If you have a community-based project which needs funding you might want to consider applying for a Heritage Lottery grant. It isn't an easy task and, to be fair, we did fail in our first application. Their money comes from those kind people who play the lottery every week or who regularly purchase scratchcards. However their income is beginning to decrease in line with the amount of organisations needing more money.
Since the National Lottery was established in 1994 it has raised over £35 billion for good causes but its popularity is waning and the number of applications from charities is on the rise. Last year the Lottery Fund’s balance was £1.54 billion but the commitments made by charities exceeded £3 billion. Sales of lottery tickets are falling while sales of scratchcards are on the rise. However the fund gets only 5p in the £ from scratchcards as opposed to 34p in the £ for lottery tickets. Meanwhile Camelot’s profits have risen from £39 million to £71 million (Telegraph, 2018).
What this means is that it is much more competitive to get an HLF grant and applicants need to do considerably more planning before applying. However, if you are lucky enough to be successful, this groundwork means that you are in a great starting place to get the project going. We had a team of 8 meeting weekly for 5 months to prepare the bid. This preparatory work also involved numerous meetings with local organisations and possible sponsors, as well as with architects and the diocese, as well as trips to Herefordshire Archives (HARC) and attendance on the HLF's own training course. This is not for the faint-hearted!