LCCC Community Festivals Fund 2021/22

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



The Community Festivals Fund (CFF) was established in recognition of the potential contribution that festivals can make to communities, the local economy and wider government priorities.

The fund aims to support the development and capacity of locally run festivals by providing support and training to make them less reliant on public funding in addition to offering funding towards the costs of events. The fund enables community organisations to celebrate their cultural identity and strengthen community relations while promoting equality and targeting poverty and social inclusion.



A Community Festival is defined as a series of events (or a single event with several elements) with a common theme and delivered within a defined period of time (not to exceed 28 days). It is developed from within a community and should celebrate and positively promote what the community represents.

Community Festivals are about participation, involvement and the creation of a sense of identify and are important in contributing to the social well-being of a community. They must be initiated and led by, or in partnership with a community organisation – The community must play a strong part in the development and delivery of the festival and have ownership of it.


A minimum of £1,000 and a maximum of £3,500 is available for any one organisation in each financial year. The total amount awarded can only make up 87.5% of the total expenditure of the Festivals (up to the maximum amount available), therefore applicants will need to demonstrate a 12.5% match funding contribution that can be an ‘in-kind’ amount.


Organisations must comply with relevant government and public health guidance and regulations in relation to Covid-19. Any activity outside the set timescales or guidance and regulations will not be eligible for funding.  

Organisations must comply with all statutory obligations regarding the delivery of and access to their project or event, including Health & Safety and licensing requirements.

This is a competitive scheme and applications will be determined on the basis of merit.

Applications to this scheme will be open to all festivals that can meet the core criteria of the scheme irrespective of whether they are established or emerging events.

Applicants can apply to other sources of public support, outside of the Council, but must declare this in their application form and show how the additional funding will add value to the festival.

Festivals should contribute to the promotion of a positive image of Northern Ireland and organisers must take steps to avert anti-social behavior.

Applicants will be expected to make efforts to maximise income through ticket sales and sponsorship. They should develop a plan to improve their projects sustainability, and reduce reliance on public funding, in future years.

Those organisations based outside the Lisburn & Castlereagh City Council area may be awarded funding for festival projects as long as the entirety of the festival project takes place within the Lisburn & Castlereagh City Council area.

Projects must take place in the Council area between the date of their signed Terms & Conditions being received and 31 March 2022.

Guidance notes:
Who can apply? - eligibility

Organisations must be able to demonstrate the following eligibility criteria:

  • An open and accountable governing document (Constitution or Articles and Memorandum of Association, or applicable governing document) that has been adopted at a public meeting of the group’s membership
  • 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
  • Evidence of Public Liability insurance cover of a minimum £5 million for the activities of the group, including the proposed festival, 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 festival, or confirmation from a broker that this can be produced
  • Evidence that the group is based with the Lisburn & Castlereagh area or that the festival beneficiaries are resident of the Lisburn & Castlereagh City Council area

The following are considered ineligible for this grant:

  • Application forms that are not completed
  • Festivals by individuals/sole applicants
  • Contributions towards general appeals or 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 or reclaimable VAT
  • Awards ceremony or industry events, holiday schemes
  • Organisations that are in poor financial health or cannot show effective financial control
  • Overheads allocated or apportioned at rates in excess of those used for any similar work you carry out or Building/capital costs
  • Costs which are not clearly linked to the festival
  • Costs that are already covered by other funding or income sources
  • Costs related to private or unfunded pensions
  • Amounts for gifts and donations, alcohol, prizes and trophies
  • Funding towards uniforms
  • Equipment costs unless they have an on-going use throughout the festival and are essential and necessary to complete the festival

Funding criteria

Lisburn & Castlereagh City Council is committed to empowering communities to take the lead in shaping cultural provision and engaging more people in creative experiences as audiences and participants.  In order to deliver the aims and principles of the Community Festivals Fund, applicants will need to demonstrate how their festival addresses a minimum of two of the scheme’s criteria:

  1. Promoting equality, target poverty and social exclusion                                             
  2. Celebrating and encouraging cultural expression through strong community participation
  3. Enhancing community relations                
  4. Capacity building by providing support and training                                                                                 

Promoting equality, target poverty and social exclusion                                                                  

  • Challenge existing or perceived barriers regarding disability, poverty, joblessness, age, race, location, language and gender.                             
  • Help to reduce hate crime and intimidation by enabling people to feel safer at events, activities or facilities associated with a different culture                                   

Celebrating and encouraging cultural expression through strong community participation

  • Help create a place where cultural diversity is celebrated by increasing understanding of and respect for different culture/s            
  • Demonstrate the power of cultural activities to enrich the lives of individuals and make positive changes in connecting communities through participation                                                 

Enhancing community relations                                                     

  • Help create a community where everyone feels safe, tackle issues of inequality and reduce the motivation for discrimination.                                                                      
  • Help create a community, which promotes mutual respect and understanding, is strengthened by its diversity and where cultural expression is celebrated and embraced.                                                                                      

Capacity building by providing support and training                          

  • Help staff and volunteers improve skills and/or receive training                      
  • Demonstrate how the festival has/will grow in reputation, to include visitor numbers, experiences and sustainability                                                                                                            

NB. Those organisations based outside the Lisburn & Castlereagh City Council area may be awarded funding for festival projects as long as the entirety of the festival project takes place within the Lisburn & Castlereagh City Council area..

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

Part 1: Organisation Eligibility and Governance

Applications received shall initially go through an eligibility and good governance check, based on the information provided in Part 1 of the application form which covers Sections A, B and C. 

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 2: Project Needs and Delivery & Part 3: Making a Difference (outcomes)

Parts 2 and 3 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 -  Very little, very weak or irrelevant evidence presented

1 -  Some evidence presented but lacks in either conviction or relevance

2 -  Clear, relevant and convincing evidence provided

3 -  Strong, clear and relevant convincing evidence from a variety of sources (proportionate to scale)

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 4: Details and Declarations

Part 4 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

PART ONE:  ABOUT YOUR ORGANISATION                                                       
All sections must pass to move to Part Two  Pass / Fail


Max weighted score                

Pass mark to move to next section
Section D: Meeting needs 21 11
Section E: Delivery - People and Plans 45 23
Section F:  Funds and value for money 9 5
OVERALL  Total weighted score  108 56
Total weighted score as % of maximum 51%


Application will proceed to Part Two if all sections, A, B and C pass


Application will proceed to Section E if it scores over 50% 

Application will proceed to Section F if it scores over 50% 

Application will proceed to Part Three if it scores over 50% 


Application will proceed to Part Four if it scores over 50%.

Within this there must be a reasonable spread of scores across all items B, C and D


Application will proceed to allocation process if Part Four 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.

Before submiting your application, please ensure:

  1. That it contains full details of the festival 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 festival 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. £3,500 and should include a minimum of a 12.5% match funding contribution, which can be in-kind.)
  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 Festival, 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 Festival. 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.
  • Applicants must also demonstrate a minimum of 12.5% match funding, which can be in-kind.   All groups who are awarded funding will be required to demonstrate all spend associated with the award, including the 12.5% match funding contribution.

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 festival 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 Festival 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.

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