Big Lottery Fund to open new £15m digital fund

The scheme will help voluntary sector organisations use digital tools and approaches to support local people

(Photograph: Getty Images)
(Photograph: Getty Images)

The Big Lottery Fund is to launch a new £15m fund designed to help charities make the most of digital opportunities.

The Digital Fund, which will open for applications on 22 October, will award grants of up to £500,000 to help voluntary sector organisations use digital tools and approaches to support local communities.

The programme has two funding strands. The first will focus on what the BLF calls "digital pioneers", which are established charities with annual incomes of more than £500,000 that want to use digital technology to make significant progress.

The second funding strand will focus on "digital natives", or more recently established charities that are already successfully using digital but need help expanding.

Grants awarded by the BLF in the programme will last between one and four years, the organisation said.

Applications for the first funding phase will be able to be made until 3 December, the BLF said. 

Initial funding decisions will be made in January and March 2019, the BLF said, and there will be further opportunities to apply in 2019.

Dawn Austwick, chief executive of the BLF, said: "It will help both digital natives and digital pioneers maximise their impact, by putting people at the heart of their digital services.

"This is an exciting stage in our own journey to be an effective digital funder."

The BLF will rebrand next year as the National Lottery Community Fund, which it said will help make its purpose clearer to the public and support the long-term health of the National Lottery.

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