carried out some business or strategic planning to inform your application. And of course, the larger the grant request the more evidence we will expect to see.

Ultimately, we want the Dormant Accounts Fund NI to deliver long-term transformational change for VCSE organisations.

Any questions?

Contact us.

If you're ready to start your application

Apply online