LCCC Arts Grants Scheme - Making Art in Communities (MAC) 2023/24

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



The importance of the arts and creative activities to the health and wellbeing of individuals and communities is a key part of Lisburn & Castlereagh City Council’s Community Support Plan and in support of this, the Council’s Making Art in Communities (MAC) Arts Grants Scheme has been designed to support community groups in the delivery of arts events, projects or activities, which take place in the Council area through the provision of direct grants. 



A maximum grant of up to £1,500 is available for any one organisation in each financial year.


Organisations in receipt of a grant must comply with all statutory obligations regarding the delivery of and access to their programme, including council procurement/ Health & Safety/Safeguarding and licensing requirements.

Successful applications will be determined on the basis of merit.

If more than one group operates within a particular locality, the council would welcome partnership applications, however a lead applicant will need to be identified. Please note in this case the applicant must demonstrate that there is no project duplication.

Organisations must be based in the Lisburn & Castlereagh City Council area and funding must be spent between the date of their signed Terms & Conditions being received and 31st March 2024.

Applicants can apply to other sources of public support, outside of the council, but must declare this in their application form.

Applicants will be expected to make every effort to increase capacity within their local community, through for example, skills training and volunteering.

It is a prime responsibility of the council to ensure the proper and efficient use of, and accountability for, public monies.  To this end, applicants must forward all supporting documentation requested along with the application. The council will be unable to assess applications without all supporting documentation being received.

Applicants will be required to demonstrate the effectiveness and impact of their project, and adequately show how it will have a positive and measurable impact on the local community.

Future funding may be withheld if any required closing documentation is still outstanding for previous grants administered by Lisburn & Castlereagh City Council, including invoices, receipts, accounts, bank statements and evaluation reports.

Successful applicants in any given year should not presume continued support in subsequent years.

Evidence that the project is not of a commercial nature or organised on a profit / commercial basis.

Evidence that the application is not for normal running costs of the applicant organisations e.g. existing staff salaries.

Evidence that the projects administration/equipment costs are proportionate to the overall programme costs.

Evidence that the application is not for trade or professional conferences / conventions.

Evidence that the application is not primarily fundraising for charitable purposes, or deploying potential sources of income to a charity.

Evidence that the application is not for a social event that has no community benefit.

Evidence that the proposed project clearly contributes to the ambitions of the Arts Grants Scheme.

Guidance notes:
Who can apply? - eligibility

Organisations must be able to demonstrate the following basic eligibility criteria:

  • Evidence that the application is from a formally governed organisation (a copy of the Constitution, Memorandum Articles of Association, etc. must be submitted with the application and evidence must be provided that it has been adopted at a public meeting of the group’s membership).
  • Evidence that the applicant group’s governing document open and accountable.
  • Evidence of Public Liability insurance cover of a minimum £5 million for the activities of the group, including the proposed project, or confirmation from a broker that this can be produced.
  • Evidence of Employers Liability insurance (where applicable) to cover a minimum £10 million for the activities of the group, including the proposed project, or confirmation from a broker that this can be produced.
  • Evidence that the group is based with the Lisburn & Castlereagh area or that the project beneficiaries are resident of the Lisburn & Castlereagh City Council area.

We do not fund organisations that are:

  • not formally constituted, in other words, they do not have a constitution or memorandum and articles of association
  • not operating on a not-for-profit basis (taken from the constitution or memorandum and articles of association) as we cannot support commercial projects or projects that could be carried out commercially. If, in the reasonable opinion of the Council, the organisation applying for funding is a de facto commercial organisation, whatever the legal make-up of the organisation, then the Council shall not fund that organisation. The decision of the Council shall be final in this regard.
  • able to share out profits (taken from the constitution or memorandum and articles of association)
  • not prepared to share learning from their project with us and other relevant groups
  • Local authorities or public-sector organisations

Projects that:

  • take place outside of the Lisburn & Castlereagh City Council area
  • provide no potential benefit to the public, either in the short or long term
  • are of a commercial nature, organised on a profit / commercial basis
  • are aimed at funding the normal running costs of a community organisation
  • have already taken place or are already under way at the time of the assessment
  • duplicate what already exists
  • are party political in intention, use or presentation
  • promote a particular religion
  • are primarily fundraising events, for charitable purposes, or deploy potential sources of income to a charity
  • are contrary to any Lisburn & Castlereagh City Council policies

As well as the above, the following are considered ineligible for all grants:

