Small Grants Programme revised guidance notes Sept 2010
ARTS COUNCIL OF NORTHERN IRELAND
NATIONAL LOTTERY FUNDS
SMALL GRANTS PROGRAMME
THIS PROGRAMME IS OPEN FOR APPLICATIONS ON A ROLLING
Completed application forms should be returned to:
Arts Council of Northern Ireland
Small Grants Programme
77 Malone Road
You can also apply on-line @ www.artscouncil-ni.org./funding
Small Grants Programme revised guidance notes Sept 2010 1
Welcome to the Arts Council of Northern Ireland’s Small Grants Programme. Before you fill in your
application form, please take time to read this booklet carefully.
You will find information about who can apply for a grant, the kinds of things we will fund and what happens
when you apply for a grant from this scheme.
Contents of the Guidance notes:
1) About the Small Grants Programme.
2) Important pre-application conditions.
3) Who can apply?
4) Who can not apply?
5) Priorities for the Small Grants Programme.
6) How much can you apply for?
7) Can you hold more than one award?
8) Examples of costs we will fund.
9) Examples of costs we will not fund.
10) Level of fees for artists and personnel.
11) Information on documents you will need to provide.
12) Information required by organisations currently in receipt of an Annual Support for
Organisations Programme award.
15) Postcodes with high deprivation
16) New groups.
17) Getting advice.
18) The Application Process – a step by step guide to the application and award process.
Small Grants Programme revised guidance notes Sept 2010 2
About the Small Grants Programme
If you are a constituted group and you need between £500 and £10,000 to help you to run an arts
activity, then the Small Grants Programme could be for you.
This programme has been set up to enable organisations across Northern Ireland to run arts projects; so
whether you are a community based organisation or a professional arts organisation, you are eligible to
Your idea should involve a professional artist who has good experience in the artistic work you want to
We particularly hope these awards will make a real difference to smaller groups and will strengthen
community arts activity through -
Bringing people together and increasing community-based arts activities by helping communities
to meet their needs.
Involving more people in a wide range of community-based activities by developing new
Supporting activities which are open and accessible to everyone who wishes to take part.
Increasing skills and activity by supporting activities which help to develop people and
Encouraging talent and raising standards.
Focusing on improving access to the arts amongst the most disadvantaged in society
Addressing cultural diversity (The project will focus on artistic participation of an ethnic minority
group; or focus on minority ethnic culture and arts; or focus on Ulster Scots language, culture
and arts; or focus on Irish language culture and arts.)
. Priorities for the Small Grants Programme:
We will give priority to applications for projects:
which deliver the arts in areas of social and economic deprivation ( ‘postcodes with high
deprivation’ page 7 of this document);
which focus on ethnic minority arts activity or ethnic minority participation; or focus on Irish
and Ulster Scots culture and language;
which develop, increase awareness of and expand participation in drama and dance;
from professional arts organisations that seek to commission new work.
We will give low priority to applications:
from organisations that are currently in receipt of other Arts Council funding.
Programming that is new and innovative, involving experienced artists and is well planned is most
likely to be successful in receiving an award.
You can apply at any time
The application form is simple and can be filled in online, or by downloading the application
form and filling in a hard copy.
You should hear the result 3 months from the date you apply.
Small Grants Programme revised guidance notes Sept 2010 3
Important pre-application conditions
Government policy and rules on distributing Lottery funds can change, as can the information in
these guidance notes. We may alter our policies, processes and assessment criteria. You should
always check the website to make sure you have the most up-to-date guidance notes and application
form before submitting an application.
The application form does not necessarily give all the information we need to decide on your
application. If necessary, we may ask for more information to check your application and group.
Please do not try to influence the decision by lobbying a Council or staff member, directly or
indirectly. If you do, we may reject your application. You can seek advice on your application from
the Small Grants Programme Officer at any time.
We may use the name of your group and its project in our own publicity material.
If you receive an award, you may not apply again until the first award is completed and the End of
Project Report is received by the Arts Council.
