Reaching Communities England

Status:Open to applications
Start Date:07 December 2005


Grants are available for projects which encourage voluntary and community organisations to identify their own local ideas for funding.  It will support projects that improve the quality of life in communities across England, offering help where it is most needed.


Fund Value:£ 200,000,000
Minimum Value:£ 10,000

Value Notes

The Reaching Communities programme has two strands:

  • Reaching Communities: grants of more than £10,000 are available for revenue funding and equipment. However, applicants that are applying for over £500,000 must contact BIG first.
  • Reaching Communities buildings: for projects involving land or buildings, grants of between £10,000 and £100,000 are available. Applicants seeking grants of more than £100,000 can apply under the Reaching Communities Buildings Programme.

Funding is available for projects lasting up to five years.

Extended Description

The Reaching Communities programme is provided by the Big Lottery Fund.

Reaching Communities supports projects that improve the quality of life of communities across England, offering help where it is most needed.

The programme is part of the Fund's demand-led strand, which encourages voluntary and community organisations to identify their own local ideas and solutions for the Big Lottery Fund to provide financial support towards.

Latest Information

Applications may be made at any time

Key Criteria          

The following organisations are eligible to apply:

  • Unincorporated association, incorporated association, trust or company set up and registered as a charity.
  • Unincorporated association set up as a voluntary and community group.
  • Community Interest Company.
  • Not for profit company limited by guarantee.
  • Community benefit society.
  • Statutory organisation, such as a school.
  • Town and parish councils.

Reaching Communities-funded projects can only help people and communities in England. The activities funded must take place within the UK.

Partnership working is encouraged, particularly between the voluntary and community sector and the statutory sector.                                                                                                                                 

Eligible Expenditure              

Funding is available for projects that help people and communities most in need. Projects can be new or existing, or be the core work of the organisation.

Every project must:

  • Respond to need - this is a problem, issue or situation where something needs to change to make things better for a person, group of people or environment.
  • Involve the people who will benefit from the project in planning and running the project.
  • Achieve one or more of the following four outcomes:
    • People having better chances in life, with better access to training and development to improve their life skills.
    • Stronger communities, with more active citizens working together to tackle their problems.
    • Improved rural and urban environments, which communities are better able to access and enjoy.
    • Healthier and more active people and communities.

Eligible revenue expenditure includes:

  • Salaries of project workers, including any extra costs such as pensions, National Insurance and redundancy costs, if applicable, for the project.
  • Salaries of management staff who only supervise project staff, including any extra costs such as pensions and National Insurance for the project.
  • Recruitment of staff who will work on the project.
  • Expenses of project staff and volunteers, including travel, accommodation, phone bills and stationery.
  • Rent, heating, lighting, maintenance and insurance for office space and buildings only used for this project.
  • Training of staff and volunteers working on the project.
  • Monitoring and evaluation of the project.
  • Marketing and publicity for the project.
  • Professional and legal fees associated with revenue expenditure on the project.

Eligible capital costs include:

  • Building and engineering works (new build, extension, refurbishment, modernisation or conversion) required for the delivery of the project.
  • Plant and equipment necessary for running the project.
  • Purchase of land, buildings, equipment or fixtures and fittings.
  • Transport that is necessary for delivering the project.
  • Professional and legal fees associated with capital spending on the project, such as supplying legal documents.

The following overhead costs are eligible:

  • Salaries of human resources, finance, IT, fundraising and other staff supporting the project (for example, running payroll and servicing computers used by the project).
  • Salaries of senior management overseeing the project.
  • Meetings of the trustees or management committee.
  • Audit and other legal fees associated with running the organisation.
  • Rent, heating, lighting, maintenance and insurance for the office space the project requires or shares with other projects.
  • Rent, heating, lighting, maintenance and insurance for office space used by staff that run the project.
  • Professional fees associated with strategic planning.
  • Training staff.
  • Networking and attendance at conferences or partnership work that benefits the project.

Match Funding Restrictions

Match funding is not required as the programme can provide 100% funding. However, applicants are encouraged to arrange complimentary funding from other sources.


Funding is not available for the following:

  • Individuals.
  • Sole traders.
  • Profit making organisations.
  • Groups applying on behalf of other organisations.
  • Organisations in poor financial health or that have demonstrated poor management of grants in the past.
  • Groups from outside the UK.
  • Religious activities.
  • Party political activities.
  • Retrospective costs.
  • Costs someone else is paying for in cash or "in kind".
  • Items that will only benefit an individual and are not needed to deliver the project outcomes.
  • Travel outside the UK.
  • Funds to build up a reserve or surplus, whether distributable or not.
  • Loan repayments.
  • Contributions to general appeals.
  • Routine repairs and maintenance to buildings, unless they are essential to the project.
  • General improvements to public areas, unless they are essential to the project.
  • Personal equipment not essential to running the project.
  • Maintenance equipment, fixed or loose equipment or office equipment which is not essential to the project.
  • The purchase of a leasehold that has less than five years to go.
  • Projects where more than 25 per cent of the work is to make the venue accessible to those with disabilities in accordance with Building Regulations, disability legislation and BS 8300.

Application Procedure                                

The application process has two stages. A Stage One application form is available to download from the BIG Lottery Fund website. Applicants must tell BIG about the project, what difference it would make and how the applicant knows it is needed. Website

Successful applicants will then be invited to complete a Stage Two application providing more information about the project and how it will be run.                                           

Address & Contacts :

Contact details:
General Enquiries
Big Lottery Fund
1 Plough Place
Telephone:0845 4 10 20 30