  • Application forms that are not completed
  • Projects by individuals/sole applicants
  • Contributions towards general appeals
  • Funding towards campaigning around a single issue
  • Activities related to the promotion of religion or political parties
  • Areas of statutory responsibility or where such funding has been withdrawn
  • Retrospective payments or the repayment of loans
  • Awards ceremony or industry events
  • Organisations that are in poor financial health or cannot show effective financial control
  • Organisations who have previously received a grant from us that was not managed satisfactorily or was not completed. This includes if you did not send us the monitoring and evaluation forms within the agreed timescales or if you did not seek approval for changes to your project.
  • Overheads allocated or apportioned at rates in excess of those used for any similar work you carry out
  • Building/capital costs
  • Costs which are not clearly linked to the project
  • Costs that are poor value for money, or procured outside of Lisburn & Castlereagh City Council’s procurement guidelines (services or items over £1,500 require 3 written quotes)
  • Costs that are already covered by other funding or income sources
  • Costs related to private or unfunded pensions
  • Amounts for gifts and donations
  • Reclaimable VAT
  • Alcohol/ Prizes and trophies 
  • Funding towards uniforms
  • Equipment costs unless they have an on-going use throughout the project and are essential and necessary to complete the project

Funding criteria

In order to deliver the Arts Grants Scheme aims and principles, applicants will need to demonstrate how their project aims to address a minimum of two of the schemes key objectives.

  1. Engaging communities in high quality arts and cultural activities;     
  2. Encourage better engagement and wellbeing for residents through arts based activities;
  3. Encourage partnership working to improve access for all to arts and cultural experiences;                     
  4. Build friendships between generations and cultures reducing isolation, promoting integration and ensuring people-centred arts service.


Engaging communities in high quality arts and cultural activities                                                                

  • Respond to public need and provide a range of high quality arts and cultural experiences to support local people.                    
  • Encourage and support the creation of qualitative project that demonstrates innovative approaches to capturing the imaginations of local people.                              

Encourage better engagement and wellbeing for residents through arts based activities

  • Work with arts professionals and healthcare providers to develop and deliver programmes aimed at improving health and wellbeing through arts based activities.
  • Demonstrate the power of arts and culture to enrich the lives of individuals and make positive changes in communities including capacity building.                                

Encourage partnership working to improve access for all to arts and cultural experiences                                               

  • Demonstrate how communities across a wide range of diverse backgrounds have been at the centre of planning the project and how you have ensured access for all involved.                                                                  
  • Demonstrate collaboration and creativity across networks that supports best use of local resources and delivery of high quality arts and cultural experiences.                                                                               

Build friendships between generations and cultures reducing isolation, promoting integration and ensuring people-centred arts service                 

  • Provide exciting and challenging creative experiences that will have a long-lasting impact upon participants and audiences ensuring access for all groups.                     
  • Demonstrate how arts and cultural experiences will build self-confidence and self-worth, improve emotional well-being among community members and play an important part in community activities.                                                                                                  

Application process

The Awarding Process

A panel made up of representatives of council officers will review all eligible grant applications and make recommendations to the council based on the results of an assessment process. 

The Assessment Process

Parts 1 & 2: Organisation Eligibility and Governance

Applications received shall initially go through an eligibility and good governance check, based on the information provided in provided in Parts 1 & 2 of the application form. 

Each section will be marked as ‘pass’ or ‘fail’ based on your answers and supporting documentation/evidence.   All sections must be rated ‘pass’ for an application to move on to the next phase of assessment. 

Part 3, 4 & 5: Project Needs, Delivery & Funding

Parts 3, 4 & 5 will be assessed drawing on the evidence you provide in relation to each of the questions asked. Each question will be given a score out of 3 as follows:

0     No evidence presented
1      Very little, weak or irrelevant evidence presented
2     Some evidence presented but lacks in either conviction or relevance
3     Clear, relevant answers with limited evidence
4     Clear, convincing answers with strong evidence
5     Strong, clear and relevant convincing evidence from a variety of sources (Proportionate to scal

Each question will be weighted to reflect its importance. This means the score is multiplied by the weighting number to give a weighted score.

Part 6: Details and Declarations

Part 6 must be completed before a grant can be awarded and processed.

The Allocation Process

All eligible applications that have scored over 50% and provided all necessary documentation and declarations will enter the allocation process. If the total funds requested exceed those available the moderation team may select to fund the strongest festivals by raising the bar on the total weighted score (eg to 55% or 60%); or to reduce the sum offered to each applicant by the percentage of the shortfall (eg if there is a 3% gap between funds requested and funds available, all grants offered will be 3% less that the grant requested); or they may combine both approaches to give a balanced grant portfolio.


Scoring system overview

Sections 1 & 2:  About Your Organisation                                                     
All sections must pass to move to Part Two  Pass / Fail

Sections 3, 4 & 5

Max weighted score                

Pass mark to move to next section
Arts Programme 35 17
Capacity to Deliver 45 23
Funding requested 20 10
Total score 100
Section 6: Details and Declaration Pass / Fail

Sections 1 & 2: About Your Organisation

If all passed, application can move to section 3

Section 3: About Your Arts Programme

Requires a minimum score of 17 to pass and move to the next section.

