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Funding to be found

27 June 2014

Good neighbour project

Making a difference: a Good Neighbour volunteer, Candace, has a cup of tea with a client, Robby

Making a difference: a Good Neighbour volunteer, Candace, has a cup of tea with a client, Robby

THE most basic ways to address the needs of isolated older people -visiting and befriending, or volunteering with a charity such as Contact the Elderly - cost little in monetary terms. More ambitious projects, though, may require funding.

The Revd Glyn Thomas, at Regenerate-RISE, suggests that the first step for any church should always be to explain the vision to the congregation, and invite them to support the project as part of the church's mission.

The next step is to find out whether the borough/town/county council offers any grants to support work among elderly people Regenerate-RISE's work in London, for example, is primarily funded by Wandsworth Council; and the Good Neighbour Project in Tunbridge Wells gets much of its funding from Kent County Council.

Often, local forums, such as community councils, or even residents' associations, have small pots of money to award to projects that affect their immediate community.

Local CVS offices may be aware of possible sources of funding, as will the National Council for Voluntary Organisations.

The Church of England website lists a number of possible sources of finance for Christian community action (www.how2help.net/home/full-report/funding-sources). This includes a number of charitable trusts that fund work among older or isolated people. Websites such as www.grantnet.com and www.trustfunding.org.uk may be useful, too.

The Church Urban Fund supports work that is focused on the relief of poverty and deprivation, and can sometimes provide quite large sums of money long-term.

For large projects, the Revd Maggie Durran, a Church Times columnist, says: "You could use a website such as Trustfunding to search for a trust that specialises in the elderly and isolated. For a day-care centre, or something like that, it may be possible to get help from the health authority, or social services, who fund projects that work with the elderly."

The National Lottery is another potential source of substantial sums long-term, although its criteria can be demanding, Mr Thomas says. "If you apply, you will need to know your area well, and to be able to make a good case that what you are proposing is needed locally; that you can deliver it; and, perhaps, that you are best-placed to do so.

"Also, bear in mind that for the Big Lottery Fund it is all about impacts and outcomes - they will not want to know that you are running a luncheon club, say, but that you are providing 60 people with nutritious meals. It's a different way of thinking. They will hold you to any target you set, so consider carefully what you are proposing, and, if your application is successful, have someone who can hold your project accountable and report to the Fund."

If seeking secular funding, make sure that you understand the implications and accept them, or it can be a cause of division, he says. "At our centre in Putney, we don't say grace before meals, because our funding stipulates that we can't be seen to promote a particular religion. If you see evangelism as an essential part of your work, that may restrict funding applications, but it is always best to be up front and open."

Applications must be well researched, Mr Thomas says. "Grant-making bodies are heavily subscribed, and there is no point applying if a project does not meet the criteria. Some will state that they do not give money to religious organisations at all, but others may consider funding, for example, a centre in which religious activities take place, as long as the building is open to people of all faiths and none."

It may be worth considering partnering with another, secular organisation, to put in a bid together.

Some bodies give money only to registered charities, or will have an upper or lower limit for turnover. Some will want to see a budget or a business plan, or some form of constitution that states a project's aims and objectives.

"Many will want an assurance that they would not be a sole funder - if only because they want to be sure an organisation is serious about raising the rest of the money."



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