My application journey

We launched our current funding offer in 2015. As one of the first projects to benefit, we asked Patricia Mair, Project Manager at Talk Now, to talk us through her application journey from small to medium grant.

N.B. This piece was originally posted in 2016, and refers to The National Lottery Community Fund by our previous name (Big Lottery Fund)

“The Big Lottery Fund was the first to fund our organisation back in 2012. I had a meeting with one of their funding advisors, Steven who was very approachable and helpful in giving me advice on how to make a good application. From there we went on to secure an Awards for All grant of £7,487.

Pat Mair – “Big Lottery Fund staff were helpful and approachable.”

So when I heard that they had launched a new medium grants programme called Improving Lives I approached them again to see if there was the potential for further funding. This time I called their advice line to talk over my project idea and once again I spoke to Steven who remembered me. He talked me through what they were looking for in a good Improving Lives application and he listened to be as I explained what I wanted the funding for.

He said my project sounded like a good fit and then emailed me through an application form. He also told me to come back to him if I had any questions. As I was applying for a medium grant it was a one stage application form which was easy to fill in especially as I already had experience of applying for and securing a small grant. This also meant that I did not have to wait long for a decision. When I heard the good news – we’d received £90,000 over three years – I was delighted.

I started Talk Now over 4 years ago. Up until we got our first Big Lottery Fund grant I ran the organisation myself. I had student counsellors who worked with the families who had been affected by abuse and I worked with the survivors as well as keeping the organisation up and running. It was very difficult as we were getting really busy with referrals form doctor’s surgeries, Hairmyres Hospital, the local mental health team and other organisations who work with survivors of sexual abuse. I was determined we would keep the organisation going but did not know how I was going to do that.

Applying for funding can be scary but thanks to the Big Lottery Fund we have been able to employ sessional counsellors who are qualified in sexual abuse and complex trauma. We are working with over 40 clients per week and our new Improving Lives grant means we can maintain a team of dedicated counsellors.

We are now in a position where we can promote our services as we now have the staff and funding to take on the referrals. I am so happy that survivors of childhood sexual abuse can now get the support they so deserve and move on from the debilitating impact of sexual abuse.  I would like to take this opportunity to thank the Big Lottery Fund for all their support and help over the last 4 years and for making applying for funding so painless.”

If Pat’s story has inspired you and you have an idea for funding, get in touch with us for advice by calling 0300 123 7110 or emailing

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