Project Grants are Arts Council England’s funding stream for arts activity.

Arts Council England National Lottery Project Grants


  • you can apply for between £1,000 – £15,000, or £15,000 – £100,000
  • eligible projects have to have a set running time (which can’t be longer than 3 years)
  • at least 10% of your total project cost must come from another non-Arts Council England source
  • funded projects must have potential benefit to the wider public
  • you must register and create a profile on Art Council England’s Grantium portal to access and start your application
  • successfully funded projects will work towards one or more of Arts Council England’s five goals (see right)
Art Council England’s five goals. Make sure your project delivers at least one of these!

Before You Start Your Application

You will need to access Arts Council England’s funding portal – Grantium –  and create a personal profile for yourself. It will take up to 10 working days for Arts Council England to approve this. Once your profile has been processed you will be asked to take an eligibility quiz, and then you will able start your Project Grants application.

Grantium is often a bit difficult to use. Arts Council England (ACE) offers a really useful helpline and can offer some personal support if you have accessibility concerns. There is more information about this available on their website.

The good news is that you don’t have to wait for your profile to be approved before you start writing your application – the Project Grants guidance is really clear and you can starting your content anyway using this guidance. Just be ready to paste it over into Grantium when the time comes!

If you are applying to one of ACE’s fund for the first time, we recommend that you apply for between £1,000 – £15,000 as this will require less stringent funding criteria. If you are looking to apply for between £15,000 – £100,000 your project will be assessed much more rigorously.

Understanding Arts Council England’s Goals

The key to writing any successful funding application comes through understanding your audience. In this case, it’s Arts Council England. Helpfully they have listed their five organisational goals on their website – these will help you frame your application.

Your aim is to show ACE how you will deliver one or more of their goals through your project. We advise that you focus your project application to meet one or two of ACE’s goals, and constantly remind them how you will deliver their goals for them throughout your application.

DO – demonstrate how your project will deliver ACE’s goals for them

DON’T – ignore ACE’s goals and try to convince them your project is amazing without understanding ACE’s needs

Download the Arts Council England National Lottery project Grants Guidance

ACE’s project Grant guidance is crucial if you want to write a good application – download it here.

Writing a Strong Application


ACE have produced a really good guidance booklet which goes through the Project Grants application process in detail. This includes the questions you will be asked, the character counts for each question and some information on how they will assess your application.

A Project Grants application breaks down into five areas:

  • basic questions about your project
  • quality
  • public engagement
  • management
  • finance

Each section contains a number of questions you will be asked. The guidance lists these questions, and contains a number of bullet points under every question. These bullet points are the assessment criteria ACE will initially use to mark you application. Answer these bullet points and you are well on the way to writing a strong application!

Each question in your application will have a number of bullet points – answer these bullet points and you’re on your way to writing a strong application!
DON’T FORGET – remind ACE how you are meeting their goals throughout your application. It’s your job to demonstrate how you can achieve their goals for them, rather than trying to convince them that your project is amazing without considering their funding goals.

Top Tips

  • show how you will deliver one or more of Arts Council England’s goals through your project
  • read the Arts Council England National Lottery Project Grants guidance very carefully
  • only apply for the exact funds you need to make your project a success
  • approach other partners for support – the more organisations who are supporting and/or funding your project, the more likely it is to be a success. Also, partners may be able to help in a certain area (e.g. printing leaflets) which will save you money on your application
  • ask for help and advice on your application either from Arts Council England or from someone who has completed a recent successful Project Grants application
  • use very clear and precise language on your application form – get someone to proofread your application before you submit it
  • understand what Arts Council England will and won’t fund – there’s no point spending a lot of time on an application for equipment or activity which isn’t funded by Arts Council England
  • if you are submitting your first application, keep it under the £15,000 threshold
  • make sure your application aligns to at least one of Arts Council England’s goals, and clearly state where and how your project will achieve that goal
  • if you have difficulties with application forms because of dyslexia, dyspraxia or another neurodiverse outlook, you can request support from Arts Council England to help you with the application process

Project Grants Cheat Sheet

Rachel Dobbs has created a fantastic cheat sheet to help you navigate the Project Grants application.

Arts Council England Presentation on Arts Council National Lottery Project Grants

Nema Hart (Relationship Manager Creative Media for ACE South West) gave a talk on applying for Project Grants – you can download her presentation here.

Are you planning a Project Grants application?

You can get in touch with Plymouth Culture for free advice on your application.

In 2017-18, Plymouth Culture directly advised on 80% of the successful applications to Arts Council England from Plymouth, making up 92% of the funding awarded to the city. We’re here to help!

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