BSWN (a Regional BME Infrustructure Organisations based in Bristol) has been fortunate to continually gain HLF support for our varied projects in the last 4 years. Support from development officers has been the most useful in our case, from the initial stage when you make an initial funding enquiry to throughout the project development up to the final project submission.
Capacity issues remain problematic for small BAME organisations, meaning that not only do they have limited capacity to engage with networks and information sessions, but they also have limited capacity and experience in constructing funding applications. The provision of support in this regard formed a critical element of BAME infrastructure organisations work.
With the cuts in funding and the change of focus away from infrastructure funding, BAME infrastructure organisations no longer exist/have enough capacity themselves to support the smaller BAME orgs. Providing capacity grant pots for BAME infrastructure orgs to administer/deliver could provide mechanisms through which more high quality grants can be submitted.
In addition to this practical measure, it must be acknowledged that HLF and the National Lottery as a whole, are perceived as inaccessible mainstream structures, which itself deters some BAME orgs from applying. Addressing this issue is a large piece of work, steps towards which have been taken, however, a BME led review of this issue and change processes are required to ensure that the process can be completed effectively and that HLF is perceived as an organisation that is equitable in its structure, culture, and delivery, as well as in its and setting of priorities and allocation of resources.