What is the Community Facilities Fund?

The Community Facilities Fund (CFF) is a grant scheme to support minor capital works, repairs and/or implementation of digital solutions to enable groups and organisations to improve income opportunities, make changes to the facility use and/or make the facility more accessible and inclusive to further engage the local community.

We recognise the vital role that community facilities play in providing local access to a range of important services in communities, hence the inclusion of this Fund as an integral part of the our Local Investment Plan.

Community Plan

What do we want to achieve with the Community Facilities Fund?

The aims of the programme are:

  • to improve, upgrade and/or refurbish community facilities to offer activities and services which help to increase opportunity, reduce inequality and broaden community engagement
  • to provide better access to existing community services and create a wider range of services within local communities
  • to improve the ability to respond to community needs and improve community links and networks

The Community Facilities Fund spend must align to the principles of the Community Plan which includes sustainability, development, equality and participation.  

Insert link to Community Plan

How much is available?

The Community Facilities Fund has £60,000 available for each of the seven District Electoral Areas (DEA) across our area.  Applicants can apply for a minimum of £5,000 up to a maximum of £15,000.

How do I apply?

Groups who are interested in proposing a project for consideration under the Community Facilities Fund should complete our online application form.

The deadline is 1pm in Tuesday 7 May 2024.

Information workshops

To assist groups that are considering applying we have organised the following information sessions:

  • Wednesday 17th April, Lagan View Enterprise Centre at 11am
  • Thursday 18th April, Enler Community Centre at 7pm
  • Tuesday 23rd April, Teams at 7pm.  Click here to join

What projects are eligible? 

The Community Facilities Fund is only open for projects in the Lisburn and Castlereagh area.

Applicants need to evidence that the facility to be improved is of strategic importance in the local community. For example:

  • prove that the facility is needed and used by the community and is offering services not duplicated in the surrounding area
  • demonstrate the prevention of loss of vital community services
  • show how digital improvements will encourage engagement and improve connectivity

Applicants also need to consider how the changes to their facility will help make it sustainable in the medium to long term. For instance – changes that encourage the co-location of local groups and service providers offering a more integrated delivery and improving the overall sustainability of the facility.

Adaptations can include, but are not restricted to, upgrading of electrics, doors, windows, kitchen, toilets, conversion from oil to gas, IT installations etc. All adaptations, refurbishments and upgrades must be linked to positive outcomes for the local community.

Photographs showing the internal and external views of the facility are very useful during appraisal and should be submitted electronically if possible.

What groups are eligible for funding?

The Community Facilities Fund is only open to community/voluntary organisations based in our area who did not receive funding through this scheme in 2021 and 2023, who also meet the following criteria:

  • an open and accountable governing document (Constitution or Articles and Memorandum of Association, or applicable governing document) that has been properly adopted and in place for at least 12 months
  • a bank account in the name of the organisation, which requires at least two (unrelated) signatories
  • 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
  • up to £5 million public liability insurance, to cover all risk associated with the activities of the organisation

We will not fund individuals, sole traders or profit-making organisations.

All applications will need to show how the community has been involved in the development of the project and how they will continue to be involved in the future operation of the facility.

Programme criteria - what we will and will not fund

We will fund:

  • capital works to provide or improve community facilities offering activities/ services which help to increase opportunity and reduce inequality including refurbishments, internal and external adaptations
  • adaptations to enable the facility to be used to provide activities for the local community
  • adaptations to make the facility fully accessible to all (including car parking facilities)
  • provision to install/ upgrade community IT and broadband access to aid digital inclusion
  • changes to the facility to enable and encourage multi-use of premises and make it fit for purpose
  • capital outdoor works or related equipment to enable facilities to use outdoor space to promote a sustainability agenda or develop biodiversity opportunities

We will not fund:

  • individual people (applicant must be a lease holder with at least 20 years remaining)
  • upgrade to roads and carparks that are not on the community facility’s land
  • landscaping, that does not actively meet a community need 
  • routine repairs/maintenance and operating expenses, such as administration or staffing
  • equipment purchases that are not part of a larger capital works project, are not needed to make a facility functional, or do not contribute to finishing a capital works project (such as sports, computer or art equipment, or musical instruments)
  • revenue costs associated with the development of a business plan, feasibility study or design only project
  • purchases of land or buildings
  • private businesses/commercial /statutory/regional sector organisations

Your project

Please provide sufficient detail to enable us to understand what your project is about and what you will do with any funding offered. 

