Head Injury Support

People and Communities

Head Injury Support

Supporting positive change in the community. The People and Communities programme is designed to support you to work with local people to bring about positive changes in your community. A community could be a geographical area or a community of interest.

Northern Ireland
Funding size
£30,000 to £500,000
Total available
£57 million
Application deadline
Key facts Arrow pointing down
  • All voluntary, community and social enterprise (VCSE) organisations are eligible to apply.

  • Funding is available between £30,000 and £500,000 for projects lasting between two and five years.

  • We can consider funding capital costs of up to £100,000 within revenue projects.

  • Projects specifically targeting young people aged between 8 and 25 should consider applying to our Empowering Young People programme. Please check the programme page or give us a call.

Watch our short animated video to get an idea of what we mean when we say people-led. You can read more about what we are looking for in our blogs about how to make your project people led, strengths based and connected.

What can be funded? Arrow pointing down

Our programme will support projects that clearly meet the following two programme outcomes:

  • People make changes that improve their lives.

  • Communities build on their strengths and share learning.

We want all the projects we fund to embrace the three key themes of:

People-led: This means the people you’ll be working with will be meaningfully involved in the development, design and delivery of your project. Have you spoken to people in your community about your project? Have you listened to what they've said? Watch our short animated video to help you get an idea of what we mean when we say people-led.

Strengths-based: We’d like to support people and communities to build on the knowledge, skills and experience they already have to make the changes they want. What is working well in your community? How can we support you to make those things even better?

Connected: We want to know that you have a good understanding of other activities and services in your community and can show how your project will complement these. Have you spoken to other groups in your area that are doing similar or related work? Have you thought about how you could support each other?

To help you understand what we are looking for, we have compiled some stories about our funded projects that are already people-led, strengths-based and connected.

How to apply Arrow pointing down

Talk to us – we're really interested in your ideas. And we're here to support you to make the best application possible.

If you have a project idea call us on 028 9055 1455.

This is an opportunity to tell us about your project: what it will do, who will benefit from it and why it’s needed. You can also ask us questions.

Based on our conversation, we’ll advise you if you are ready to apply and send you an application form. Or we may offer you some advice for you to consider on the three key themes (people-led, strengths-based and connected) before sending you an application form.

You can talk to us as many times as you need to about your project idea. This is not an assessment. This is a chance to get early feedback to further develop your idea. There are no deadlines on this programme so you can take as much time as you need.

Alternatively, if you prefer a face-to-face chat about your project idea, we are happy to call with you when we are in your area, as we are working more locally across Northern Ireland.

Once we have received your completed application form, we will assess it – find out more about this stage in the What happens next? section.

A sample application form is available below for you to use as a guide to consider when you contact us.

The Big Lottery Fund is a Living Wage Friendly Funder. This means that we encourage our applicants to pay their staff the UK Living Wage.

Related documents

People and Communities guidance (PDF 162KB)

People and Communities sample application form (PDF 619KB)

Get help using our electronic forms here.


As an organisation that gives out public funds, we carry out some checks on the information you provide us. Learn more about our checks

Next steps Arrow pointing down

1. Receiving your application – Once we receive your completed application form we will send you an acknowledgement and let you know the name of your funding officer.

2. Assessing your application – Your funding officer will contact you to arrange a visit that suits you and may ask you for some additional information. This could include, for example, a detailed project budget, staffing information, a copy of your organisation’s latest accounts and, if your work is existing, some evidence of the impact or difference your project has made to date.

3. Face-to-face assessment visit – During the visit your funding officer will discuss your project and explore how it meets the programme outcomes and three key themes. Your funding officer will also discuss with you how the project will be delivered and the difference the project will make.

4. Assessment report – Once the visit is complete your funding officer will write up an assessment report which will consider:

  • how your project meets the programme outcomes and three key themes

  • if delivery and cost of the project is appropriate and realistic

  • if your organisation has the skills, experience and resources to deliver the project.

The assessments will be moderated by our team. If further clarification is needed, your funding officer will contact you.

5. Decisions – There are different decision routes depending on how strong your application is and the amount of funding you have requested. Your project is presented at decisions meetings alongside other projects and this is a competitive process.

Assessment criteria

The team will meet to discuss your project and if it does not strongly meet the assessment criteria (outlined in point four above), your project will not be awarded funding. This decision will be endorsed by the Senior Head of Funding and your funding officer will inform you of the decision.

If your project strongly meets the assessment criteria, then who makes the decision will depend on the amount of funding requested:

For applications requesting funding of £200,000 and under

Projects at this level will be presented at a meeting of experienced staff from across the organisation. Decisions will be made at these meetings and endorsed by the Senior Head of Funding. Your funding officer will inform you of the decision.

For applications requesting funding over £200,001

Projects at this level will be considered by our Northern Ireland Committee, which is made up of six people (see further details of the Northern Ireland Committee members). Your funding officer will inform you of the decision.

6. Communicating the decision – We will let you know our decision within four months from submission of your completed application.

If your project is unsuccessful your funding officer will provide some feedback by phone and you can also arrange a feedback meeting. You will also receive a letter confirming the decision.

If your project is successful, we will send you an offer letter and your funding officer will be in contact to discuss next steps.