The fund's new Community Buildings programme will put Lottery good cause money into buildings across England to strengthen the key role they play in local communities.
'These buildings often act as hubs, bringing people together and promoting increased community participation and improving community relationships. BIG is pleased to announce that this programme is now open for business, encouraging community interaction and self-help across England.'
The Big Lottery Fund will make£50m available over three years, with grants of between£50,000 and£500,000 to improve, replace or introduce a building into a community that provides services and activities to meet the needs of a range of people.
The programme is open to voluntary or community organisations (which includes charities, unincorporated associations, not-for-profit companies, credit unions, self-help groups or co-operatives and faith based community organisations), parish councils or church-based faith organisations.
Under Community Buildings, the Big Lottery Fund will give out grants that broaden access to and increase the use of existing services; create a greater number and wider range of new services; improve opportunities for the community to access a wide range of learning; and improve the skills, knowledge and capacity to respond to community needs.
The programme will support sustainable buildings that are adaptable to a variety of community needs, have a reduced impact on the environment and can be maintained by the community in the long term.
It is also important for applications to demonstrate accessibility and meaningful involvement of the local community in both use and management of the centre.
Applications to the Community Buildings programme will be assessed in two stages and applicants wanting to apply for a grant, must submit their first stage application form by 30 April 2007. Application forms are available at: www.biglotteryfund.org.uk
Some applicants may also be offered development grants, to contribute towards the cost of developing the project further, to meet the stage two application requirements. If development funding is offered it will be discussed with applicants. Development grants will be for no more than£25,000 and the combined total of the development grant and project grant funding must not exceed the maximum grant size of£500,000.
Historically, both the Millennium Commission and the Community Fund provided a significant level of funding for community buildings; the Millennium Commission contributed£50m in the form of a dedicated programme, while the Community Fund has awarded over£138m to community buildings since 1995.
The programme has been devised following an intense and comprehensive process of public consultation with stakeholders and the general public, and is part of the Big Lottery Fund's portfolio of new programmes.
UK-wide, the Big Lottery Fund will distribute through its new programmes and allocations funding worth over£2.6bn between now and April 2009. Regularly updated information on the Fund's new programmes is available at: