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Involving your community: part 2 – schools, uniformed groups and sensitive work

September 17, 2018

Two older girls coaching lots of children in a football pitchAs I discussed in a recent blog piece, involving your community in planning and delivering your work is important if you are looking to get a grant from us, especially through National Lottery Awards for All.

This time we’ll look at some cases where involving the wider community could be more difficult, or a bit outside of your organisation’s normal role. So let’s start with the commonest question:

What if we don’t or can’t work with the wider community?

When you are doing more sensitive work we realise that it can be difficult to work with your community in the widest sense. This could be the case for projects doing things like counselling around sensitive issues, or work with vulnerable groups.

However, for most other groups we are keen to see how you will involve and be open to input from the wider community, not just the people currently involved in your activities (although their views are important too!). Because of this, projects that only benefit your organisation’s existing users or members are typically less likely to be funded.

This can be an issue for some types of organisation in particular.

Can you give some examples?

Schools and nurseries:

We receive a high level of applications from schools and nurseries, but we are unlikely to fund work that only benefits school pupils or staff. In particular, we receive a lot of requests for improvements to their outdoor areas and playgrounds. These requests are often unsuccessful, mainly because it is difficult to demonstrate the wider community benefit and involvement that we are looking for – especially where the work will only benefit pupils.

So while we can still consider funding school ground improvements, we are unlikely to do so unless you can show that they are a priority for your wider community, and will be available for other people to use.

Uniformed groups:

Similarly, we receive a lot of applications from uniformed groups like Scouts, Guides and Boy’s Brigades. Again, activities that will only benefit members of the group – like travel costs for outings or equipment for camping trips – are unlikely to be funded.

So… do you still fund schools/uniformed groups?

Yes! We know that these organisations are often at the very heart of their community, and can be well-placed to take forward work that’s important to a wide range of people in their local area.

We’ve recently funded some good examples of this, including a school running a community arts programme that will involve a range of local people and groups, and a Scout group undertaking minor improvements to their premises, which doubles as the local village hall and is vital to community activity in their area.

What if we aren’t sure, or want to discuss our chances?

If you aren’t sure, just get in touch. We are more than happy to discuss your plans before you apply, especially if it will save you wasted time and effort on an application that isn’t likely to be funded.

You can call us on 0300 123 7110 from 9-5 Monday to Friday, or email on advicescotland@biglotteryfund.org.uk, and we’ll get you in touch with the right person.

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