Dormant Accounts webinar resources and recording

17 May 2021 Sandra Bailie    Last updated: 28 May 2021

Dormant Accounts Fund webinar image

On 13 May over 100 people attended our Dormant Accounts webinar with The National Lottery Community Fund to find out more about The Dormant Account fund.

The Dormant Accounts scheme was set up by the UK government in 2008 under Westminster legislation which allowed for banks and building societies to channel dormant accounts money to good causes through an independent body called the Reclaim Fund. The National Lottery Community Fund is the distributor for this money. 

The aim of the fund is that the community and voluntary sector in NI will be more resilient and prepared for the future through increased capacity and sustainability. There’s an expectation that applications will meet the following outcomes – they should be more confident about their ability to adapt to future challenges, more financially resilient, have increased skills and capacity, improved strategic planning and demonstrate more collaboration within and across sectors.

About the fund

Phase 1 was launched on 12 January 2021 and has no closing date. The maximum award is £100,000 and only one grant will be awarded to an organisation.  Groups should  take their time with an application and consider an approach that will best meet their needs and make the most difference to their organisational resilience.

The questions to ask are:

•        What change will have been made that will make the organisation more resilient and more fit for the future?

•        How will your organisation be different at the end? 

Applications will be unique to each organisation as it will be focused on improving that organisation’s sustainability and resilience in the longer term.

The fund is broadly about supporting organisations rather than the activity they deliver. There has been huge interest in the fund since it opened, with lots of applications from groups/organisations looking for money to deliver projects or expand their services which is not what this fund is for.

Multiyear funding is available to enable organisations to plan for the future and make a real difference to organisation’s sustainability in the future.

Since opening in January there have been 226 applications – this demonstrates the competitive nature of the programme. Please go to The National Lottery Community Fund website for more information about what can and cannot be funded and only the strongest applications will be funded given the competition.

Examples of what can be funded

•        Support for organisations to achieve long term financial sustainability – such as developing business planning tools or ideas for income diversification.

•        Supporting organisations to collaborate or merge together to reduce costs.

•        Support organisations to communicate and connect with other organisations. 

•        Activity that increases the diversity and skills of volunteers and trustees or committee members – in relation to supporting work that would help with succession planning, diversifying and finding new leaders.

•        Activity that helps improve the delivery and impact of the work by using the full potential of the digital infrastructure or data analysis tools.

Things to consider

•        What is the change you want to see in the organisation?

•        Are the board of trustees and senior team driving it?

•        Do you have evidence of a thorough review of the organisation, business review or planning that is informing the plans?

•        What evidence do you have regarding your organisation’s understanding of the challenges being faced and then what the application proposal will do to address those challenges? The evidence requirements will be proportional to the size of grant applied for.

•        Costs - for example if salaries are applied for, then consideration has to be given to what happens when the grant ends – will you have to apply for more funding? Becoming more dependent on grant income is not likely to make the organisation more resilient.

Examples of unsuccessful applications

•        Existing programme delivery or expand delivery of programmes

•        Helping new or emerging organisations to become established

•        Can’t support organisations to recover from the impact of covid-19 or subsequent inability to fundraise.

•        Capital refurbishment or equipment to deliver activities

The National Lottery Community Fund is aware that projects like these may be a priority for organisations, but the Dormant Accounts Fund is all about building organisational resilience so that it can continue in the longer term.

 For social enterprises and those who sell goods and services, it’s worth noting that grants under this scheme might fall under Subsidy Control/State Aid rules.

Watch the webinar recording

Dormant Accounts Fund webinar from NICVA on Vimeo.


•        Visit the website and blog on applying for guidance on what the programme covers and excludes.

•        Check your eligibility – also available on the website.

  • Have conversations with your trustees and senior team re challenges and future direction of the organisation.

•        Speak directly to The National Lottery Community Fund team. If you already have a funding officer for an existing grant you can speak directly to them.

•        The Dormant Accounts Fund NI won’t be suitable for every idea so it is also worth exploring other funding options like National Lottery funding.'s picture
by Sandra Bailie

Head of Organisational Development

[email protected]

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