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Down Right Brilliant

Northern Ireland

Down Right Brilliant

Big Lottery Fund is the largest community funder in the UK. Each year we distribute millions of pounds of the National Lottery’s good causes money to community groups and charitable projects around the country.

What funding is available? Arrow pointing down

We’d like to talk to you about your ideas early on so we can give you the best funding advice, so please call our team on 028 9055 1455.

Awards for All Northern Ireland


  • Funding for projects that bring local people together to make positive changes in their community.
  • There’s no deadline, so groups can apply any time.
  • We've made the application process simpler and quicker.
  • We are prioritising groups that have not had funding from this programme within the last two years.
See programme

People and Communities


  • Projects are people led - the beneficiaries are meaningfully involved in the development, design and delivery of their project.
  • Builds on the skills, assets and energy of people in communities and helps them develop their ideas.
  • Projects have an understanding of other activities and services in their community and how their project will complement these.
  • Funding available for between two and five years, to projects run by voluntary community social enterprise (VCSE) groups.
See programme

Empowering Young People


  • Projects will help more young people meet one or more of the following: have the skills they need for the future; have better relationships with their support networks and communities; have improved health and wellbeing.
  • Young people must be involved in the planning and delivery of the project. They must be able to develop the skills to help themselves, and their support networks and communities need to be involved too.
  • Funding available for between two and five years, to projects run by VCSE groups for young people aged 8 – 25 years.
See programme
Funding in Northern Ireland Arrow pointing down

A snapshot of funding in Northern Ireland for 2016/17

  • 641 grants in total, across every local authority area
  • 555 awards to VCSE organisations with an income of less than £1m
  • 92% of grants are Awards for All and for £10,000 or less
  • 50% of grants were to groups applying to us for the first time

Here are some examples of beneficiaries supported by our funding

  • £13.8m awarded to projects supporting young people
  • 7.4m awarded to projects supporting people to improve their mental health
  • 9.4m awarded to projects supporting people with disabilities
About the ideas we support Arrow pointing down

We believe people should be in the lead when improving their lives and communities. Our approach focuses on the skills and energy people can draw upon and the potential in their ideas. We are asking what matters to communities, not what’s the matter with them.

We are interested in ideas that:

  • Involve people right from the start – we want them to be involved in the development, design and delivery of a project.
  • Bring people together, strengthening relationships in and across communities.
  • Encourage people and organisations to work together to make a difference in their community.

We do this through:

  • Funding grassroots projects that bring people and communities together.
  • Asking groups to contact us early on so we can give honest feedback on whether it’s the right programme for them and provide advice and support.
  • Offering a range of flexible funding and support.
  • Helping organisations to share learning.