Funding: Big Lottery Community Assets

Through Community Assets grants, The Big Lottery aim to “empower people to create strong and resilient communities by helping them to acquire, manage or develop assets such as buildings or land.”

As our mission at Club Development Scotland is to;

“Enable the development of sustainable  clubs based on community involvement and ownership”

this fund sits very comfortably with us and is one we’re keen to help clubs make the most of. Community Assets is a rolling fund which groups can apply for between £10k-£1m. It is well primed for sport clubs currently leasing assets who wish to develop their activities through purchasing facilities.

Although there is nothing that prevents sport clubs being able to apply for this fund, to date only one sport club has been successful in securing Community Assets grant funding. Real community sport clubs are extremely well positioned to be able to deliver the outcomes required from Big Lottery and must be able to demonstrate their application is:

  • rooted in the community, are genuinely community-led and gives the community a stake in local decision-making
  • is connected to other organisations and services in the community
  • shows clearly the changes that will take place and why this is the best way to deliver these changes
  • and shows the developments will be economically sustainable once our grant has ended.

This fund is very much about community development through sport, so just applying to take ownership of a club house for activities which are purely sport for sports sake will not progress. Applications will need to focus on how sport is being used as a vehicle for positive social and community change. Big Lottery will focus their funding where it will have the most impact and will prioritise applications that address disadvantage and inequality.

There is no end to the amount of work sport clubs are currently doing in this area and could do in the future and we’d be happy to share some of the examples we’ve come across of clubs that operating in the wider geographical community’s interest.

Before you apply to the Community Assets fund, you may want to develop your idea further and if there is development work that needs to be conducted (i.e. a feasbility study), the Big Lottery’s Investing in Ideas awards grants (between £500 to £10,000) could be right for you. The fund is open to organisations to enable them to think about, develop and test new ideas or improved ways of working that will bring real improvements to communities, and the lives of people most in need.

If you’re interested in support and advice on the fund, feel free to get in touch with us. We recently wrote a blog for Sported on how sport clubs can make create positive community capital which might get some thoughts following.