Focus: Fundraising - How we got the grant - George House Trust

Michelle Reid, chief executive

Why did you apply to this fund? Its priorities matched our own, so we applied for funding for a dedicated adviser and creche co-ordinator at our new family centre in Manchester.

The grant covers our support services to African men, women and children living with or affected by HIV, in connection with Barnardo's Health Through Action Project. It will fund an adviser to provide practical advice and support on HIV issues, a resource co-ordinator and sessional childcare workers to allow adults to access services without children being present.

We have a number of goals, including the improved wellbeing and psychological health of the HIV-positive people who use our services.

What did the application process involve? We consulted our service users from the start and realised the importance of being clear about the project's aims. We applied for a high level of grant and also had to include a business plan.

We began the process in August 2004 and submitted the final bid in December.

Lottery assessors visited in March, and we were notified of our award in May. It took up a lot of management time, but we decided from the outset that the funding merited the attention.

Is part of the money for infrastructure or training? The fund pays for the salaries as well as add-on costs associated with the funded posts, and for the associated running costs of the building.

Did you apply to other funders? We didn't apply to other funders for this particular project. We were confident in our bid and it's great that we received it in this, our 20th anniversary year.

WHY WE GAVE THE GRANT

Big Lottery Fund spokesman

The bid was of high quality, well researched and supported by an excellent business plan. Manchester has the second highest incidence of HIV in the UK, so this project is badly needed.

Desired long-term impacts include improved life expectancy for those using the centre and the growth of new and separate African organisations developed from peer-support networks.

It also aims to contribute to the reduction in numbers of infected people in the UK and Africa. It was good to see joint working with Barnardo's, which has consulted in the design of the children's facilities and will oversee the creche.

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