How can national lottery funding help communities thrive?


Emma Whitfield on how a name change will help people better understand how the National Lottery helps communities

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7th February 2019 by TFN Guest 0 Comments

Scotland’s communities are varied and wonderful, and means of supporting them must reflect that.

Last month the Big Lottery Fund became The National Lottery Community Fund, a change we made after talking to our grantholders, applicants and stakeholders (among many) to link our identity and work back to where our funding comes from and those it supports.

We believe our new name will help people better understand who we are, what we do and how National Lottery funding is making a difference in communities like theirs.

As a key partner of the third sector in Scotland, awarding grants from £300 up to and, occasionally, over £500,000, we are working with community groups and charities using our funding to bring people together, help their communities to thrive and make good things happen.  

Emma Whitfield

Emma Whitfield

We have begun to put our heads together and think about what our funding might look like post 2020

Alongside other funders and third sector leaders, including the Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations, we are currently considering what the future of our civil society means, and the implications a changing civil society has on the way we work here in Scotland.

This is a live issue for us.

Our current funding programmes were designed for the period 2015-2020. Right now we have begun to put our heads together and think about what our funding might look like post 2020, and think about how things might change.

We know there are many communities that feel marginalised, unheard and neglected. We want to understand how our National Lottery funding can make a difference. How it can be the catalyst that inspires people to come together to create a collective vision for the places where they live? How can it support local action to bring those visions to life.

We know communities are not always rooted in a geography. It’s clear there are many communities of interest that find relevance and meaning from expressing their identities, and being heard. They find strength and courage from coming together around their shared experience and often support others who feel marginalised and without a voice, giving them a hopeful place.

In some small ways at the National Lottery Community Fund we have already begun to change the way we work. We’ve learned from experience that listening to people with a staff that understands a context leads to a different funding relationship. And we’ve seen that the outcomes for communities when we work more collaboratively can be more than the sum of their parts.

In the last 12 months we have moved on from structuring our staff around thematic programmes to focusing on understanding where our funding is working and what the strengths of the local communities are to ensure we can see the role our funds play at a local level.

Over the next 12 months as we develop our future plans with the goal of supporting Scotland’s vibrant third sector the question at the heart of our work will be how do we best support all of Scotland’s varied and wonderful communities to thrive?

Our session here at The Gathering is the start of that conversation.

Emma Whitfield is head of communications and engagement at the National Lottery Community Fund Scotland.

How National Lottery funding can better support communities across Scotland to thrive? (Thursday 21 Feb, 9.30am, Carron Suite).