lottery grants information

The DCMS Lottery Grants Database only holds information relating to completed grants/grants in progress made by the Lottery distributing bodies, excluding those grants made by the Olympic Lottery Distributor. It does not hold details of applications for Lottery grants.

The information held on the DCMS Lottery Grants Database is provided by the Lottery distributing bodies.

National Lottery Good Causes

Arts good cause - this cause includes Lottery grants made by the following Lottery distributing bodies: Arts Council England, Scottish Arts Council, Arts Council of Wales, Arts Council of Northern Ireland, British Film Institute, UK Film Council, Scottish Screen and Creative Scotland.

Heritage good cause - this cause includes grants made by the Heritage Lottery Fund.

Sport good cause - this good cause includes Lottery grants made by the following Lottery distributing bodies: Sport England, Sport Scotland, Sport Northern Ireland, the Sports Council of Wales, and UK Sport.

Health, education, the environment and charitable expenditure good cause - this combined cause is currently funded by the Big Lottery Fund, which was created by a merger of the Community Fund and the New Opportunities Fund. The Big Lottery Fund formally came into being on 1 December 2006.

The separate charitable expenditure good cause is historical and was originally funded by the National Lottery Charities Board, which changed its name to the Community Fund in 2001, until being merged with the New Opportunities Fund on 1 December 2006 to create the Big Lottery Fund. While the good cause of charitable expenditure has been the good cause supported by the Community Fund and now in part the Big Lottery Fund – these are not the only Lottery distributors who give grants to charitable or philanthropic organisations. Charitable and philanthropic organisations also benefit from grants given by the sport, arts and heritage distributing bodies.

The separate health, education and environment good cause is historical and was originally funded by the New Opportunities Fund, until its merger with the Community Fund on 1 December 2006 to create the Big Lottery Fund.

For the historical record, the pre-defined searches on the DCMS Lottery Grants Database show the figures for the separate good causes of charitable expenditure and health, education and environment before these were merged, along with the historical good cause of the millennium - as well as the ‘current’ good causes.

National Lottery Distributing bodies/Joint Schemes

Awards for All (England) Joint Scheme - this was a joint scheme funded Arts Council England, Sport England, the Big Lottery Fund (and the Community Fund) and the Heritage Lottery Fund. As the scheme was originally administered by the Community Fund, the DCMS Lottery Grants Database registers these grants under the good cause of charitable expenditure – this may not necessarily reflect the good cause of the distributing body which awarded the grant as part of this joint scheme. The distributing bodies continue to run separate small grants schemes, with the Big Lottery Fund retaining the name Awards for All for its own small grants scheme.

Big Lottery Fund - was created following an administrative merger between the New Opportunities Fund and the Community Fund. The Big Lottery Fund came into being on 1 December 2006 and distributes National Lottery money to organisations working in the combined good cause area of health, education, the environment and charitable expenditure. To gain a complete picture of what the Big Lottery Fund and its predecessor bodies have funded, you will need to search ‘Big Lottery Fund, ‘New Opportunities Fund’, ‘Community Fund’, and ‘Awards for All (England) Joint Scheme’ – bearing in mind that ‘Awards for All England (Joint Scheme)’ was a joint scheme with other distributing bodies and so elements will fall under other good causes.

British Film Institute - took over responsibility for distributing Lottery funding for film projects across the United Kingdom from the UK Film Council on 1st April 2011.

Community Fund - formerly the National Lottery Charities Board, this body was renamed in April 2001. The Community Fund distributed grants to projects under the charitable expenditure good cause until being merged with the New Opportunities Fund on 1 December 2006 to create the Big Lottery Fund.


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Creative Scotland - was launched on 1 July 2010, following a merger of Scottish Screen and the Scottish Arts Council. Creative Scotland takes over the functions and resources of these two former bodies, including the Lottery distribution responsibilities, as well as a wider remit for developing the arts sector in Scotland.

New Opportunities Fund - was created under the National Lottery Act 1998 and distributed National Lottery grants to projects in the good cause area of health, education and the environment until being merged with The Community Fund on 1 December 2006 to create the Big Lottery Fund.

Millennium Commission - this body distributed Lottery funds to support projects across the United Kingdom that marked the year 2000 and the beginning of the third millennium. The Millennium Commission was wound up by Order on 30 November 2006, prior to the formal creation of the Big Lottery Fund which is the Millennium Commission’s legal successor.

Geographical area

The majority of National Lottery grants, especially those that help to restore or create a new building, benefit a specific area or community, are shown as having their location in or benefiting a particular area because the building itself is located in a particular place.

Some Lottery grants, however have a much wider geographical benefit or do not benefit a geographic area at all - for example a cycle path or canal which crosses many geographical boundaries; a film which is distributed throughout the United Kingdom; a website or telephone line which can be accessed by people throughout the country; a touring arts event which travels to several destinations. These types of grants are described as ‘non-location specific’ as they do not benefit a particular geographical location.

Umbrella/Third Party/Award Partner Grants: The Lottery distributing bodies sometimes make grants for onward dispersal through a third party. In these instances, the minimum information that the DCMS Lottery Grants Database records is the name of the third party or umbrella organisation which has received the grant; the amount of the grant; and the number of projects that benefited from the grant. The financial benefits of Umbrella/Third Party/Award Partner are widely spread across the country – distributing money from that grant to many small projects and communities across the country - therefore these types of grant are not liked to any specific geographical location.

Grant Date: where the award of a grant is staged, this means the ‘initial grant date’.

Not Derived: this refers to grants which either by their nature cannot be attributed to a specific geographical area and are ‘non-location specific’ or are grants which have a specific location, but where the geographical location data could not at present be derived from the postcode associated with the grant. Grants where the geographical location data cannot at present be derived from the postcode given have their geographical data updated on a regular basis.


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