Big Lottery Fund grant-giving fell from over £900m to just under £600m in the year to March 2016, after a major EU funding project was delayed.
The Big accounts, published yesterday, show that grant expenditure fell to £593m in the year. However this was only 80 per cent of available grant funds.
The underspend was down to a delay in the distribution of funding for the Building Better Opportunities programme – a £140m project in which Big is match funding European Social Fund money for “projects across England that tackle poverty and promote social inclusion”.
The previous year Big had spent 120 per cent of available grant money, because it spent £149m on setting up the Power to Change programme.
Big made 11,779 awards, of which 89 per cent were under £10,000, and just over 91 per cent were to the voluntary sector.
“The value of awards we have made this year is significantly reduced from 2014/15. This is due to the timing of grant decisions and does not represent an on-going change in our capacity to make grant awards,” Big said in a section of the report giving information on its grant-giving.