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update from National Lottery regarding a number of their funding programmes

Published: September 9, 2020

Like many funders our plans for 2020 have changed significantly as we respond to the COVID-19 pandemic. This year at the National Lottery Community Fund Scotland we were due to pause and redevelop our funding offer as it reached the end of its five-year cycle.
I want to let you know today that we have changed these plans, as we think it is important to ensure third sector organisations can access our National Lottery funds to support them respond to and recover from the impact of the pandemic.
Our current funding programmes will remain open for an extra 18-24 months – however, we will adapt them as needed. We hope remaining open for applications means we can better support the sector through COVID-19. Some of our grants and funding will remain unchanged, and others will be adapted to be more focused on COVID-19 recovery, with shorter grants and quicker turnaround.


  • National Lottery Awards for All and Young Start funds will remain open and unchanged
  • Improving Lives grants remain open, but will be shorter, quicker to access, and will fund a wider range of work focused on recovery from COVID-19.
    • From October 1 2020 the maximum Improving Lives grant will be £200k for up to three years.
  • Community-Led Activity grants remain open. We’re reviewing these now to make sure they are relevant to the current situation, and will make any changes before the end of 2020.
  • We’re still prioritising COVID-19 responses across all our funds – but we remain open to non-COVID-19 related work too.
  • While we will make some further changes to priorities for both Improving Lives and Community-Led Activity before the end of 2020, there will be no other large-scale changes to our main grants until at least 2022.

Detail and deadlines:
Improving Lives grants

  • From October 1, 2020 the maximum available Improving Lives grant will be £200K over one to three years. It will be a single stage application.
  • We will only accept applications for more than £200k or more than 3 years until noon on Wed 30 September.
  • We are reaching out to organisations we think will be affected by this change, but please don’t hesitate to get in touch if we can help support someone you are working with
  • Before the end of 2020 we intend to adapt the priorities for Improving Lives to make it more relevant to the current situation. These priorities are in development, but we plan for these to expand the types of work we can currently fund rather than replace them.

 Community-Led Activity grants

  • Our Community-Led Activity grants remain open. We are reviewing the fund to make sure it’s relevant for current situation, and will make some tweaks before the end of 2020
  • We plan to increase the maximum grant to £200K.

Keeping you informed:
We’ll be putting information about all these changes on our website and social media channels over the next few working days – but don’t let that stop you telling anyone who needs to know now.
Additionally, once we have more information to share on our expanded priorities for Improving Lives and Community-Led Activity we will be back in touch by email with all the details. This should be in late November or early December.
We would like to ensure you remain well informed of any changes before they go live and we plan to hold some online sessions for intermediaries like yourselves, going through our priorities and any other changes to our funds. Again, we’ll pass on details in advance.
And of course, if any of the information in this email is unclear please don’t hesitate to get in touch.

Other funding opportunities
Young Start
As more and more youth services reopen across Scotland, we are interested in hearing from great youth-led projects that could benefit from our Young Start funding. Grants of up to £100k can be used for any work that is designed and led by young people aged 8-24, and that will improve their wellbeing, help them become better connected or more enterprising.
Over the past six months we’ve received fewer applications than we expected, so are happy to hear from any new projects that may be interested in funding.
Catalysts for Change funding
I’d also like to highlight the Catalysts for Change fund, which we support through the Queen’s Nursing Institute Scotland. The fund offers grants up to £5k for projects led by community nurses that will work with the local community to improve the health and wellbeing of marginalised groups.
The next round opens on the 21st of September, and we’d be very grateful if you could share this information with any relevant people or networks in your area.

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