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  • Help and support

Grants for improving lives

Grants from £10,000 to £1 million to help people facing challenging circumstances
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Funding size:
£10,000 - £1 million
Application deadline:

What's it all about?

Many people experience challenges at some point in their lives. We want to support activity that helps them overcome these difficulties and become more resilient.

We want to fund activity that means people:

  • are better able to identify ways to take control over their lives and build resilience
  • are able to shape the activities and services they use to better meet their needs
  • have more access to support and opportunities to improve their lives.

For applications up to £150,000 you only need to fill in a single application form.

If you are applying for between £150,000 and £1 million there is a different form and two stage process.

To discuss what you’re applying for, contact our Advice Team on advicescotland@biglotteryfund.org.uk or 0300 123 7110.

The success rate for applying for up to £150,000 is 53%. When applying for between £150,000 and £1 million at stage one, the success rate is 48%. This is based on decisions made between 1 July 2016 and 30 June 2017. Please read our blog for more information on success rates.

Sample forms for both sizes of grant, including help notes, are available at the bottom of this page.

Visit our FAQ page for answers to your most asked questions about this funding.

Read our blog posts about this grant:

Need more than £150k? Here’s some advice…

Busting those Improving Lives grant myths

Warm welcome for migrants and refugees

What types of activity will we fund?

Our grants for improving lives will fund activity that:

  • supports children, young people and families currently experiencing challenging circumstances
  • supports people that have experienced abuse
  • tackles loss, isolation and loneliness
  • challenges discrimination and supports people affected by it.

We will consider activity which aims to prevent as well as respond to these issues.

We will fund activity that is people-led, connected, and strengths-based. We call these our three approaches. Find out more about what that means in the three approaches section of our website.

Who can apply?

What can you apply for?

You can apply for funding for up to five years to improve or continue existing services, or to develop new activity.

Funding is available up to £1 million however, we are keen to spread our funding as best we can, so are much less likely to offer grants of more than £500,000 routinely. Applications with a large request may have better chance if they can demonstrate some level of match funding. We will mainly provide revenue funding, but can also consider some capital costs where they are related to the activity we are funding.

The Big Lottery Fund is a living wage friendly funder. This means that we encourage our applicants to pay their staff the UK Living Wage.

Please visit our Living Wage page for more information