Helping neighbourhoods thrive

Lottery funding for local communities

According to the American consultancy firm California Environmental Associates, the Postcode Lotteries are 7th in the top 20 maritime philanthropic funders for the period 2010-2016.

With the Postcode Lottery it’s not just neighbours that win, the local charities working throughout the neighborhoods and communities that players are part of, win too.

Photo: Ecoring, a community garden initiative in Haarlem, in the Netherlands

Millions’ worth of funding, raised by Postcode Lottery players, goes to thousands of smaller, local social initiatives every year – benefitting neighbourhoods everywhere.

In Great Britain community focused trusts, including the Neighbourhood Trust, have been supporting local initiatives making a difference for people and planet for many years. Now, neighbourhood funds with similar missions have also been set up in the Netherlands and Sweden to help even more communities and neighbourhoods thrive.

Bringing people together
In the Dutch city of Haarlem, Ecoring is a community garden initiative where neighbours, teenagers and young people can meet, get hands on and learn about nature and the environment. Last year, an ‘art glass house’ was created with the support of the Postcode Loterij Buurtfonds. “This glass house brings people together through art, food and music. That’s why we supported them,” says Odile Janssen, programme manager at the Postcode Loterij Buurtfonds.

The neighbourhood fund started in 2020 as an initiative of the Nationale Postcode Loterij and Stichting DOEN, the foundation of the Postcode Loterij. Postcode Loterij Buurtfonds aims to make the Netherlands a nicer place to live for all and to inspire more people to take action.

'Truly inspiring'
Within two years, it has funded more than 1,150 local projects with grants between €500 and €5,000. Odile describes it as ‘a fantastic result,’ and that it is ‘truly inspiring to see so many people taking positive action for their environment’. “Actions that enhance social cohesion and inclusion and that make neighbourhoods greener, and more sustainable.”

According to Odile local initiatives show the potential of citizens to address many of the societal challenges we are currently facing. “Both DOEN and the Postcode Loterij wanted to support small-scale local projects. Our neighbourhood fund is doing exactly that.”

'Big impact'
In 2021 the Grannskapsinitiativet was established, a neighbourhood funding initiative from Postkodstiftelsen, the foundation of Svenska Postkodlotteriet. “We have supported smaller organisations in the past. This led to very interesting projects with a big impact on the local community,” says Marie Dahllöf, director of Postkodstiftelsen. Creating Grannskapsinitiativet was a way to develop this local approach and grow the funding opportunities to support these projects even further.

Swedish local non-profit initiatives have been able to apply for funding of between €2,000 and €5,000 for projects that create a sense of inclusion and belonging within a neighborhood. The fund focusses on projects that create places and spaces where people can come together, initiatives that improve access to or benefit the health and wellbeing of the community. “This is hugely important in times of rapid change and uncertainty,” explains Marie.

So far, 57 Swedish local projects have been funded, with an average award of €4,500. Marie: “I love it. It is beautiful to see the ideas and the people behind them.”

Supporting local initiatives
In Great Britain, People’s Postcode Lottery has always had a focus on supporting local initiatives. Six community programme trusts offer funding to good causes all across the country. Funding areas range from mental wellbeing, improving green spaces and preventing poverty.

Funding available ranges from £500 to £25,000 and covers both project and unrestricted funding needs. In 2022, over 4,400 good causes were supported with a total of over £17.6 million awarded to smaller, local charities in postcodes across Great Britain. The trusts fund a range of good causes from exercise classes, domestic abuse support, money management advice and supporting people experiencing homelessness. 

“We know supporting local good causes are important to our players, it’s what they often tell us when we ask what made them start playing,” says Katie Tweedie, community programmes advisor at People's Postcode Lottery. “Alongside larger charities, smaller organisations play a key role in supporting those in need in their local area.”