Application help notes: Nature Networks Fund (round three)

Application help notes: Nature Networks Fund (round three)

This application guide is for organisations and individuals applying to the Nature Networks Fund (round three), for grants between £50,000 and £250,000.

Page created: September 2023. 

You must use this guide to assist you in completing an online application form for a grant under £250,000. 

Important: The National Lottery Heritage Fund uses the same forms across a variety of programmes that we deliver. When completing your application form, you must follow the guidance below as some questions need to be answered differently for this programme. You should not use the help icons embedded in the online form as they do not relate to this funding. 

First Steps

  1. We launched a new application portal in March 2021. If you are not already registered on the portal, you will need to register prior to submission. 
  2. If you are unable to set up your account or have any technical difficulties, please contact:
  3. Once your organisation is registered, click 'Start a New Application' and select the 'Grants of £10,000 to £250,000' button. Then click 'Start a New Application'. 
  4. If you decide to copy and paste text from a Word document directly into your application form, please review your application before submission and make changes where necessary to make sure you do not exceed the stated word count limits. You will be able to save this form as you work on it. 


Your project 

Tell us what advice you have received in planning your project and who from 

Answer as normal. 

Is this your organisation’s first application to us? 

Answer as normal, ‘yes’ or ‘no’. 

Project title 

Please include the prefix #NNF3 in your project title. For example #NNF3 Dragonfly nature reserve improvements. 

When will your project happen? 

Enter the date you expect to start your project. This should be on or after 1 April 2024. 

Your project must end by 1 March 2026 , including all financial reporting and evaluation. We anticipate that most project planning projects will be shorter in duration than projects delivering capital works. 

Why does your project need to happen now? 

Answer as usual. 

Is the project taking place at the same location as your organisation’s address? 

Answer as normal, ‘yes’ or ‘no’. 

If no, please include details of your project’s address if possible. 

For site or landscape-based projects, the location should be provided in the next section (Describe your idea). Please provide a six-digit Ordnance Survey grid reference number for the mid-point of your project area (for example: SK510072). If you are working on multiple sites, separate each grid reference with a semicolon (for example: SK510072; SX163777; TQ317842). Do not include any additional text with your grid references. 

Describe your idea 

In no more than 500 words, explain what your project aims to do and what you will spend the money on. You should use the following two sub-headings, depending on whether your project is capital, resilience or both. 

Capital projects: 

  • Which site/s will you be working on? 
  • What works will you undertake for habitats and species? 
  • Who will be involved and how (staff, volunteers, general public, target audiences)? 

Project planning projects: 

  • Which site/s will you be planning for future action on? 
  • What work will you undertake during the project (for example, what surveys, consultations or planning activities)? 
  • Who will be involved and how (staff, volunteers, general public, target audiences, partners)? 
  • How will the plan seek to improve the condition and resilience of the protected sites network? 

Will capital work be part of your project? 

Answer questions relating to capital works as normal, 'yes’ or ‘no’.  

You should submit condition surveys and/or ownership documents/leases if you have them. 

Do you need permission from anyone else to do your project? 

Answer as normal ‘yes’, ’no’ or ‘not sure’. You must demonstrate that you are aware of, and working towards obtaining, the relevant permissions and licenses to carry out the project. 

What difference will your project make? 

Answer as usual. 

Is the heritage considered to be at risk? 

Answer as usual, ‘yes’ or 'no’. 

If yes, explain how the heritage is at risk. 

Does the heritage have any formal designations? 

Please select any options that apply to your heritage from the list. 

Does your project involve heritage that attracts visitors? 

Answer as usual, ‘yes’ or ‘no’. 

Why is your project important to your community? 

Answer as usual. 

What measures will you take to increase positive environmental impacts and decrease negative environmental impacts? 

This answer should focus on activity outside of habitat improvement works themselves. For example: travel, procurement or waste. Please read our environmental sustainability guidance for more information

What will happen after the project ends? 

Tell us who will be responsible for management and maintenance of the outputs after the project ends, what work and what permissions will be needed. For capital works, this should be linked to a management and maintenance plan. If you don’t have a plan at the moment, this can be included in your project activity. 

For project planning projects: 

Tell us who will be responsible for taking the project forward into delivery. What will be required to do this? 

Why is your organisation best placed to deliver this project? 

Answer as usual. 

Will your project be delivered by a partnership? 

Answer as usual, ‘yes’ or ‘no. 

If you answer yes, you must attach your partnership agreement and note that formal partners may be asked to sign up to our terms of grant.   


We describe the difference we want to make with our funding through a set of nine outcomes, which are listed in the application form. Outcomes are changes, impacts or benefits that happen as a direct result of this funding. 

