Leaders with Lived Experience 2020

Ethnic Youth Support Team, 2019

This programme is now closed.

Supporting organisations set up or run by people with first-hand experience of a social issue, who are trying to create positive change for communities and people who share those experiences. This funding will support lived experience leadership, and make sure lived experience plays a key role in shaping how communities move towards recovery and renewal after the impact of COVID-19. We expect to fund between 30 and 40 grants.

Suitable for
Voluntary or community organisations, set up or run by leaders with lived experience
Funding size
£20,000 to £50,000
Application deadline

This programme is now closed


The Lived Experience 2020 programme is now closed

We're no longer accepting applications for the Lived Experience 2020 programme. If you submitted an application, we might get in touch to ask more questions. We'll contact you to let you know whether we'll fund your project by the end of 2020.

If you have any questions in the meantime 
Contact us at livedexperience@tnlcommunityfund.org.uk

What happens after you've applied?

  1. You send us your application – we will assess your application. We expect a huge amount of demand for this funding, so we'll have to make some tough decisions around what projects to take forward. We'll try to let you know our decision in eight weeks or less.
  2. We’ll ask for more information about your project – we’ll email you another online form to fill out. This will help us to make a final decision on whether to award funding. The form will ask for more details about your organisation, more details about your project, who will benefit from the project, main and senior contact details, and a proposed budget and recent bank statement. You’ll need to send us this information within 10 days (we know this is quite quick, so someone will support you with this).
  3. We’ll make a decision – a panel of our staff and leaders with lived experience will decide whether to award funding to your project. We’ll try to tell you our decision in eight weeks or less, after you send us more information about your project. We'll also do our security checks (you can find out more about the checks we do here).
  4. If your application is successful – we'll contact you with the good news! Once you’ve been awarded funding from us, here’s what to expect. This page will also let you know about the things you need to do. Our learning partner, EP:IC Consultants, who are led by people with both lived and learned experience, will get in touch. They will support you on your journey and put you in contact with other grantholders. Our learning from the Leaders with Lived Experience Pilot Programme shows that it shouldn’t just be about funding. It should also help create a network of organisations who can demonstrate the value of lived experience, and continue to connect and share learning with each other (for at least two years).
Who can apply

You can apply if your organisation:

  • was set up by a lived experience leader
  • is run by a lived experience leader
  • has leadership that reflects the people it wants to support.

Your organisation also needs to be a:

  • voluntary or community organisation
  • registered charity
  • constituted group or club
  • not-for-profit company or community interest company.

We cannot accept applications from:

  • individuals
  • sole traders
  • companies that are aimed at generating profits primarily for private distribution
  • organisations based outside the UK
  • applications made by one organisation on behalf of another
  • schools
  • statutory bodies (including town, parish and community councils).

Previous funding

You can apply for this funding, even if your organisation has already applied to us for COVID-19 funding, whether your application was successful or unsuccessful. Your application could have been to the Coronavirus Community Support Fund (CCSF) in England, or to our COVID-19 funding in Scotland, Northern Ireland or Wales.

But the project activities you apply to the Leaders with Lived Experience 2020 Programme for cannot be the same as any other application you've submitted to The National Lottery Community Fund, including to the CCSF.

If you’re not sure if you can apply

Contact us. You can also check what other funding programmes you might be able to apply to.

The projects we fund

This programme builds on the Leaders with Lived Experience Pilot Programme. And will award National Lottery funding to support lived experience leadership as we move through the COVID-19 crisis.

Because of the impact of COVID-19, there is an opportunity to help lived experience to play a key role in shaping how communities move towards recovery and renewal.

This is important, because leaders with lived experience and their organisations have the local and community knowledge, and a deep-rooted understanding of the challenges their communities face, to help renew communities.

The funding is for up to two years
So you can either focus on the immediate response to the COVID-19 crisis, or helping communities recover and renew after the impact of COVID-19, or both.

We want to fund projects that meet our funding priorities:

  • lived experience leadership can be central in developing strategies for the renewal of civil society through and beyond the COVID-19 crisis
  • supporting and developing lived experience leadership at all levels of an organisation
  • creating new opportunities for lived experience leaders and lived experience-led organisations to be central to any COVID-19 recovery and renewal response.

What do we mean by 'lived experience leader'?

Someone who uses their first-hand experience of a social issue to create positive change for communities and people who share those experiences (and works with them to do that).

For example, we think of a lived experience leader as:

  • someone who has been homeless who is working to improve homelessness services
  • a person with HIV who has set up and is running a peer-to-peer support service for other people with HIV
  • a person who has lost a loved one to suicide who has set up and is running a support group for others who have lost someone to suicide.

A lived experience leader is not:

  • a non-disabled person who has volunteered with disabled people, and wants to set up a disability charity
  • a parent or carer of someone with HIV who has set up a support group for people with HIV
  • a middle-class person who is running a working-class mentoring scheme.

It’s important that all the organisations we fund through this programme are led by lived experience leaders. We want people with lived experience to lead on designing, developing and delivering the activities they’re planning.

What types of projects we'll prioritise

There was a huge amount of demand for funding from the Leaders with Lived Experience Pilot Programme. And we expect we might get a lot of applications for this programme too. So, we wanted to let you know one of the reasons why some projects were more likely to get funding during the pilot programme, to help you when filling out your application.

The projects we were more likely to fund didn’t just show the role of lived experience played in their organisation and in how their project was run. They also wanted to develop and support lived experience leadership.

Here are some examples of projects that might apply for this funding:

  • Involving lived experience leaders in designing and delivering services that meet the needs of communities most impacted by COVID-19.
  • Creating time and space for lived experience leaders to think more about strategy, objectives and influencing, or developing strategy in general.
  • Creating time and space for lived experience leaders to influence how communities recover and renew after the impact of COVID-19, in a strategic way. This might be for a specific geographic area or for a particular sector.
  • Developing networks of support and collaboration between lived experience-led organisations, to create strategies that resolve intersections in lived experience. For example, working with Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) care leavers, or disabled people in lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans and queer + (LGBTQ+) communities.
  • Helping lived experience-led organisations become more resilient and sustainable. For example, through training, personal or professional development, planning to hand leadership over to others, improving digital capacity, or support packages to improve wellbeing.
  • Supporting existing projects or creating new projects that help lived experience-led organisations and leaders to meet the needs of the communities they serve during the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Supporting existing work or creating new projects that help to prevent crises like COVID-19 from impacting some communities (such as disabled people and BAME communities) more than others.

Projects funded through this programme will become part a network of lived experience-led organisations, alongside organisations funded through the pilot programme. These organisations will have been central to creating strategies to re-shape our communities and put lived experience at the heart of them.

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 a wide range of items for up to two years. This list doesn’t include everything. So, if you’re not sure, contact us.

We can fund:

  • equipment (e.g. office equipment)
  • one-off events
  • staff costs
  • training costs
  • transport
  • utilities/running costs
  • volunteer expenses

We cannot fund:

  • statutory activities
  • loans, endowments or interest
  • electricity generation and feed-in tariff payments
  • paying someone else to write your application
  • political or religious activities
  • profit-making or fundraising activities
  • VAT you can reclaim
  • alcohol
  • buying or refurbishing buildings, also known as capital funding. If you need capital funding, we offer that on some other funding programmes. Feel free to contact us if you want to chat about this.