Northern Ireland Youth Forum

Youth Capacity Fund

Northern Ireland Youth Forum

The Government has directed The National Lottery Community Fund to invest up to £1.2 million from dormant bank and building society accounts in England, to develop the capacity of local, frontline grassroots organisations who help young people facing barriers to work.

Suitable for
Small voluntary or community / grassroots groups
Funding size
Up to £50,000 for groups in Birmingham, Bradford, Barking & Dagenham
Total available
£1.2 million

Image credit: Image credit: NI Youth Forum, an example of a project funded for similar work under Empowering Young People

Programme guidance


We want to support small, grassroots community groups based in Birmingham, Bradford or Barking & Dagenham working with disadvantaged young people who are not in education, employment or training to increase their capacity. We are particularly interested in applications from organisations working with BAME young people.

After reading the programme guidance and checking you are eligible, you can tell us about your idea using the simple online form, which will ask you what you’re currently doing and how you’ll use the money.

If we would like to consider your idea for funding, a Funding Officer based in your community will get in touch to ask for further information.


Our engagement with young people and delivery organisations during the dormant accounts consultation phase highlighted the important role grassroots community groups play in supporting and engaging young people who face barriers to employment. We also heard that these smaller organisations, and in particular those working within BAME communities, often face challenges accessing funding or being able to build the connections and partnerships needed to provide a more connected and holistic service for their young people.

This funding will offer capacity and partnership development grants for groups based in the local authority areas of Birmingham, Bradford and Barking & Dagenham. These areas were selected based on levels of youth unemployment and racial disparity rates.

What’s available?

You can apply for a grant of up to £50,000 for up to one year.

The Youth Capacity Fund will support organisations to:

  • Build their own capacity to deliver more for young people in the future, for example, improving fundraising capacity, organisational and staff development, business development work or youth voice development
  • Develop partnerships across organisations, to help support grassroots organisations collaborate with other local organisations, including public bodies and businesses who can achieve wider impact together.

We invite local voluntary or grassroots community groups based in the following local authority areas to apply:

  • Birmingham
  • Bradford
  • Barking & Dagenham


Earlier this year, the Government announced that £90 million from dormant bank and building society accounts will be given to an ambitious youth initiative. A new youth organisation will be responsible for distributing this funding to help young people facing barriers to work to reach their full potential. The Youth Capacity and Partnership Fund has been drawn from the £90 million to provide funding to small groups while the new organisation is setting up.



  • We will only provide funding to small groups (or organisations). We would describe this as being those either:
    • With a turnover of less than £250,000, or
    • Employing less than 3 members of staff (full time or equivalent part time/sessional hours).
  • We will fund groups already engaged with young people who are not in education, employment or training or identified as at risk of becoming so
  • We can fund not for profit organisations and community groups. We cannot fund individuals, profit making organisations, housing associations or public bodies
  • We would like to hear from un-constituted groups who would consider developing their legal structure as part of the grant support
  • We can fund partnerships of organisations, where the application is made by a partner who fits in with the rest of our eligibility criteria.


  • We can fund organisational development, salaries, training and partnership development
  • We cannot fund religious or political activities, retrospective costs, debts or research costs.

Our priorities

We would particularly like to hear from:

  • Small BAME led community groups
  • Groups / organisations that have not been funded by The National Lottery Community Fund before
  • Volunteer-led groups who are looking to develop their team to include paid staff
  • Informal partnerships working at a grassroots level
  • Groups who would like to build their capacity to develop activity which addresses regional and racial disparities in youth employment
  • Groups and activities that are based in wards with the highest youth unemployment and/or levels of disadvantage.

How does it work?

  1. Submit Your Ideas: We invite you to tell us about the work you’re doing and how you would spend the money. You can do this online from Thursday 11 October 2018. We will need you to tell us:
    1. About your current work
    2. How you will use the grant
    3. About the people and communities you work with
  2. We will contact you: A Funding Officer based in your local area will contact you regarding next steps within 15 days
  3. Deadline: Groups are asked to submit their idea on our online form by the 19th November 2018. A first round of decisions will be made in December 2018. Groups who are invited to progress to the second stage of the process will be asked to fill in an application form with more information, so that they can be considered in the first round of funding decisions. Groups will be given more time if they have a great idea but are not ready to provide information needed for a full grant assessment. Final decisions may be made until April 2019.

We would encourage you to submit via our online form, even if your idea or partnership is in the early stages of development.

We do not expect to take every idea through to the next stage and we will assess your ideas against the eligibility and priorities described above. For those we will take forward, we will need to collect some further information in a grant application form, which can take between two to six weeks to complete depending upon the scale and complexity of your work.

We expect to be able to notify some groups whether they have been successful in December 2018.

For others, for example where more time is needed to complete a grant application form, we can then discuss timescales for completion and what information you will need in order to complete it.