You should provide as much detail as possible including:  

  • what facility adaptations you intend to make 
  • who will organise, manage, facilitate it 
  • how the changes will benefit the local community
  • how will the project be delivered
  • do you have members on your committee who have specific skills and experience of managing, delivering and monitoring projects
  • has your group delivered a similar project before


In Section 4 you will need to let us know if planning permission or building control is required.

This can take time and needs to be factored into the timeframe of the project.

Procurement is also required for any project activity and quotes need to be obtained before any work can be carried out. Again, this will have a time implication. 

Setting outcomes 

Organisations are expected to show how their improved community facility will help the community.

We will monitor the delivery of successful projects to determine the impact of the improvements on those using the facility. Applicants should consider how they will:

  • provide opportunities for people to join in social, recreational, civil or cultural activities
  • reduce or overcome barriers that prevent people taking part in activities
  • provide more or better access to existing community services (physical / digital)
  • create more services, or making a bigger range of services available
  • improve the ability to respond to community needs
  • improve community links and networks


Please consider the following when estimating the cost of your project:

  • detail each specific cost on a separate line (e.g. materials, equipment hire, labour etc.) giving a cost for each separate item. Add lines where necessary
  • ensure your costings are relevant and realistic. It is beneficial to obtain quotes/current market rates for costs proposed
  • if you are not applying for 100% of your project costs we need to know where you are planning to get the balance of your money from. This might be from another funder or from your own funds

What criteria will we use to assess project applications?

All projects will be required to complete a Community Investment Fund application form.

Projects will be assessed against 5 criteria – eligibility, affordability, feasibility deliverability and sustainability.

Eligible projects will be assessed against a prioritisation matrix based on the above criteria where they will have to reach a minimum threshold score as detailed below.

Project eligibility

If applicants do not meet the project eligibility criteria the application will be deemed to be unsuccessful and no further scoring will be recorded.

Prioritisation scoring matrix – Project assessment on:


What needs are being met, how these were identified, key beneficiaries, key outputs and outcomes, strategic fit to council outcomes and other relevant plans. 


Details of location, timeframe, capacity, experience.


Estimated total cost (budget). Costs must be reasonable, relevant and present value for money.


Ongoing costs, how would ongoing revenue costs be met, how would the asset be managed in the future.


Projects must achieve a minimum threshold score of 70 in order to be successful and will be ranked according to individual scores.

Successful projects must provide feedback to monitor progress, evaluate results and capture learning and good practice.  This may include attendance at council facilitated workshops and/or meetings.

Application process

The required supporting documentation must be sent with the application unless we have received it in the last 12 months and no changes have been made to it.

Before applying, please check that:

  • your organisation is eligible to apply
  • your application meets the priorities of this fund
  • you have completed every question on your application form
  • you can provide all the information we ask for as part of the application process 

Once your application is received, we will:

  • perform an eligibility check on your application and then assess it against the key themes of the grant, as highlighted in the PROGRAMME CRITERIA section above
  • contact you with questions should we need to, so please keep a copy of your application form for your reference
  • not assess your application if it is incomplete

If your project is successful, we will:

  • send you a Conditional Offer and our Terms & Conditions of Grant by email for your organisation to sign and return to us
  • clearly indicate the eligible expenditure for the funding offered
  • request the grant to be acknowledged through the inclusion of the official council logo on all related promotional material associated with the project and that an Elected Member or Council Officer from the council, is invited to the event/activity to which the grant is awarded

If your application is unsuccessful, we will:

  • contact you by email informing you of the reasons why your application has not been successful, for which there is no right of appeal

We request the successful applicant submit relevant promotional material of their project to share on our social media platforms.

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. 

The closing date for receipt of applications is 1pm on Tuesday 7 May 2024.