The Arts Council can suspend or can ask for an award to be repaid if the purpose for which the funds
were awarded significantly differs from those for which they are being used without prior approval
having being given from the Arts Council.
Who can apply?
You can apply for an award if...
you are a non-profit distributing group;
you have a constitution or set of rules which you have adopted;
you have a bank or building society account in the name of your group, which requires at least two
unrelated signatures on each cheque or withdrawal;
you can enclose your most recent annual accounts (OR, for new groups, a statement of income and
expenditure). These must be signed as approved as detailed in your constitution;
you need a grant of between £500 and £10,000;
you can spend the grant within one calendar year;
your project beneficiaries live in Northern Ireland;
you have a minimum of three unrelated people on your management committee;
you are a formally constituted parent-teacher association for work that is outside of normal school
Who cannot apply?
We cannot make awards to the following:
Individuals or Sole traders
Commercial trading companies
Companies that exist to distribute a profit
Statutory authorities or organisations governed by statutory authorities i.e.: ELB schools.
Organisations which exist solely to benefit members
Appeals or charities set up to support statutory bodies
Organisations currently in receipt of a Small Grants Programme award from The Arts Council of
How much can you apply for?
An organisation can apply for an award from between £500 to £10,000 for a project. Please apply only
for what you need as we will reject badly costed projects.
Small Grants Programme revised guidance notes Sept 2010 4
Can you hold more than one award?
You can hold only one Small Grants Programme award at a time. An award is not finished until we
receive your End of Project Report.
Examples of costs we will fund:
Costs of tutors and artists (you must supply the CVs/ biography/history of artistic practice)
New Work commissions
Volunteer expenses – specify the role the volunteers have in the arts programme proposal
Travel expenses within Northern Ireland
Publicity and marketing costs
Venue hire for workshops, training, rehearsals and performance
Fees for arts-based courses for project beneficiaries
Vehicles for arts organisations
Examples of costs we will not fund:
non-arts related proposals;
musical instruments or uniforms for bands;
costs of travel to events outside Northern Ireland;
costs towards programming that will take place outside of Northern Ireland;
items which only benefit an individual, for example: prizes, scholarships, bursaries, personal
clothing or equipment, purchase of tickets for events;
activities promoting religious beliefs;
activities promoting political beliefs;
activities that are part of statutory obligations or replace statutory funding;
costs which will be paid to members on the board of the applicant group, eg. as tutors or
donations (to individuals, groups or charities);
fundraising events or activities;
affiliation or membership fees;
costs already incurred - we will not give awards to cover goods or services that you order or
receive before the date on our award letter;
projects already in receipt of other Arts Council funds whether directly to you as the applicant
organisation or to other participants/partners in the project;
awards for projects to make applications to Lottery Funders.
Applications that seek to fund courses that lead to a formal accreditation or qualification.
Small Grants Programme revised guidance notes Sept 2010 5
Level of fees for artists and personnel:
In line with other Arts Council programmes, we will not normally contribute more than £75 per
workshop session (i.e. 3 hours/1/2 day) or £150 for a whole day of artist/tutor time.
If you choose to pay more than this amount to artists or tutors you will be expected to contribute
to this from other funds.
If you want the Arts Council to contribute more than the normal contribution you should submit
the reasons why.
Information on documents you will need to provide
Organisational documents required:
A constitution or set of rules (signed and dated as adopted by the Chair, Vice Chair, Secretary or
Treasurer on your board of management)
When you are awarded a grant your organisation enters into a contract with us. To do this you must
have a governing document that explains what your group is set up to do. You may seek assistance
in developing a constitution through NICVA or Voluntary Arts Ireland.
A valid bank or building society account statement (signed and dated as adopted by the Chair, Vice
Chair, Secretary or Treasurer on your board of management)
If you are successful we will pay your grant into the account that you specify on your application
form. This account must have the same name as your organisation. You must verify this account by
sending us either;
For bank accounts - an original, bank statement from one of the last 3 months (not a copy), which
we will return to you.
