Focus: Fundraising - How we got the grant - Leonard Cheshire

Trevor Watkins, head of trusts, Leonard Cheshire

Why did you apply for this grant? We were familiar with Big Lottery Fund processes from many previous bids. We thought the project, which benefits disabled people with communication difficulties, would appeal to the fund.

What did the application process involve? We decided to apply two weeks before the old Community Fund programmes were suspended in May last year.

Then we had only two weeks to agree a business plan, a budget, job descriptions and salaries, and to make sure it all made sense before completing and delivering the application itself.

Could the application have been simpler? Of course, but the fund offers guidance both before an application is made and during assessment. We were especially pleased to be offered increased funding to meet external evaluation costs not originally requested.

Is part of the money for infrastructure or training? Yes, the second largest budget item covers staff and volunteer training.

Did you apply to any other funders? Yes. The Lloyds TSB Foundation for England and Wales has covered one year's worth of co-ordinator costs, and the pharmaceutical firm Alliance Unichem has pledged a major contribution towards general project costs.

WHY WE GAVE THE GRANT - Stephen Dunmore, chief executive, Big Lottery Fund

Leonard Cheshire has a strong history of delivering successful projects with funding from the Big Lottery Fund. This application met the key priority of the Strategic Grants Programme, which was to help some of the most disadvantaged in society - in this case, the communication needs of Leonard Cheshire's own service users.

The bid showed clear and thorough planning, and the committee was particularly keen to see the wider learning from the project disseminated to service commissioners, health professionals and other service users.

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