The Big Lottery Fund is launching a £140m environmental grants programme that will be open to private companies and public sector bodies and individuals, as well as charitable trusts and not-for-profit organisations.
The Living Landmarks initiative is aimed at helping communities make significant improvements to their local environments, and features two funding streams. In the first, it will award an undecided number of grants of between £10m and £25m to "projects of regional significance", such as the construction of the Gateshead Millennium Bridge.
Applicants will be shortlisted and selected by a committee of experts from the areas of architecture, regeneration and the environment.
The second stream, which will run in conjunction with the third year of funding for The People's Millions TV series (Third Sector, 25 May), will award a single grant of between £25m and £50m to a larger project of either national or regional importance. This will be voted for by the public alongside the show.
The money that will be awarded in the first and second years of The People's Millions comes from the New Opportunities Fund's Transforming Your Space scheme, while the money for Living Landmarks originated from the Millennium Fund.
A spokeswoman for the Big Lottery Fund said it was not the first time grants had been made available to private companies, adding that such a scheme shouldn't be exclusive to one group.
The closing date for applications to the programme is 6 January 2006.