Rural Programme

The Rural Programme (round two) funded projects that create positive change for those living in poverty in rural Wales.

Suitable for
Voluntary or community organisations, Social enterprises, Statutory organisations
Funding size
Up to £500,000 (revenue & capital)
Total available
£4 million
Application deadline

As of 1 Oct 2019 the programme is now closed to applications

How to succeed

The Rural Programme (round one and round two) is now closed, but was for projects designed to have a positive impact on the lives of people and communities living in poverty in rural Wales.

Here is the original description of the programme:

This programme will fund partnerships that understand the connection between the causes and effects of poverty, and propose solutions and services which use a joined-up approach to tackle the problem at its core.

Projects will focus on helping people who struggle to meet their basic needs or access services, who don’t have reasonable living conditions or might be isolated from others.

Successful applicants will have developed their idea by consulting current research and will have considered how their project will integrate with existing activities and services in the area. We know that there are likely to be multiple solutions, so we’re interested in proposals that will test new approaches or combine a range of ideas to achieve the greatest impact.

Projects will be delivered by partnerships who have a collective desire to work together, find the best way to help people and create a lasting difference that goes beyond our funding. Partners may include people with lived experience of rural poverty, local organisations and services, statutory bodies, experts and researchers.

Your project will empower people to take a lead in tackling rural poverty by being:

  • People led – meaningfully involving the people and communities that will benefit from your project in its design and delivery
  • Strengths-based – making the most of, and building on, the skills and experiences of the people you’re working with
  • Connected – developing good working relationships, understanding what other relevant organisations are doing in the local area and how your project will complement or add value to existing activities and services.

Here’s a link to a short film with a case study, to give you some ideas, but this is just one example so even if you are planning a different kind of project, we’d love to hear from you:

Making the most of learning

As well as supporting partnerships who will work directly with local communities in Wales, we want to improve the knowledge and skills of others who are tackling rural poverty.

Each project will have an evaluation, monitoring and dissemination plan in place from the outset, which will be used to make any necessary improvements and changes during its delivery.

Projects will share their evaluation findings with one another as well as with other organisations who are trying to make a difference in this area.

Check if you’re eligible

This programme is now closed.

These information applied when it was open:

You can apply to round two of the Rural Programme, even if you didn’t apply for round one.

If you are thinking of applying to the Rural Programme Round 2 but want some more information, if so this webinar, recorded live in January 2019 could help you.

Who can apply?

We’re looking for projects that will support communities with 10,000 people or less, mainly within Anglesey, Gwynedd, Conwy, Denbighshire, Powys, Ceredigion, Pembrokeshire, Carmarthenshire or Monmouthshire.

To apply for a grant, you must be leading a partnership of organisations who will deliver your project. These organisations must have the skills and expertise to respond to the challenges that those in poverty face.

You can apply if you’re a:

  • Voluntary or community organisation
  • Registered charity
  • Constituted group or club
  • School
  • Social enterprise (a company limited by guarantee or a company limited by shares, so long as profits from the project are reinvested back into the organisation to create more impact)
  • Community Interest Company (with two or more directors)
  • Statutory body, such as a town, parish or community council, local authorities.

We cannot accept applications from:

  • Individuals or sole traders
  • Organisations based outside the UK
  • Organisations that are aimed at generating profits primarily for private distribution
  • Applications made by one organisation on behalf of another
  • Organisations without at least two unconnected* people.

(*not a relation by blood, marriage, in a long-term relationship or people living together at the same address)

What can you spend the money on?

We can fund most of the costs associated with delivering your project such as staff salaries, training, volunteer expenses, management costs, equipment, premises costs, monitoring and evaluation, capital work and overheads.

If you’re applying for capital costs, please contact us to receive a copy of our land and building guidance.

We can’t fund:

  • Activity that replaces government funding
  • Activities where a profit will be distributed for private gain
  • Retrospective costs
  • Loan repayments
  • Religious activity (although we can fund religious organisations if they are providing benefit for the wider community)
  • Recoverable VAT.

State Aid rules

Public funding for organisations carrying out commercial activities, including those with charitable status, is governed by the European Commission’s ‘State Aid’ rules.

State aid is defined by the treaty establishing the European Commission as “any aid granted by a Member State which distorts or threatens to distort competition by favouring certain undertakings or the production of certain goods.” The National Lottery is regarded as a supplier of state resources alongside national, regional and local government bodies.

When developing your application, it’s important that you consider and, if necessary, take advice on State Aid regulations. You should seek legal advice if you are unsure whether your project is state aid compliant. Failure to comply with the rules means that the aid is unlawful, and may be subject to repayment with interest by the aid recipient.

Not sure if you’re eligible?

If you’re unclear whether you can be funded, get in touch with us:

Phone: 0300 123 0735

Text relay: 18001 plus 0300 123 0735 (for those with a hearing or speech impairment)


What to expect

1. Find out if we can fund you

  • Check that you’re eligible
  • Read this guidance

2. Tell us your idea

Email a brief outline of what you want to do. You don’t have to have all the details but we would like to know about:

  • your community and how poverty impacts on it
  • what you want to do to tackle poverty in your community
  • how your idea will link with other work in your area and who you hope to work in partnership with to deliver the project
  • how much funding you think you’ll need.

We’ll let you know we have received your email, and once we’ve read it, get in touch to find out more about your idea. Please provide us with a contact number to allow us to do this.

3. Submit a full proposal

If we think your project is something we could fund we will invite you to submit a full application. A full application will include:

  • Organisation details form – this tells us about your organisation
  • Project plan – this tells us about how you will manage and deliver your project
  • Project budget – this tells us about how much your project will cost and how much you want us to fund.
  • Your organisation’s annual accounts (or 12 months projection for new organisations) - not applicable for public bodies.
  • Draft partnership agreement– this is a legal document that outlines the roles and responsibilities of the organisations you are working with deliver your project. If you are successful, your draft agreement needs to be approved by us before we release any grant funding to you.

If you are planning to apply for land and building works such as a new building, refurbishment, alteration or external works, you will also need to complete our capital grant checklist. We can send this to you via email or in the post.

We may contact you to talk about any additional support you may need whilst developing your ideas.

The deadline to submit your application is 12.00pm noon onTuesday 1 October 2019.

4. Get a decision

Your proposal will be assessed by a decision-making panel, supported by a report compiled by the relevant Funding Officer.

Our Funding Officers will keep you informed every step of the way. We'll tell you our decision by Tuesday 31 March 2020.

If you are successful

You’ll get a call from your Funding Officer and an offer letter in the post.

If you are unsuccessful

You’ll get a call or email from your Funding Officer letting you know the decision and offering any relevant feedback.

5. Ongoing support

If your application is successful, we’ll meet with you to talk through terms and conditions of your grant, agree a payment plan, and discuss any other procedures or support you may need.

We’ll work together to identify the right level of support throughout the duration of your grant and you can contact us at any time.

At the end of each project year, we’ll ask you to tell us about your progress and how you’ve spent your money. More advice is available on our webpage about managing your funding.

Reduce your environmental footprint

The National Lottery Community Fund cares about our environment and are always striving to manage our environmental impact. We encourage and support projects and communities to do the same. Learn more about how you can make your project or event more environmentally sustainable and perhaps save money at the same time.