Section 4: Delivery

Requires a minimum score of 23 to pass and move to the next section.

Section 5: Funds & Value for Money

Requires a minimum score of 10 to pass and move to the next section.

Section 6: Bank Details and Declaration

Application will proceed to allocation if section 6 is completed in full.


If you are applying for grant aid to work with other groups it is essential that you talk to your partner groups before you apply for funding. You must also submit evidence demonstrating their support and level of involvement.

Successful applicants must ensure that all spend relating to their project proposal has been processed by 31 March 2023, along with the submission of all invoices and grant evaluation form.

Before submiting your application, please ensure:

  1. That it contains full details of the programme or project which you are applying and that you have clearly linked these to the Aims and Principles of the funding scheme and taken all measures to comply with COVID-19 regulations.
  2. That it includes a full and clear breakdown of the project cost and that it clearly indicates the amount of funding that you are requesting from the council; (Please note that this should not exceed the maximum amount available for the scheme, i.e. £1,500)
  3. That it includes full financial details for your organisation; (The council may conduct a further review of the organisation’s accounts and procedures and the applicant must be prepared to make all relevant documentation available for inspection and/or scrutiny.)
  4. That it details all other funding applications that you have applied for in support of the project, for which the application relates to;
  5. That the relevant enclosures are submitted with your application. 

PLEASE NOTE: If you are awarded a grant, Lisburn & Castlereagh City Council does not provide insurance for any activity you undertake.  We strongly advise you to consult an insurance broker or advisor about the possible insurance requirements for your proposed activities.

Completing your budget:

You must show that all costs are reasonable and necessary to complete the programme or project, and you should give us enough detail to assess this. For example, you should give us the unit costs and quantities needed, 10 Artists x £50 = total cost £500. We will not consider your application as eligible if you do not provide a detailed Project Budget.

Restricted costs:

  • Costs must be proportionate to the overall cost of your project and essential for delivering it. If we do not think that the amount you have asked for is good value for money, we may offer you less than the amount you applied for. To make sure you provide value for money we can cap any project costs we are funding.  If you are successful these costs will be shown in the Letter of Offer, for example, facilitators, catering, and so on.
  • Where eligible we will only give funding for catering, hospitality or refreshments if these are clearly detailed in your application form and are essential to the project. If you need to provide catering, hospitality or refreshments, you must explain why it is essential.
  • You must clearly list any costs for facilitators, mediators, consultants or project evaluators clearly in the budget. You must also describe the work they intend to carry out and how it is reasonable and necessary to your project.
  • Any item or service over £1,500 must have three written quotes included.

What happens after assessment?

Successful Applications - Letter of offer

If your organisation is successful, we will send you a letter of offer outlining:

  • the general conditions of the grant;
  • any special conditions;
  • the stages we will pay the grant in.

Before we can release any grant payments, you must sign the Terms & Conditions of the grant. This must happen within one month of the date of the Letter of Offer or we may withdraw the offer of the grant.

We will not fund any project costs you pay or agree to pay before you have signed and returned the Terms & Conditions.

You must get our approval before you make any changes to the project or the budget.

If you receive a grant offer and no longer want to take it up, please tell us in writing as soon as possible but not less than 14 days of the date of your Letter of Offer or the grant offer will be withdrawn.

Paying the funds:

We will pay 100% of your grant when we receive your signed Terms & Conditions. If your group has previously been in receipt of council funding, any advances will only be released if your previous grant file(s) have been closed satisfactorily and all necessary paperwork has been received. All invoices, claim forms and bank statements must be submitted within one month of the programme or project taking place.  

Monitoring and evaluation:

Given you are receiving public funding, you must answer for what you do with this money. Because of this, we will expect you to complete a Monitoring and Evaluation Form based on information provided in the grants application. Please note that monitoring and evaluation is a condition of all our grants and final payments will only be released on receipt of a fully completed Monitoring and Evaluation Form.

Marketing and promotion:

You must acknowledge our support by including our logo on all printed materials associated with your programme of work. We will give you more information about logos if your application is successful.

If you receive funding from us it does not mean we endorse your project. When you display the council logo on published material, you must include the following sentence:

‘‘This publication is grant-aided by Lisburn & Castlereagh City Council. The views expressed are not necessarily shared or endorsed by the council. The council does not accept any responsibility for these views.’’

Occasionally you may be asked to make appearances and assist us with launches and photo shoots. Successful applicants will be expected to ensure invitations to events are extended to the Right Worshipful the Mayor, Deputy Mayor and Chairman of the council’s Leisure & Community Development Committee. 

Unsuccessful Applications – Appeals Process:

Should your application be unsuccessful you will be notified in writing. All applicants have a right of appeal to the council. A full copy of the council’s appeals process will be issued with the unsuccessful outcome letter.

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