Skip to Content

What is the People’s Health Trust Health Lottery Scotland active communities?

The People’s Health Trust Health Lottery Scotland is a program that provides funding to community groups and organizations in Scotland for projects that promote health and address health inequalities. The funding comes from money raised through ticket sales of the Health Lottery in Scotland.

The Health Lottery Scotland active communities program specifically focuses on supporting grassroots community organizations to deliver programs and activities that get people more active, address health inequalities and improve community connections. The key aims of the program are to:

  • Get people more physically active
  • Improve mental health and wellbeing
  • Provide opportunities to develop skills and relationships
  • Enable greater community cohesion and connectivity
  • Tackle barriers to participation and healthy living

Since 2011, the Health Lottery has awarded over £8 million to more than 1000 community projects across Scotland through this program.

Eligibility and Criteria

To be eligible for funding from the Health Lottery Scotland active communities program, organizations must:

  • Be a not-for-profit organization such as a community group, charity, voluntary organization, social enterprise, community interest company (CIC), community council, housing association or statutory body
  • Have an income of less than £350,000 per year
  • Have governance documents such as a constitution or set of rules
  • Have a management committee or board with at least 3 unrelated members
  • Have a UK-regulated bank account with at least 2 unrelated signatories
  • Apply for projects benefitting people living within 10 miles of the Scottish border

The key criteria for projects seeking funding are that they:

  • Clearly demonstrate how they will get people more active
  • Provide opportunities for people to gain skills, connections and friendships
  • Make a positive difference to community health, wellbeing and cohesion
  • Engage with disadvantaged groups and address barriers to participation
  • Have been identified and designed by local people to meet local needs
  • Are sustainable or have the potential to become self-sustaining

Types of Projects Funded

Some examples of the types of projects funded through the Health Lottery Scotland active communities program include:

  • Community sports programs – e.g. local football, dance, martial arts, walking or cycling groups
  • Exercise classes for older people or those with health conditions
  • Establishing community gardens and green spaces
  • Healthy cooking and eating education programs
  • Mental health and wellbeing projects – e.g. social groups, befriending schemes, arts activities
  • Personal development and employment support initiatives
  • Intergenerational activities bringing together young people and older adults
  • Projects helping refugee, migrant and minority ethnic groups integrate

The program welcomes applications from across Scotland for innovative ideas that meet the funding criteria and will enable more active, engaged and connected communities.

Funding Available

The Health Lottery Scotland active communities program offers grants of between £5,000 and £50,000 per year, for up to two years.

Organizations can apply for funding towards:

  • Staff and volunteer costs
  • Sessional staff and professional fees
  • Project activities
  • Equipment hire or purchase
  • Venue hire
  • Marketing and promotion costs
  • Monitoring and evaluation
  • Overheads and administration

At least 70% of the grant funding should go towards direct project delivery costs.

Application Process

Applications for funding can be submitted at any time via the Health Lottery Scotland website. There are no deadlines.

The application process involves:

  1. Reading the program guidance and criteria
  2. Registering your organization on the Health Lottery online system
  3. Completing the online application form
  4. Uploading the required supporting documents
  5. Waiting up to 12 weeks to receive a decision

The required documents are:

  • Governing document – constitution, rules, articles of association etc
  • Most recent annual accounts or financial records
  • Safeguarding policy (if working with children or vulnerable adults)
  • Equal opportunities policy

Organizations should take time to plan their project and develop a comprehensive proposal illustrating the need for the project, activities to be delivered, intended outcomes and lasting impact.

Assessment and Decision Making

Once submitted, applications are reviewed by Health Lottery Scotland staff to check eligibility. Eligible proposals then undergo assessment including:

  • Appraisal against the program criteria
  • Analysis of whether the activities proposed will achieve the intended impact
  • Evaluation of value for money
  • Scoring and shortlisting stronger applications

Shortlisted applicants may be asked to provide clarification or additional information. The Health Lottery team then makes recommendations to an external independent Advisory Assessment Panel. This panel – made up of experts from sport, health, community development and grant making sectors – reviews applications and decides which projects should receive funding.

All applicants are notified of the outcome, whether successful or unsuccessful. Feedback is available on request.

