How much Big Lottery funding is spent in your local area?

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Since 2004, the Big Lottery Fund has awarded more than £9 billion to projects supporting health, education, environmental and charitable purposes and receive around 90,000 enquiries and applications annually. To break this down a little further, a total of 2.8 million individual service users were supported during 2013.

In a nutshell, grants from the Big Lottery Fund provide a crucial source of income for much of the voluntary and community sector. And ensure that important public services are delivered to those in need.

Through the 360Giving Initiative, Big Lottery Fund has published its data on grant funding per head of the population at ward level. And so grantmakers, grantseekers, local authorities and anybody else that is interested can see which areas Big Lottery funding is going to. Awesome.

This data is now loaded into Local Insight for you to be able to view on maps at a local level, matched to the local communities that you care about – and we are very excited about it.

We’ve pulled out a couple of headline stories below. But in a sense, we are far more interested to hear how this data could be / is being used locally to:

  • understand whether funding is reaching the most deprived areas
  • understand how well neighbourhood teams are doing at getting funding into priority areas
  • question assumptions and provide insights into how the local community and voluntary sector is funded
  • highlight areas of under investment.

Sign up for a free trial of Local Insight and explore this data for yourself.

Big Lottery funding more concentrated in cities

Map from Local Insight: Shows Big Lottery grant funding per head of the population

Map from Local Insight: Shows Big Lottery grant funding per head of the population



From a quick glance at the map, you can see that lottery funding tends to be concentrated within urban areas and cities rather than rural areas. The areas that are shaded green on the map have the largest amount of funding.

Of the top 10 local authorities receiving lottery funding per head of the population;

  • 9 of them are classified as Urban areas
  • 7 of them are classified as “Urban with Major Conurbation”
  • 7 of them are boroughs in London (although we can probably discount City of London as figures are somewhat skewed due to low population).




More Big Lottery funding given to the rural north rather than the rural south

We have noted that cities seem to get the lion’s share of lottery funding compared to rural areas. However, when you look at rural areas more closely, there are some interesting patterns to pick up on.

Through looking at local authorities that are classified as “Mainly Rural” or “Largely Rural” across England, those in the north (defined here as those in Yorkshire and The Humber, North East and North West) have received on average £110.60, whereas those in the south (defined as South East, South West and London) have received £74.80.

Cornwall, Isles of Scilly and West Oxfordshire are an interesting case as they receive substantially more than the rest of the South on average, in each case, more than double the average received by the rural south as a whole.

Furthermore, if you look at the 10 rural local authorities receiving the most Big Lottery grant funding per head, 6 of these are located in the south. So although in general, the rural north receives more funding, there are pockets of areas in the rural south receiving a large amount of funding per head of the population.

The table below shows the 10 rural local authorities receiving the most funding, and where these are located.

Local AuthorityBig Lottery grant funding per head (£) 2004 - 2015Region
Newark and Sherwood £557.50 East Midlands
Derbyshire Dales £346.40 Yorkshire and The Humber
Isles of Scilly £318.00 South West
Eden £231.30 North West
West Oxfordshire £159.00 South East
Cornwall £151.80 South West
Winchester £133.40 South East
Vale of White Horse £132.30 South East
Allerdale £123.70 North West
Torridge £115.10 South West


Generally a good correlation between Index of Multiple Deprivation and Big Lottery funding

Looking at the data, there is generally a good correlation between the Index of Multiple Deprivation (IMD) and lottery funding across England. This is to be expected as one of the eligibility criteria for lottery funding is “need” – and one of the suggested ways to provide evidence of this is through “local statistics about the population in the area or levels of deprivation.”

This pattern can be seen in Cornwall, an area that has received more funding compared to other rural local authorities in the South, where the rank of average score for IMD is 95 (suggesting higher levels of deprivation than most local authorities). However, there are a number of exceptions when looking at the rural south – Swale ranks higher on the IMD, but has received about ⅓ of the funding per head of the population that Cornwall has. Conversely, West Oxfordshire has received more funding per head of population (£159), despite its rank of average score on the IMD being 318 (suggesting lower levels of deprivation than most local authorities).

The table below shows the 20 local authorities in the rural south receiving most Big Lottery funding. You can sort the table to view these by Big Lottery funding or Index of Multiple Deprivation.

Local AuthorityBig Lottery grant funding per head (£) 2004 - 2015Index of Multiple Deprivation 2015: Rank of Average Score
Isles of Scilly£318.00265
West Oxfordshire£159.00315
Vale of White Horse£132.30311
Torridge £115.10 107
South Hams £105.60 224
Teignbridge £96.70 188
Cotswold £95.30 276
Isle of Wight £90.80 109
West Dorset £88.40 220
Forest of Dean £79.90 181
Craven £78.50 253
West Somerset £72.30 106
North Devon £70.10 134
Rother £60.40 155
Swale £55.70 77
Chichester £53.80 242
West Devon £53.70 169
Purbeck £52.00 226


There are further notable exceptions to this correlation, with some of the smaller, more remote towns missing out. For example, Tilbury (Essex), Mabelthorpe (Lincolnshire), Wisbech (Cambridgeshire), Canvey Island (Essex), Sheerness (Kent) and Fleetwood (Lancashire) to name a few. Click on the images to see full-size.

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Data and sources:

Big Lottery grants data 2004 – 2015:

Rural – Urban classification of Local Authority districts:

Index of Multiple Deprivation:

The Big Lottery data is also available in our sister tool Community Insight, designed for social housing providers.

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