Our Top Tips

08 October 2015

The Trust wants to make it as easy as possible for local community groups and organisations to apply for funding to make their neighbourhoods even better places to grow, live, work and age. So, we’ve come up with our five top tips to help with the success of your application.

1.   Projects should be genuinely led by local people

We want to fund projects that are designed and run by local people. Your application should make it clear how local people from the community have been involved from the very beginning. We want to see that local people came up with the idea and how they can shape and develop the project structure and content as it develops. Steering groups, user groups and forums are just some of the ways you can put local people at the heart of a project and make sure that they are genuinely in control.

2.   Keep it simple

Sometimes we can see that a group has a really great idea but the sessions they are planning to provide are difficult to understand. When you’re telling us about your sessions, remember that we don’t know how your group works, so make it clear and simple, particularly if you want to deliver multiple sessions. In particular, please be clear about the number and length of sessions you intend to run. For example, sessions might run for three hours per week for 46 weeks per year.  

3.   Be realistic with your budget

When you are costing your project, make sure that you only include costs which can be justified. This is one of the biggest reasons applications fail. A project which delivers activities for three hours per week is highly unlikely to receive funding for staffing costs to cover two 18-hour per week posts. When you’re breaking down your costings make sure that everything you’ve included is really necessary.

4.   Don’t ask for too much

The grant amount you apply for should be proportionate to your group’s current income. Most organisations would struggle managing their finances if they made a sudden leap from, say, £1,000 per year to £30,000, so ensure you are mindful of this. If you have a yearly income of £5,000, an application of £10,000-15,000 is much more likely to be funded than an application requesting £35,000.

5.   Be consistent

It’s important that the project you described in the first stage of your application is the one you continue with in Stage Two. If you’re invited to apply for Stage Two it means we thought your idea was great, but if you change your mind half way through the application process, your idea might not be suitable for funding anymore. You can make tweaks but don’t change the essence of what you wanted to do.

Getting to know our application process

The application process for our Active Communities funding programme is broken down into two stages.

Stage One is a chance for us to get to know your project and see if it is the right fit for the Active Communities programme. We get more requests for grants than we can fund, so unfortunately even some really good ideas cannot be supported.

During this stage, you submit a very short written application (which you can talk through with us by email or phone) and, if we think it will work, we will invite you to Stage Two. If we don’t think it will work, we will say that or we may invite you to consider parts of your application which may strengthen it. We will let you know within five working days whether you can go forward to Stage Two.

When funding is open locally, we encourage applicants to submit their Stage One application forms as soon as possible so you have plenty of time to work on the next stage if you are invited to, which requires more time.

Hal Khanom, Grant Support Officer at the Trust, offers her top tip to help you with Stage One:

“It’s really important that you are clear on how your project is genuinely designed and led by the participants. This means everybody involved needs to have real influence on the decision making during the project.

“Make sure your project is based on group activity that brings a core set of people together regularly - we want to see people building relationships through activities that they enjoy and have a real input into and that won’t happen through short term engagement."

Stage Two is where we get to know your group properly. It’s a chance for you to tell us about your great idea in more detail and how you will bring it to life.

It’s also a chance for you to let us know who your project will benefit and where they are from as well as telling us about your budget which you will use to help bring the idea to life.

Natalia Griffiths, Senior Grants Officer at the Trust, explains what she looks for at Stage Two:

“It should be very clear from the application that there will be a core group of people who will attend the group regularly. Groups should be explicit about how often people will attend.

“It’s important that we can see that local people are going to regularly attend the project and build stronger social links and ties with each other."

Find out if your neighbourhood is open for funding and how to apply here

You have already completed an application for funding, are you sure you would like to submit another application? You should only submit another application if it is for a different project. If you want to amend an application that has already been submitted, please call us on 020 7749 9100.

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