Responsibilities if Funded

Successful applicants must sign a grant agreement accepting the terms and conditions which include:

  • Delivering the activities outlined in the application
  • Sticking to the agreed budgets and timeframes
  • Maintaining adequate insurance (including public liability cover)
  • Complying with legal requirements e.g. safeguarding, health and safety etc
  • Reporting regularly on progress and producing a project evaluation
  • Participating in monitoring, auditing and evaluation as required
  • Promoting the Health Lottery’s support through their branding

Ongoing support is provided to funded organizations through an assigned Grant Manager. Funding is paid quarterly in advance.

Monitoring and Evaluation

Grant recipients must closely monitor and evaluate their projects, collecting data including:

  • Number of people taking part
  • Range of activities delivered
  • Demographics showing types of people engaged
  • Outputs demonstrating what has been achieved
  • Outcomes and impacts illustrating change brought about
  • Case studies providing examples of positive change
  • Lessons learned for development and improvement

This information is reported back to the Health Lottery on a quarterly basis and helps demonstrate the difference being made. Site visits and observations also form part of the monitoring process.

At the end of the project, a report evaluating the overall delivery, performance and impact must be submitted. This identifies how the grant funding was spent, what worked well and not so well, benefits delivered and any continuing legacy. The learnings help improve the program funding going forward.

Case Study Examples

Some examples of successful projects funded previously through the Health Lottery Scotland active communities program include:

Brave Heart for Veterans

A two year £47,440 grant in Glasgow supported veterans struggling with isolation or PTSD. Activities included boxing fitness, martial arts, climbing, walking groups and mindfulness. Over 200 ex-servicemen and women reported improvements to their mental health, physical fitness, self-esteem and purpose.

Dance for Life

£33,000 over two years funded weekly dance sessions led by a professional choreographer for around 50 young people in a disadvantaged Edinburgh community. Participants gained dance skills, became more physically active and built friendships, addressing issues of antisocial behavior.

Keep Active, Stay Connected

£49,760 enabled an Aberdeenshire community organization to run exercise classes, healthy eating sessions and social gatherings four times a week for elderly, vulnerable and isolated local residents. Participants reported feeling fitter, less lonely and more supported.

Project Location Amount Activities Impact
Brave Heart for Veterans Glasgow £47,440 over 2 years Boxing, martial arts, rock climbing, walking groups, mindfulness for veterans Improved mental health, fitness, confidence and purpose for 200+ ex-servicemen and women
Dance for Life Edinburgh £33,000 over 2 years Weekly dance sessions for disadvantaged young people Developed skills, increased activity, built friendships and reduced antisocial behaviour
Keep Active, Stay Connected Aberdeenshire £49,760 Exercise, healthy eating and social groups for elderly and isolated people Improved fitness, reduced loneliness, increased support

Applying for Funding

To apply for funding from the Health Lottery Scotland active communities program, take the following steps:

  1. Check your organization and proposed project meet the eligibility criteria
  2. Register your organization by creating an account on the Health Lottery website
  3. Read the guidance notes for applicants
  4. Start completing the online application form, providing all details requested
  5. Describe your project idea clearly explaining why it is needed, what activities will take place, the outcomes you aim to achieve and who will benefit
  6. Develop a budget showing what funding you require – remember at least 70% must be for direct project costs
  7. Upload your supporting documents – constitution, accounts, policies etc
  8. Submit your completed application and required documents
  9. Wait up to 12 weeks to hear if you have been successful

Take your time to plan and develop a compelling proposal that meets the criteria. Contact the program team for support and advice on creating a strong application.

Further Information

For further information on the Health Lottery Scotland active communities program and applying for funding visit:

Health Lottery Scotland Website:

Active Communities Guidance:

You can also contact the Health Lottery team by email or phone 0300 123 7110.


The Health Lottery Scotland active communities program provides essential funding for grassroots projects across Scotland seeking to get people more physically active, improve health and wellbeing, develop skills and community connections, and tackle barriers to participation.

By supporting community organizations to deliver locally-needed initiatives, the program empowers people and communities to become healthier through engagement in rewarding activities.

Any not-for-profit organization working to address health inequalities and get people more active within 10 miles of the Scottish border could consider applying. With a well-planned proposal showing how funding will be used to meet local needs, community groups have an excellent chance of securing up to £50,000 over two years.

The application process is straightforward, with plenty of guidance and support available. For groups passionate about enabling stronger, more connected communities, the Health Lottery active communities funding is certainly worth exploring further.