Big Lottery Fund
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Putting Communities First

Our Commitment to Communities

The UK continues to adapt to changes and challenges brought about by the pandemic. During this period of uncertainty, we want to be clear about what you can expect from us.

The following commitments are UK-wide – they tell you what our overall approach to funding will be. Our funding offer for England, Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland and our UK Portfolio will show you how we’re applying these commitments in practice at a national, regional and local level.

1. Our commitment to people and communities remains a constant

This is our first pledge to you – that wherever you are based in the UK, you can expect our funding to continue to support people and communities to prosper and thrive. We were proud to provide support throughout the COVID crisis, and we will be proud to be here for you as communities recover, rebuild and grow.

Demand for our funding remains at a record high. While we cannot fund every great project or idea, as the largest funder of community activity in the UK you can rely on us to:

  • Be open to all communities and respect their starting point. We know that our funding has a role to play in creating a fairer society both between and within communities across the UK. We will help level opportunity by ensuring that our approach is flexible, proportionate and well-informed.
  • Use our funding to bring people and communities together. We will continue to fund the places, organisations and people that are pivotal to making this happen. With more than 10 million volunteers stepping forward over the pandemic – we know there is power in our communities.
  • Support ideas from communities. Our work will be guided by the knowledge that when people take the lead, communities prosper and thrive. We will ensure that our funding is meaningfully informed by lived, learned, and practiced experience, as well as the insight and knowledge that we and others have.

2. We are committed to fairness and inclusion

National Lottery funding is for everyone. When it comes to delivering on this our teams, which are based within communities across the UK, are our greatest assets. Their knowledge, skills, presence and community relationships will continue to ensure that our funding remains responsive to the diverse strengths and ambitions of different communities. Our vision is one of thriving communities where every person is valued and has level opportunity. We ourselves are a community. As such, we expect to work with each other according to the same values and aspirations expressed in our grant-making, engagement and public profile.

3. We are committed to making a difference  

We know that National Lottery funding changes lives - we will use our resources well, so that National Lottery funding makes the greatest possible difference. Data and impact will inform our strategy and, as part of this we will redouble our efforts to measure, understand and share what works, why, and where the challenges and opportunities lie.

We will explore new ways to bring to life the contribution The National Lottery makes in communities thanks to those who play. We will work to make that contribution more visible and accessible to more communities, helping to find new ways for people to find and enjoy the wealth of services available on their doorstep – thanks to National Lottery Players.

4. We are committed to our role as a national funder focused on key social issues

As a national funder we will be relevant and focused on the role and contribution we play on the key social issues and priorities facing UK communities.

  • We target our funding to where it is needed most – over the last five years half our funding went to the 30% of local areas across the UK that have the highest levels of deprivation.
  • We are one of the largest funders of opportunity for young people outside of school - over the last five years we’ve supported more than £1.2bn of local youth projects.
  • We work to support communities on climate and environment action – over the last five years we’ve awarded nearly £400m through 6,000 projects and have renewed our commitment to the health of our planet with a £100m Climate Action Fund.

We will publish an Impact Report that explores what we know and are learning about the difference we make in these areas. Looking ahead, we will work with communities, stakeholders and governments to ensure our added value is focused where it most relevant, making the most difference we can thanks to those that play The National Lottery.

After prolonged periods apart and with a deepened respect and understanding for the vital role of communities in the UK, we recognise the importance of community celebration. In 2022, alongside other members of The National Lottery family, we’ll fund the celebration of national moments, such as the Commonwealth Games and the Platinum Jubilee. These moments provide a platform for communities to come together, but also to demonstrate their contribution through projects that can create a legacy for future generations.

5. We are committed to responding now and shaping the future

Our final commitment to you is this. We will continue to be responsive to communities, while also recognising the important role that we and our funding have to play in shaping the future. We will be ambitious and develop innovative practice that allows us, and others, to achieve this.

We will work with others to ensure that our funding, no matter its focus, draws on knowledge, insight and foresight. We will enter into strategic partnerships and thoughtful collaborations to make the most of others’ expertise and the strengths and skills that they bring.  We will ensure our knowledge, experience and networks are shared where they can help others.

These commitments are to the communities we are here to serve and the civil society partners we work alongside. As we emerge from the pandemic, we’ll work to renew our strategy ensuring it reflects our commitments and is purposeful for the years ahead. In doing so, we remain as ever, inspired and humbled by the resourcefulness, innovation and passion of the communities we serve.

In all that we do, we will be Putting Communities First.


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