What we’re hoping to fund
At this stage, we’re looking to fund things that may look quite different from each other but will likely have in common some of the following:
- They’re likely to be starting with a new philosophy, frame, logic or narrative that guides the work, like a new philosophy about how the economy could work or how society could be organised.
- They consider equity in everything they do - equity for people and for the planet. We are looking for initiatives that are creating new patterns of who has power and what is valued.
- They’ll be generating an infrastructure through which many things are possible.
- They can show that the things that are created underpin genuine transitions away from/towards the relevant focus.
- They’ll be able to show that they’ve been consistently asking and exploring good questions about how things need to change in the present, and can imagine and articulate what alternatives looks like.
- They’ll be operating from a set of principles that show how they’ll get there, even if they do not know what the final result might be (because it’s experimental).
- They can show an ability to continually adapt as they go. We want to invest in how people are enquiring.
- They will be able to describe what progress looks like for their work, how they are committed to that progress, and to have some ideas about how they will measure and show progress.
- There is momentum to what they are doing. They can point to how they are making ripples as they have been growing and deepening their work, and show that they are attracting others to it.
- They are unlikely to be a single organisation or project, already working with multiple partners and enmeshed in many relationships. They can also show that they’ve had real engagement with other parts of the landscape that are key to things being different.
We’ll be looking to explore longer-term funding commitments that show us investing in those involved for seven to ten years. This is not about ‘core costs’ - we want our funding to be used in a more adaptive, vital and regenerative way than the term ‘core costs’ suggests.
In such a long-term, emergent approach, we know we’ll need to also have flexibility in where the funding goes, and to enable groups and organisations to come in and out of the ‘ecology’ as it deepens and grows.
We’ll continue to prioritise applications that work across the UK, although we recognise that this may not always be appropriate.
We understand that this is an experimental programme, 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.
What we’re unlikely to fund
As this is a new programme where we’re exploring new approaches, we think it’s important to be clear about what is not likely to be suitable, as well as what is. We’re unlikely to fund:
- applications that are about furthering the agenda of a single organisation
- applications that are about supporting services to be delivered or to move things online
- applications that only involve a single approach to change – one set of actors, one theory, one scale, for example – we expect to fund applications with ecologies that will evolve over time
- organisations, communities or networks that cannot demonstrate the rigour they bring to being emergent and adaptive in their approach
- applications that are about efficiencies or improvements within the existing system, as opposed to a re-imagined vision and approach
- applications that are linear or traditional project delivery approaches, and that focus on specific outcomes.
Delivering your project in Welsh
If you receive funding from The National Lottery Community Fund for a project in Wales, you'll need to deliver it in Welsh as well as English. Read our guidance on managing your project bilingually.
What you can spend the money on
We can fund things like:
- staff salaries
- development work (testing new ways of working, staff training and development, developing governance, tech or IT upgrades/purchases, sharing learning)
- utilities/running costs
- volunteer expenses
- capital costs (we may consider funding capital costs if you can demonstrate how they can benefit the ecology in the longer term).
We can also support organisations with funding over longer periods, potentially seven to ten years, depending on how long their idea might take to evolve.
If you’re invited to the next stage, we’ll talk to you to agree what the funding will cover.
We cannot fund:
- religious or political activities, including lobbying
- statutory activities
- loans, endowments or interest
- paying someone else to write your application
- profit-making or fundraising activities
- VAT you can reclaim
Feel free to contact us if you want to chat about this, including if you might need capital funding for buying or refurbishing buildings.
UK's international obligations on subsidy control
As a result of Brexit and the end of the transition period, the United Kingdom (UK) has left the European Union (EU).
From the 1 January 2021, the funding that the Fund distributes is now subject to the UK’s international subsidy control commitments. A subsidy can only be awarded where strict rules are followed.
When developing your application, it's important that you consider UK’s international subsidy commitments and how to make your project compliant. If you have concerns, you should seek legal advice.
You can find more information about the UK’s international subsidy UK’s international subsidy control commitment from 1 January 2021.
If you’re ready to start your application