Heritage Lottery Fund to make grants 'quicker and easier'

The Heritage Lottery Fund has said it will make it quicker and easier for voluntary organisations to apply for £1bn worth of grants over the next five years.

The fund, which launched a new strategic plan today, said it would offer more help to applicants and make decisions earlier in project development. Charities seeking funding will also be able to apply online for the first time.

The move comes after the organisation’s pledge last summer to speed up the application process (Third Sector Online, 26 July 2007).

The fund has also announced that stricter green criteria will be applied to all future bids. Projects will be asked what they are doing to minimise their impact on the environment and ensure that they are using sustainable resources.

The fund said all major programmes would continue over the next five years, despite money being diverted to the Olympics.

“It is still important to encourage a broad range of people to take part in looking after the UK’s rich legacy,” said Dame Liz Forgan, chair of the fund. “The new ways of working introduced today will make it even easier to approach the HLF for support.”

Online application forms for the fund’s Heritage Grants, Your Heritage and Young Roots funding streams will be available from April from its website. All others will be available from July.

A document outlining the details of fund’s third five-year strategic plan, Valuing Our Heritage, Investing In Our Future, can be downloaded from the fund's site.

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