Abuse charity reapplies for Big Lottery Fund grant as Savile case sparks surge in calls

Peter Saunders of the National Association for People Abused in Childhood says its application was turned down weeks before the scandal broke

Peter Saunders
Peter Saunders

A charity which has so far helped about 30 victims of the late broadcaster Jimmy Savile has reapplied for lottery funding after its initial application was rejected on the grounds it had failed to show the need for its services.

The National Association for People Abused in Childhood, which has received 6,000 calls in the past four weeks from survivors of abuse, received a letter rejecting its application for a continuation grant three weeks before the Savile scandal broke on 3 October.

In 2009 Napac was awarded a lottery grant worth almost £500,000 over three years, but that funding is due to end in February.

In a response to the charity’s request for continuation funding, dated 13 September, the Big Lottery Fund  said it would only support projects that clearly demonstrated a need. The letter stated: "In comparison to other projects we reviewed, the information you provided does not show why your project is needed as well as others."

Other criticisms of the charity included its failure to clearly show outcomes.

But this week Napac has resubmitted its grant application, including statistics on the use of the charity’s services in the wake of sex abuse claims made against Savile. Peter Saunders, Napac’s chief executive, said that he hoped the BLF would reverse its decision as a result. Without a new grant, he said, the charity would run out of money by this time next year.

Saunders blamed himself for the charity's failure to not secure the continuation grant at the first time of asking, saying that he was "not terribly good at filling in the form".

A spokesman for BLF said it awarded £495,210 to Napac in 2009 for a three-year project to increase the capacity of its free national telephone support line and to carry out a campaign to raise awareness. The charity received a further £10,000 earlier this year so it could explore ways of becoming more sustainable.

"Regrettably, we are simply unable to fund the huge amount of worthwhile projects we receive applications from," he added. "Inevitably some will be turned down. We welcome the resubmission of Napac’s outline proposal form. It is now with our assessment officers for consideration."

In the past three years, BLF has awarded £9m to projects supporting adults and children affected by sexual abuse.

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