Focus: How we got the grant - Colin Javens Spinal Injury Trust

Jo Hirst, project manager

Why did you apply to this trust? We applied for funding for Driving Home, Colin Javens' expedition from Stoke Mandeville Hospital to Cape Town. Colin was paralysed from the shoulders down in a diving accident, leaving just a tiny movement in one wrist. He will drive an adapted Land Rover to South Africa to raise awareness and funds for various spinal injury projects en route.

It was Colin who found out about the Winston Churchill Trust, which gives grants to people who want to experience the lives and cultures of people overseas, and to share that experience on return to the UK.

Our project is all about raising awareness of spinal injuries in the UK and in Africa, and showing what can be achieved against the odds by people with spinal injuries, which fitted perfectly with the aims of the trust.

What did the application process involve? We submitted a written application, from which we were short-listed, and had to submit a second written application with two personal references. The final stage in the process was a 30-minute interview, which Colin attended. The process was simple and well supported by the trust.

Is part of the money for infrastructure or training? No, the funds from this trust were for this very specific project.

Did you apply to other funders? We have applied to numerous other trusts.

Our lack of success may be down to the fact that part of our project is overseas, partly because it is to do with medical research and partly because we are a new charity.

WHY WE GAVE THE GRANT - Nigel Sudborough, director general, Winston Churchill Memorial Trust

We gave out a total of about £525,000 last year and had more than 1,000 applications for funding, but Colin's stood out. We were particularly struck by his sense of adventure in difficult circumstances and his focus on doing this overland expedition.

When giving out funding we look for people with the ambition to better themselves and their communities when they return.

We expect Colin to be a shining example to other disabled people - showing them that if you are determined you can do anything.

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