The mandatory outcomes for the Nature Networks Fund (round three) are: 

  • a wider range of people will be involved in heritage 
  • heritage will be in better condition 

You must address both outcomes in your application. 

We expect responses to be proportionate to the amount of grant being requested. 

If relevant to your project, you may also respond to: 

  • the funded organisation will be more resilient 

How will your project involve a wider range of people? 

Your answer should explain how your audience or volunteer profile will have changed through the project or if this is a project planning application how it would change in a future project. This may include: 

  • improvements to the accessibility of a site 
  • working with partners or other organisations to reach under-served audiences 
  • supporting new individuals into the sector through jobs, training and/or apprenticeships 

Include evidence to support your plans. 

How will your project improve the condition of heritage? 

Explain how your project will improve the condition of the protected sites network, even if this will be in the future. For example, describe what specific actions you will undertake to improve the management of the habitats and species. 

If your project is not taking place directly on a protected site, please explain how your project will bring value to the network in the long run. You may find it useful to refer to The Nature Network Map to evidence how the location of activities outside of protected sites will develop connectivity. This is available through DataMap and Wales Environmental Information Portal (WEIP):  

Will your project achieve any of our other outcomes? 

Leave blank, we will not be assessing any other outcomes for the Nature Networks Fund (round three). 

Managing your project 

How will your project be managed? 

Answer as normal. 

How will you evaluate your project? 

We recommend you build in evaluation from the beginning of your project. The more carefully projects budget for their evaluation, the higher the quality of the final report. We have recommended minimum spends on evaluation and you can find further information on this within our evaluation guidance.  

At the end of your project we will expect some evaluation feedback, in two parts: 

  • your own evaluation report, sent in before we pay the last 10% of your grant 
  • An evaluation questionnaire, within one year of completion. You can see the information we will want you to report in our evaluation guidance

How do you plan to acknowledge your grant? 

As part of your grant from the Welsh Government, you must acknowledge your funding on social media, through press releases, and by displaying our partnership logo. Please read our Welsh Government acknowledgement guidance

Tell us about any jobs or apprenticeships that you will create to deliver your project 

Answer as normal. If you are creating jobs or apprenticeships, you must attach the relevant job descriptions. 

Project costs 

Please refer to the application guidance section called ‘Preparing your application’ to ensure that your project costs are eligible. If you are applying for £250,000 or more please submit an Expression of Interest in the first instance. 

For monitoring purposes, it is important that you distinguish between capital and revenue costs in your cost table. To do this, please put them on separate lines and add ‘Cap’ or ‘Rev’ to the start of each cost description. For example, if you are applying for £10,000 of professional fees for capital work, and £5,000 of professional fees for engagement activities, your table should look like this: 

Example of a cost table:

Cost heading Description of cost Amount
Professional fees CAP contractors for building bird hide £10,000
Professional fees REV freelancers to deliver activity programme £5,000

It is important that the costs you ask us to cover do not constitute unlawful subsidy to you. Please check the ‘Additional Information’ section of the application guidance for further details. 

Support for your project 

Are you getting any cash contributions to your project? 

Answer as usual, ‘yes or ‘no’. 

Please note: There is no mandatory requirement for cash contributions to Nature Networks (round three) projects. However, any cash contributions you provide can add to the impact and value for money of your project, which will be considered in assessment. 

Add a non-cash contribution 

There is no mandatory requirement for non-cash contributions to Nature Networks (round three) projects. However, any non-cash contributions you provide can add to the impact and value for money of your project, which will be considered in assessment. 


There is no mandatory requirement for volunteer contributions to Nature Networks (round three) projects. However, any volunteer contributions you provide can add to the impact and value for money of your project, which will be considered in assessment. 

Evidence of support 

Answer as usual. Upload letters, emails or videos of support as appropriate for your project. 

Supporting documents

The following supporting documents must be uploaded at the end of your application form. File sizes should be smaller than 20MB. Please note that some of the supporting documents required for this programme are different to those stated in the online application form.  

For this programme, we require the following documents: 

  • governing document (mandatory if your organisation has one) 
  • audited or verified accounts (mandatory if you are an organisation) 
  • project plan (mandatory for all projects) – you can download a template from our project plan page
  • partnership agreement (mandatory, if you are working in a partnership) 
  • job descriptions (mandatory, if you are creating new jobs or apprenticeships as part of your project) 
  • briefs for commissioned work (if applicable)  
  • images, including at least one map showing the locations of capital works  
  • calculation of full cost recovery (if applicable)  
  • evidence of support, such as letters, emails or videos of support (optional)