For a building society account - a photocopy of the front pages of your passbook containing the
account details. This photocopy must be stamped and signed by the building society. If we cannot
verify your account details we cannot give you a grant.
Accounts or income and expenditure projections (signed and dated as adopted by the Chair, Vice
Chair, Secretary or Treasurer on your board of management)
All organisations must produce a set of accounts at the end of their financial year. These accounts
are then agreed by the members of the organisation at the AGM. You must send us a copy of your
most recent annual accounts. If you are a new organisation which has not yet produced annual
accounts, you must send us a projection of your expected income and expenditure for your first
year. If you are not sure about accounts please contact us. Please note that we will only consider
funding costs that are directly related to your project.
Child & Vulnerable Adult Protection and Safeguarding policy and procedures (signed and dated as
adopted by the Chair, Vice Chair, Secretary or Treasurer on your board of management)
There is a legal responsibility, under the common law Duty of Care, for all organisations to take
reasonable steps to ensure the safety and wellbeing of all children in their care and/or vulnerable
adults with whom they come into contact. The most effective way to do this is to have relevant
policies and procedures in place. If your organisation works with people aged 18 years or under
and/or if your organization works with vulnerable adults we require you to submit a policy that is
signed and dated as adopted by your board of management.
The Arts Council of Northern Ireland in association with Volunteer Now (previously Volunteer
Development Agency) has made available best practice guidelines on Child Protection for arts
Small Grants Programme revised guidance notes Sept 2010 6
organisations; you can view this document on our web page http://www.artscouncil-
ni.org/news/2008/files/ChildProtection.pdf. Within this document you will also find information
relevant to the protection of vulnerable adults.
Documents required specific to your project:
Information on artists and personnel involved in your project for example CVs, biographical
information or a history of their artistic practice.
Organisations currently in receipt of an Annual Support for Organisations Programme award:
We will already hold the following documentation for your organisation and you do not need to
resubmit these documents:
Child Protection and Safeguarding Policy
All other requested documents must be submitted.
A constitution should include:
an organisation’s name, aims and objectives;
details of how it achieves those objectives;
details of how its governing body (management committee) is elected or appointed;
details of how people can join the group;
details of how it manages its finances;
details of what will happen to the assets if the group closes (a dissolution clause);
the date when the constitution was adopted on behalf of the group; and
the signature of a senior post-holder on the management committee, e.g. secretary, chair, vice-
Your organisation may not have a constitution but it may have a set of rules that includes the above
Your group may be linked to a larger organisation; if so, you can normally apply only if your group is an
independent branch. If you are not independent you may still be able to apply for an award, but you will
need the support of the larger organisation. By ‘independent’ we mean that you must have:
a constitution or set of rules of your own;
a management committee of your own which has control over your work;
a bank or building society account in the name of the group and under its direct control;
your own annual accounts approved by your management committee; and
control over your own income and how you spend it.
If you are not independent, but have a management committee, a bank account in your own name and
produce your own annual accounts, you can still apply for an award. To do this, you will need the
support of the organisation you are linked to and must make sure that they will take legal responsibility
for any award made to you. Please discuss this with the larger organisation before you apply.
Small Grants Programme revised guidance notes Sept 2010 7
We welcome applications from new groups. If you are a new group your committee should draw up and
adopt a constitution or set of rules before you apply. We realise that new groups will not yet have a set
of accounts. Instead we need an estimate of your income and expenditure for your first year. You will
also need a bank account.
Postcodes with high deprivation
The 20 most deprived wards, taken from the Northern Ireland Multiple Deprivation Measure (2005):
Ward Local Government District
New Lodge Belfast
Upper Springfield Belfast
Creggan Central Derry
The Mount Belfast
Creggan South Derry
Water Works Belfast
The Diamond Derry
The following organisations may be able to provide advice on preparing your application to the Small
The Small Grants Programme Officer at the Arts Council
Your district council arts officer
Northern Ireland Council for Voluntary Action (NICVA)
Your relevant parent/umbrella body and/or network.
