Views sought on Building Better Opportunities programme

The Big Lottery Fund is looking for feedback from the charity sector on a proposed new fund that would match £260million of lottery funding with £300million of European Social Fund money to help communities in need.

The Building Better Opportunities programme, which is aimed at promoting social inclusion and combating poverty in England, would be delivered in local enterprise partnership areas according to local priorities, set by the LEPs.

Proposed projects range from improving employability for the most disadvantaged to helping those with multiple and complex needs, or improving financial literacy. The grants would range from £500,000 to £4million.

A total of 36 LEPs, including all of the LEPs covering the East Midlands, have said they will work with the Big Lottery Fund on the programme, which is due to be launched next summer and will run until 2023 if it is approved by the European Commission later this year.

Charities that want to access funding will need to enter a two-stage competitive grants process. Those that get through the first stage will be offered the chance to apply for development grants of between £10,000 and £50,000 to help them get to the second stage.

LEP areas have decided how much of their ESF allocation to devote to the programme, meaning that the amount of lottery funding available will vary widely across different areas.

The Big Lottery is seeking feedback from charities about the programme through a survey at Respondents will be entered into a prize draw to win a free DSC fundraising course.