New BIG Lottery paper on ‘building capabilities’ — what it will fund

Further to this earlier post,  the BIG Lottery has just announced that it has completed its consultation on ‘building capabilities’ (that’s more or less what we used to know as ‘infrastructure support’) and has just published Building Capabilities for Impact & Legacy. There’s more background information here.

I have to say, I have rarely read a more convoluted report, but the upshot seems to be as follows:

  • There will not be another major BIG funding programme of grants for individual support providers. BIG thinks it should focus on a small number of particular areas where its funding can be most effective in supporting the wider voluntary sector.
  • BIG says it will focus on three areas where its learning suggests that BIG’s grant support will make the biggest difference:
  1. Supporting organisations to engage in continuous improvement of their organisational capabilities
  2. Responding to crisis; and
  3. Planning for the future after BIG’s grant finishes.

It also says that in the period to 2015 it will also focus on initiatives that offer “pre-grant support” and “in grant support” to organisations in its funding programmes.

This will not be a universal entitlement but will target organisations working in the most deprived communities that need support in order to be able to serve those communities more effectively. THis presumably means that frontline VCOs will be able to bid for resources to buy-in support, and presumably the emphasis will be on the three areas BIG has identified as having greatest impact.

There will be a continuing emphasis in BIG’s funding on building the social investment marketplace and enabling VCOs to become more ready for social investment.

However, BIG in conjunction with NCVO has also just announced that the second round of funding under their joint ASSIST programme – a £6m fund which will make small grants of £2,000-£7,000 to infrastructure providers to enable them to adapt their services so as to be more effective and more sustainable – will open on 5th November 2012. You can already write and save online applications ready for submission on that date.


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