Connecting Communities and Volunteering Support Grants

– Introduction
– Guidance notes:
   – Who can apply? - eligibility 
   – Programme criteria
   – Application process


Lisburn & Castlereagh City Council funded through the Department for Communities (DfC) Covid Response Fund, has launched a grants scheme for constituted community/voluntary and faith-based organisations.
The funding scheme is split into two streams:

1. Arts, Mental Health and Wellbeing

This fund will enable groups to make Covid-19 safe adaptations to their physical spaces and/or deliver arts resource packs and creative virtual programmes to improve access to Arts and Wellbeing activities. Proposals must be in response to the immediate challenges of running normal programmes of activity. Equipment purchases can apply to internal and external layouts to assist with social distancing, sanitisation stations, signage, awnings or canopies/gazebos and outdoor seating or heating. Creative arts kits or virtual activities can also be supported.

Applicants can apply for a minimum of £1,000 up to a maximum of £5,000.

2. Volunteering Support

The end beneficiary for this fund will be the volunteers themselves. It has been recognised that volunteers played and continue to play a vital role in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic within the local communities.
In recognition of this and to retain and build upon the pool of volunteers, support will be offered to purchase for example, but not restricted to, branded clothing (Hi-Viz vests, hoodies, fleeces etc.), packs for volunteers (art/ craft/ pamper etc.) and out of pocket receipted expenses. The items should be for volunteers only and not for staff / members generally.

Applicants can apply for a minimum of £500 up to a maximum of £2,000.

Please note that the panel reserves the discretion to reduce the amount awarded based on demand.

Guidance notes:
Who can apply? - eligibility

The COVID-19 Grant Aid Connecting Communities and Volunteering Support Programme is open to community/voluntary and faith-based organisations based in the Lisburn & Castlereagh City Council area that meet the following criteria:

  • an open and accountable governing document (Constitution or Articles and Memorandum of Association, or applicable governing document) that has been properly adopted;
  • a bank account in the name of the organisation, which requires a minimum of two unrelated members to authorise withdrawals and an annual set of independently examined financial accounts, endorsed at an Annual General Meeting;
  • a Management Committee or Governing Board, elected by its membership at an Annual General Meeting, and elected office bearers;
  • have appropriate Safeguarding Policies for protecting Children and Vulnerable adults, who are involved as part of the group’s programme;
  • Up to £5 million Public Liability Insurance, to cover all risk associated with the activities of the organisation.

Programme criteria

The following will be a priority for the Grant Scheme:

1. Arts, Mental Health and Wellbeing

Proposals that address the challenges faced because of COVID-19 and are linked to enabling people to return to Arts and Wellbeing activities to support positive mental, reduce isolation and promote connectivity.

  • Purchase of equipment must be for items required to make current facilities Covid-19 safe in terms of social distancing and sanitisation to carry out the running of normal programmes of activity. Purchases can include but not restricted to;; street furniture, inclement weather canopies (standalone), outdoor heaters, outdoor furniture, street planters, hand-sanitisation stations, outdoor arts equipment.
  • Arts Kits can be resourced to support families during restricted periods. 
  • Virtual/Digital Arts programmes that engage members of the community remotely in creative activities to promote a sense of wellbeing. Activities can include; pottery, dance, painting, book clubs, storytelling, mindfulness etc. 

2. Volunteering Support

Proposals that support the retention/ increase the current pool of volunteers. This fund is to recognise the crucial role and effort of volunteers during the pandemic. The end beneficiary for this fund will be the volunteers themselves. Volunteers played, and continue to play, a vital role in the fight against the Covid pandemic within the local communities.

  • The end beneficiary will be the volunteer themselves. Purchases should not be made for all members of a group unless they all volunteer.
  • Purchases for volunteers can include: Branded clothing (hi-viz vests, hoodies, fleeces etc). Items should at least have the council logo. Pamper Packs for volunteers – craft packs, activities packs.
  • Out of pocket receipted expenses.

Non eligible items

  • Costs that are not auditable e.g. cash payments
  • Mortgage payments, rent, rates, salaries, insurance or utility costs
  • Debt, retrospective costs (out of pocket receipted volunteer expenses incurred since March 2020 will be considered)

NB. Funding will ONLY be available to groups based in the Lisburn & Castlereagh City Council area that meet the above criteria.

Application process

Before applying, please check that:

  • your organisation is eligible to apply;
  • your application meets the priorities of this fund;
  • you have completed every question on your Application Form;
  • you can provide all the information we ask for as part of the application process.

Once your application is received, we will:

  • Perform an Eligibility Check on your application and then assess it against the key themes of the grant, as highlighted in the PROGRAMME CRITERIA section above;
  • Contact you with questions should we need to, so please keep a copy of your Application Form for your reference;
  • Not assess your application if it is incomplete.

If your application is successful, we will:

  • Send you a Conditional Offer and our Terms & Conditions of Grant by email for your organisation to sign and return to the council;
  • Clearly indicate the eligible expenditure for the funding offered;
  • Request the grant to be acknowledged through the inclusion of the official Lisburn & Castlereagh City Council’s logo on all related promotional material associated with the project and that an Elected Member or Council Officer from Lisburn & Castlereagh City Council, is invited to the event/activity to which the grant is awarded.

Once we have received your signed Terms and Conditions we will:

  • Make payment to your group’s bank account, via the Bankers Automated Clearance System (BACS).

If your application is unsuccessful, we will:

  • Contact you by email informing you of the reasons why your application has not been successful, for which there is no right of Appeal.

Proposals must comply with relevant government, public health and licensing guidance and regulations. Any activity outside the set timescales or guidance and regulations will not be eligible for funding.

Apply online

or download an application form.