National Lottery Community Fund – Growing Great Ideas Programme

funding update

Aims/priorities: The Growing Great Ideas programme is part of the National Lottery Community Fund’s (NLCF) UK Portfolio,

The Growing Great Ideas programme will help organisations working together to test new ideas, new approaches that experiment with how to do things differently with a focus on supporting transformational and longer-term change.

Proposals need to:

  • Be about people, communities and organisations working together to further a mission or purpose that goes beyond anything a single project or organisation can achieve alone.
  • Clearly demonstrate something transformational, alternative and able to challenge the current rules and create the conditions for change.

The funding can be used for a number of different things, including:

  • Staff salaries
  • Development work (testing new ways of working, staff training and development, developing governance, tech or IT upgrades/purchases, sharing learning)
  • Transport
  • Utilities/running costs
  • Volunteer expenses
  • Equipment
  • Capital costs (capital costs may be considered if it can be demonstrated how they can benefit the ecology in the longer term).

The NLCF can also support organisations with funding over longer periods, potentially seven to ten years, depending on how long their idea might take to evolve.

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

  • They are 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, ie initiatives that are creating new patterns of who has power and what is valued.
  • They will 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 will be able to show that they have 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 will be operating from a set of principles that show how they will 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, ie 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.

Who can apply? The lead organisation 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)
  • Company limited by guarantee (if it has a not-for-profit clause)
  • Voluntary or community organisation

Statutory bodies (including town, parish and community councils) can be part of the initiative but not lead.

Grant amount: The minimum grant is £150,000. The minimum length is two years. Funding can be available for up to 10 years in some circumstances.

The funding awarded will reflect the stage of the idea.

Application process: Full details and the online application form can be found on the National Lottery Community Fund website.

Deadline: Ongoing

Contact Information:  Tel: 028 9568 0143 Email:

Website address:

over £25,000
Partnerships and Consortiums
Funding Theme: 
Unpublish Date: 
Wednesday, 15 February, 2023