See your local phone book for contact numbers.
Small Grants Programme revised guidance notes Sept 2010 8
The Application Process:
Step 1: Read the Small Grants Programme guidance notes and application form.
Step 2: Think about what you would like to achieve and what resources you will need.
Step 3: Identify the type of artists that you need to be involved in the project. Seek to select an
appropriate artist(s) for your project; do not contract the artists at this stage but seek an ‘expression of
interest and availability’ from them in relation to your proposed project. Artists should have high level
and consistent experience in their art form; artists may also require special experience in working with
particular groups ie. children, people with disabilities, vulnerable adults.
Step 4: Plan your project, considering the time it will take to do the work; the activity that will be
involved in the project and the costs of the resources you will need.
Step 5: If you need assistance with your project plan, contact the Small Grants Programme Officer who
may be able to help (Telephone 02890 385203).
Step 6: Fill in the application form.
Step 7: The following documents must be signed and dated by a senior member of your management
committee: signatories page of the application form; the constitution; the accounts or income and
expenditure page; and the Child Protection and Safeguarding policy and procedures (if your organisation
will involve children, young people or vulnerable adults in the work).
Step 8: The following documents must also be provided with your application:
A CV, biography, or history of artistic practice that illustrates the artistic skills, qualifications and
experience of the artists/groups/technical staff who will work on your project.
An original bank or building society statement not more than 3 months old OR a copy of the pages
in the group’s passbook
Step 9: Submit your application online or by post. If you apply on-line you must submit the signed
hardcopy ‘confirmation of online application page’ within 5 working days of submitting the on-line
All applicants must send the hard-copy documents indicated above by post.
Step 10: All correspondence in relation to your application will be sent to the named contact person as
indicated in your application; this person should be available to answer correspondence. If we do not
receive a response to requests for information during the assessment process your application assessment
may be delayed or your application may not be processed.
Step 11: Your application will be checked to ensure all necessary information has been provided; the
contact person on your application form will be contacted if your application is not complete and will be
given 5 working days to submit the missing information. This will delay your application being
processed. If you do not submit the requested information your application will be considered ineligible
and you will be informed of this.
Step 12: Your application will be assessed and scored by the Small Grants Programme Officer and the
Arts Council will make the final decision. You should normally hear the result within three months of
receipt of the completed application. If your application is successful, we will send you a letter saying
Small Grants Programme revised guidance notes Sept 2010 9
how much the award is. We will normally pay the award into the bank account you gave on your
application form within one month of the letter. This means it could take up to four months from when
you apply to when you actually receive the award.
Step 13: If your application is not successful, you will receive a letter to tell you the main reasons why.
You can contact the Small Grants Programme Officer if you need more information on the reasons for
rejection or to seek advice on making a new application.
Step 14: If your application is successful, we will send you a letter offering your organisation an award
covering part or all of your programme costs. You should read the letter carefully and decide whether you
want to accept the offer we make. You should return the acceptance form and the bank details to us
within one month; when we receive these forms you will receive a second letter confirming that you may
commence your project – you must not commence your project before you receive this letter.
Step 15: You should refer to the terms and conditions of grant agreed to at application stage before you
commence your project and adhere to these conditions throughout your project. You must acknowledge
award as being supported by the NATIONAL LOTTERY THROUGH THE ARTS COUNCIL OF
NORTHERN IRELAND; the LOTTERY-ARTS COUNCIL LOGO should be used on all publicity and
websites publicizing your project. You will also have to comply with all relevant legislation affecting the
way you carry out your project. You cannot give the award, or assets acquired with it, to any other group.
You must spend the award within one year of the date of the ‘letter of commencement’ and you will have
to complete an End of Project Report.
Step 16: A representative of the Arts Council may contact you to arrange a visit to your programme. A
random sample of awards is selected for verification visits. This means that you will be visited by an Arts
Council Officer to ensure that all financial and contract paperwork is in order. You should make sure that
you retain all paperwork for a period of 5 years.