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← Back | Last updated on 7 Jul 2021

National Lottery Community Fund: Growing Great Ideas

We’re looking to invest in different combinations of people, communities, networks and organisations over the long term. They might be better described as ecologies, platforms, ecosystems, assemblages, networks and constellations – things that are generating an infrastructure through which many things are possible. The important thing is that we can see the potential in the work to be able to grow and deepen over time, extending its mission, refreshing its soil and attracting more to the ecology as it grows.

We’re particularly interested in exploring how we can more deliberately invest in ecologies, platforms, ecosystems, assemblages, networks and constellations that are working towards a common purpose and new philosophy. These could be existing ones that want to extend and/or deepen their work, or new ones that emerge. This work can take place at a local or national level.

What we’re hoping to fund

At this stage, we’re looking to fund things that may look quite different from each other but will likely have in common some of the following:

  • They’re likely to be starting with a new philosophy, frame, logic or narrative that guides the work, like a new philosophy about how the economy could work or how society could be organised.
  • They consider equity in everything they do - equity for people and for the planet. We are looking for initiatives that are creating new patterns of who has power and what is valued.
  • They’ll be generating an infrastructure through which many things are possible.
  • They can show that the things that are created underpin genuine transitions away from/towards the relevant focus.
  • They’ll be able to show that they’ve been consistently asking and exploring good questions about how things need to change in the present, and can imagine and articulate what alternatives looks like.
  • They’ll be operating from a set of principles that show how they’ll get there, even if they do not know what the final result might be (because it’s experimental).
  • They can show an ability to continually adapt as they go. We want to invest in how people are enquiring.
  • They will be able to describe what progress looks like for their work, how they are committed to that progress, and to have some ideas about how they will measure and show progress.
  • There is momentum to what they are doing. They can point to how they are making ripples as they have been growing and deepening their work, and show that they are attracting others to it.
  • They are unlikely to be a single organisation or project, already working with multiple partners and enmeshed in many relationships. They can also show that they’ve had real engagement with other parts of the landscape that are key to things being different.

We’ll be looking to explore longer-term funding commitments that show us investing in those involved for seven to ten years. This is not about ‘core costs’ - we want our funding to be used in a more adaptive, vital and regenerative way than the term ‘core costs’ suggests.

In such a long-term, emergent approach, we know we’ll need to also have flexibility in where the funding goes, and to enable groups and organisations to come in and out of the ‘ecology’ as it deepens and grows.

Your lead organisation also needs to be a:  

  • registered charity  
  • community interest company 
  • Charitable Incorporated Organisation (CIO)
  • community benefit society
  • co-operative society (if it has a not-for-profit clause)
  • voluntary or community organisation  
  • statutory body (including town, parish and community councils) - we’d like them to be part of the initiative but not lead it   
  • company limited by guarantee (if it has a not-for-profit clause).