Community Grants guidance

Community Grant Schemes are a ring-fenced pot of money that you can use to fund other groups/organisations to deliver small, seperate projects.

As part of your project, you can ask us to contribute towards Community Grants. These community grants will contribute to the overall aims of your project.

Any grants like this must demonstrate good value for money, and public benefit should outweigh any private gain.

You will manage the funding pot, develop an application process with a decision panel and monitor progress.

The community grant scheme must also be publicised by you so it is widely known and open to all.

What to think about

When planning a Community Grant Scheme, it is important to show you have considered:

  • whether you will have a specific focus (for example, natural heritage or local cultures and memories) or if it will be open to any kind of project
  • how you will administer the scheme (including assessment of applications)
  • how you will make decisions and ensure they are fair and open to public scrutiny
  • how you will make payments and manage risks
  • how you will monitor projects’ progress and evaluate what they achieve  
  • how you will publicise the grants
  • how you will ensure National Lottery funding is acknowledged by people you give the grants to
  • the scale of the Community Grants in relation to your project as a whole

Who can receive Community Grants?

Grants can be for both capital works and activities.

You can award grants to not-for-profit community groups or private owners of heritage (for example, owners of archives, land or buildings).

Grants to private owners of heritage should be to conserve that heritage. You must also show us how public benefit will outweigh any private gain.

Terms of grant for community grant recipients

Community Grant recipients must sign up to the same terms of grant and to any additional requirements that you set in your scheme. You will need to reflect this in your agreements with them, as you will be responsible for ensuring they understand and agree to the terms of grant and that they achieve our outcomes.

This includes the requirement to acknowledge National Lottery funding.  

Capital works on private land, buildings or heritage items

If you plan to award grants to fund capital works on private land, buildings or heritage items, your agreement will also need to secure management and maintenance of the capital works for 10 years from the expected date of the works’ completion.

This should be a legal agreement between you and the owner of the heritage.

You can include the costs of adapting and setting up these agreements, including the costs of taking legal advice, as part of the costs in your application.

Size of grants

We recommend that the Community Grants pot should not exceed £200,000 whether this is the majority of your project’s activity and budget, or part of a large project and budget.

Limit any individual grant to:

  • for activity: £10,000
  • for capital: £25,000

If your project needs a larger Community Grants pot or to make bigger awards for conservation of historic buildings, you will need to justify this in your application.

Some projects may need to exceed the limit in order to conserve heritage that is key to the character of an area, for example, if you are restoring a building as part of a townscape scheme.

In this case, you should tell us about this in your Expression of Interest Form. You might also wish to consider if this would be better suited to a separate application.

Your grants process

You will need to develop a fair and transparent application process with clear guidelines. In terms of due diligence, we expect that at a minimum you will want to request the following from an applicant:

  • the organisation’s governing document (unless they are a public sector organisation or private owner of heritage)
  • proof of ownership if the project involves work to land, buildings or heritage items (for example, deeds, leases or any information relating to mortgages)
  • copy of recent accounts or last three months of bank statements

You should also think about any additional documents that are appropriate for your Community Grant scheme. We must approve this process before you launch the scheme.

Making decisions

A grants panel must make the decisions. The panel should not all be people from the same organisation and it should not include organisations or individuals who may wish to apply for grants from the community pot. This is a conflict of interest.

You should have clear criteria for applications and make these criteria publically available along with a list of your awards.

Reporting

You will need to satisfy yourselves that Community Grant recipients have done what they said they would and that their progress has been satisfactory. You may wish to do this through a variety of tools (for example, progress reports, photographic evidence or site visits). The level of detail you request should be proportionate to the grant amount.

We recommend you ask for a final evaluation report, as this will help you evaluate the impact of your project as a whole.

You may also wish to ask for evidence of expenditure and evidence that community grant recipients have acknowledged National Lottery funding.

You will have overall responsibility for reporting to us on the impact of your project, which includes the impact of the community grants.

You will need to produce an evaluation report at the end of your project. Your evaluation framework must also capture impact of the Community Grants.  You should read our Evaluation Guidance and ensure that you allocate sufficient budget to undertake this work.

Template for community grants

We have developed a template [downloadable from this page] to help you manage your Community Grant scheme. You will need to adapt it to fit your project and may need to seek external advice.

Restrictions

The Community Grant scheme is ring-fenced and you cannot transfer this to any other budget heading.

Community Grants cannot be given to acquire land, buildings or heritage items.