FAQ

How did the BIG Lottery Fund choose the areas that are benefitting?

The Big Lottery Fund [BigLF] wanted to use this investment to learn about what works for people with multiple and complex needs. They have therefore made large grants available over long periods of time. Their funds are limited and they cannot support every area of England. Some areas that have not been funded will also contain high numbers of people experiencing multiple and complex needs. This investment is intended to help those most in need, but their targeting also takes into account other factors.

They based their initial targeting decisions on a range of data from a number of different sources (such as statistics on homelessness and offending). They used a range of sources because data on people experiencing multiple and complex needs is not collected systematically across England.

To supplement this they spoke to local and national stakeholders and considered a range of geographical characteristics which will enable learning from a range of different approaches. Areas that are not being targeting under this investment will still be able to apply for other funding from the BLF for similar projects through their Reaching Communities strand.

How will this investment differ from statutory provision?

BigLF funding must be additional to statutory or Government funding. This is seen as an advantage by the BigLF because it enables them to support approaches to deep rooted social challenges from a new angle. With public finances tightening and social challenges mounting, Lottery funding presents an opportunity to try fresh approaches and alternative solutions without diverting resources from core or frontline services.


This funding is not about funding new services, it is about funding organisations to better work together so that they are able to provide coordinated and blended services so that people receive help that is person-centred and relevant.

How will this link with government funding for families with multiple needs?

This investment is different to the recently announced support for Troubled Families which is being funding by the government. This investment will be funded from money raised by the Lottery and is separate from government run programmes.


The Big Lottery Fund’s investment is aiming to work with individuals who experience at least two of the following: homelessness, reoffending, problematic substance misuse and mental ill health. The government is using a different definition to identify troubled families. The BLF expect partnerships, when identifying the individuals they will work with, to ensure that support complements but does not duplicate support that individuals may receive as part of the ‘Troubled Families’ programme.

What age group is this funding targeted at?

The Big Lottery Fund are looking to support adults through this programme but won’t be restrictive on this. It will be up to each partnership to decide where their focus should be, for example they might decide to also work with young people whose experiences fit with BigLF’s definition of multiple and complex needs. If this is the case each partnership will need to ensure they include the relevant organisations to work with their target group.

What do you mean by multiple and complex needs?

For this investment we have defined people with multiple and complex needs as individuals who experience at least two of the following: homelessness, reoffending, problematic substance misuse and mental ill health.

What do you mean by tailored or person-centred support services?

When BigLF speak of tailored or bespoke support services they want to see a personalised service that is unique to the needs of each individual. This is why they want to fund a partnership of organisations that are able to support all the issues an individual is facing.

What have the funding grants been given for?

The grants will be for a partnership of local organisations, working together to improve services for people with multiple and complex needs, so that services are more coordinated, targeted at those with the most entrenched needs and focused on the specific needs of each person.


For example, the Big Lottery Fund would expect to see proposals that built upon the importance of a ‘lead professional’ who could commission joined-up support services for individuals, drawing on the breadth of expertise in their partnership and from other providers as appropriate. Responsiveness to each person’s specific needs was crucial as was ensuring that services would be accessible to service users. This could include the infrastructure and training that supports a lead professional.


The grants will allow partnerships to ensure that service users are at the heart of design and delivery, for example by training and employing ex service users, providing peer – to peer support and developing and managing service user forums.


It is envisaged that the grant will allow partnerships to develop processes for sharing data and undertake joint needs assessments, as well as sharing learning about their approaches to feed into a wider study of what works in supporting people with multiple and complex needs. This learning will be utilised to influence future policy and practice in this work.

What specific definition have you used for the four areas of need that you have identified?

The Big Lottery Fund have used the broadest possible definition for the four areas of need that have been highlighted. The funding is looking to target those individuals with the most entrenched needs who have already reached crisis point. However individual areas could further define their target group within their local areas if they felt that this was appropriate – for example by focusing on a particular age group, gender or BME community.

Who was involved in developing the approach to this investment?

The BIG Lottery Fund held a number of ‘BIG Insight’ meetings and had conversations with a range of stakeholders from across the voluntary and community sector, as well as service users and government departments. Through these meetings they developed and tested their approach, and were advised on how to link with and build upon current and previous initiatives. They also drew upon reports and analysis from organisations who work with people with multiple and complex needs.

Why is this programme only working in a small number of areas?

The Big Lottery Fund (BigLF) know that there will be other areas that have significant numbers of people experiencing complex needs that they are not planning to work in, however their funds are limited and they cannot support every area.

The investment is intended to help those most in need. They also want to achieve lasting impact that can influence the way that services are commissioned and how they operate in the future. BLF decided that the best way of doing this was to work in a few areas where the need is high, for long periods of time, so that they can build up a robust body of evidence that can be used to influence how services are commissioned and delivered for people with complex needs in the future.