NLCF creates £50m fund for Black and ethnic minority-led charities

01 Jul 2021 News

Photo by National Lottery Community Fund

The National Lottery Community Fund (NLCF) has partnered with The Ubele Initiative to invest £50m in Black and ethnic minority charities over the next five years.

The NLCF said in a statement that the scheme was designed to help the funder move “out of our comfort zone” and reach charities which had not previously received National Lottery support.

The organisers hope that the scheme, called The Phoenix Way, will be open for funding applications in the autumn. 

National and regional panels, led by people from Black and minoritised communities, will be created during the summer to advise on future funding decisions.

NLCF typically distributes over £500m in grants each year. 


The money will build on the work of an existing initiative, The Phoenix Fund, a £2.4m fund which is co-led by Black and ethnic minority community leaders and run through a partnership between NLCF, The Ubule Initiative and the Global Fund for Children.

Nearly two-thirds of applicants to The Phoenix Fund had not previously applied for money from NLCF.

‘Shifting out of our comfort zone’

Abdou Sidibe, the deputy director of partnerships at NLCF, said: “I’m delighted to announce this new and innovative fund: £50m for Black and minoritised communities, awarded by leaders and decision-makers at the very heart of those communities, thanks to National Lottery players. 

“This is a truly collaborative effort – combining National Lottery funding with the reach, lived experience, and expertise of The Ubele Initiative and our Phoenix Way partners – so that vital money and support reaches some of those communities that need it most, but can often struggle to access it. 

“By shifting out of our comfort zone, admitting we don’t always have all the answers, and by instilling collaboration into everything we do, we can reap rewards of working alongside expert organisations to ensure that National Lottery funding is genuinely for everyone.”

Yvonne Field, the chief executive of The Ubele Initiative, said: “The Ubele Initiative is both proud and privileged to be working with NLCF and Black and minoritised community leaders and organisations across England to develop The Phoenix Way.

“This £50m investment in The Phoenix Way allows partners to connect directly with those with lived experience of racism and racial disparities, and work together to offer innovative and creative funding opportunities in response to identified challenges.

“The Phoenix Way will also facilitate the deepening of a unique collaborative approach, which emerged during Covid-19, and to work together to transform systems of funding, decision-making, and support to Black and minoritised communities and organisations over the next five years.”

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