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From “scary funder” to valued partner

August 9, 2017
Andrew Lindsay, Big Lottery Fund, and Angela Beardsley, Resonate Arts House

Andrew & Angela

In this guest blog Angela Beardsley, Founder and Executive Director of Resonate Arts House, talks about how she came to value the Big Lottery Fund as a partner after initially viewing the process of applying for funding with some trepidation…

It was time. The Chair of the annual ACOSVO Trustee Week event was beginning to introduce the next speaker – me.

I approached the lectern and the faces of hundreds of people in the room swam in front of my vision. It was the week of my mum’s funeral and I was shaking with nerves. I’m not sure what I said, but when I finished speaking people clapped and I made my way back to my seat.

At the break Andrew Lindsay from the Big Lottery Fund introduced himself to me. His enthusiasm was infectious and he said he found it amazing that Resonate Arts House was doing such fantastic work with pretty much no full-time employees or external funding.

It was at this point that Andrew suggested applying to the Big Lottery Fund for a Community-Led grant of £10,000 – £150,000. That was a huge amount of money and I expressed my fear of Resonate getting “caught” in a funding loop.

Andrew was very supportive and seemed to understand my need for our community to be at the heart of our organisation, and suggested we discuss the opportunities further at a later date.

After speaking with the Resonate team and researching the potential of funding from the Big Lottery Fund, I spoke with Andrew by email and on the phone, discussing all of the angles at length. He also set up meetings with his colleagues who were able to provide more advice and support.

I and Resonate no longer felt like we were talking with a funder, but that we had a partner who truly connected with our work and community, and were willing to support our long-term goals, on our terms.

We decided to apply for funding. After initially meeting Andrew in November, it was June when we found out that we had been successful in applying for £149,920 of National Lottery funding!

To have another organisation as large as the Big Lottery Fund believe in us, to trust our work and to invest in our community was an incredible achievement for us all. People might think applying for funding is scary but my experience of the Big Lottery Fund is that it is not. I’d encourage people to take that initial step and to make the call.

Reflecting on Resonate’s funding success, Andrew said: “It was an emotional moment for sure, for everyone. I am told Angela was close to tears, which in turn made the Funding Officer emotional as they had spent the last two months visiting and chatting with each other through the process. I was over the moon for Angela, her team and the community they help on a daily basis.”

Looking for funding? Learn more about the opportunities we have available here

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