Value of Big Lottery Fund applications almost trebled in past year

BLF's Veronika Karailieva presents figures showing significant increase in funding requests

Veronika Karailieva, development officer at the BLF
Veronika Karailieva, development officer at the BLF

The total value of Big Lottery Fund grant applications almost trebled from 2009/10 to 2010/11, delegates at a fundraising conference in London heard yesterday.

Speaking at the Institute of Fundraising’s Trust Fundraising 2011 conference, Veronika Karailieva, development officer at the BLF, presented figures showing a significant increase in the number of funding applications it had received year on year.

After the conference, a spokeswoman for the BLF told Third Sector that the total value of grant requests for all programmes was up from £1bn in 2009/10 to £2.8bn in 2010/11.

The value of applications in 2010/11 included six applications worth a total of £1.2bn to deliver the Big Local Trust, according to the BLF’s latest annual report. The total value of applications excluding those connected to the Big Local Trust increased from £1bn to £1.6bn in 2010/11.  

The spokeswoman said that over the same period the value of grants awarded fell from £406m to £357m.

At the conference, Karailieva said a large proportion of the rise in applications was due to requests for funding from the Reaching Communities programme, which awards grants of between £10,000 and £500,000 for projects in deprived areas.

But Andrew Stafford, director of the Dulverton Trust, told delegates that the number of applications to the grant maker was down compared with previous years.

"We’ve had fewer applications than in 2007/08," he said. "We expected to be inundated. We’re still not seeing a big rush."

He said there had been a rise in the number of phone enquiries and that the quality of grant applications had gone down.

Katie Truss, trust and corporate fundraising manager at Friends of the Elderly, said the proportion of trusts that did not respond to its grant applications had increased recently, from 57 per cent in 2008/09 to 66 per cent in 2010/11.

Andrew Mangeot, trust fundraiser at East Anglia’s Children’s Hospices, said it had had a similar experience. "Even with trusts that we have a very strong relationship with, quite a few haven’t even responded to the appeal this year," he said.

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