Growing Great Ideas backing for Slow Ways


New lottery fund supporting transformational change provides seven-year funding

Slow Ways is delighted to be one of nine initiatives offered long-term funding by the National Lottery Community Fund’s ‘Growing Great Ideas’ programme. A grant of £3 million has been awarded to Slow Ways over seven years from the new fund that “aims to offer long-term, multi-year funding to initiatives we believe have the potential to achieve transformative and longer-term change”.

Growing Great Ideas is part of the Fund’s UK Portfolio, exploring different ways to invest in new ways of doing things. Launched in January 2021, over 230 proposals have been received to date. Rather than supporting initiatives focused on a single group, organisation or project it’s investing in “networks, ecologies, and coalitions working towards a common purpose and new philosophy”. This ‘ecosystem approach’ embraces grassroots activity, innovation and imagination, infrastructure and systems, as well as economic, environmental and cultural influences on society.

For more about the programme and its first awards, see this blog from John Knights and Andriana Ntziadima.

As well as expanding the current Slow Ways core staff team, a major part of the funding will be used to inspire support at community level, ensure inclusion is at the heart of our work and grow new narratives around walking and wheeling. It’s a huge step towards creating a national network of walking routes connecting every town and city across the UK.

In a blog for the National Lottery, Olivia Oldham explores the links between Slow Ways and the aims of Growing Great Ideas.

Dan Raven-Ellison, Slow Ways Founder, said “Slow Ways is a large-scale and long-term challenge. We need to work with thousands of people to create, shape, review, survey and enjoy over 100,000km of walking routes. That means having a national conversation about walking that is personal, hyper-local and connects communities across the country. This critical National Lottery funding will be a massive help with this undertaking.”

Support for Slow Ways from Sport England, Paths for All, The Pilgrim Trust and Kestrelman Trust – as well as thousands of volunteers and supporters – has been invaluable over the past 18 months. We’re looking forward to working with the National Lottery and the inspiring projects who will be growing their own great ideas.