BBC Children in Need unveils new grants strategy

It aims to respond to applications more quickly and make itself as easy to approach as possible, says Sheila-Jane Malley, director of grants and policy

Sheila-Jane Malley
Sheila-Jane Malley

BBC Children in Need has devised a new strategy for its small and main grants programmes.

The charity, which raised a record on-the-night total of £26.7m from its latest TV appeal in November, said it wanted to respond to applications more quickly.

The main programme, for which the application deadline is 15 May, will make grants of more than £10,000 over three years. It has no upper limit, but makes few grants of more than £100,000.

The small grants programme, which closes to applications on 1 June, awards funding of less than £10,000 over one year. Grants are awarded to UK charities and non-profit organisations that work with disadvantaged children and young people.

Under the new strategy, at least 100 more small grants will be made this year. In 2012, the charity awarded 650 small grants, it said. The programme will have five grant rounds a year, instead of the previous four, and the response time is being reduced from 14 weeks to between eight and 10.

A spokeswoman for Children in Need was unable to confirm the total amount of funding available under either programme.

For main grants, a two-stage application process has been introduced, with four deadlines a year. Charities will find out within four weeks whether they have progressed to the full application stage, rather than having to wait 12 weeks for a final decision, as before.

Children in Need said the changes would help it to better quantify and describe the impact of its grant-making on children’s lives. The charity said there would be more focus on "learning relationships" with grant holders about the factors that support and inhibit success in the work it funds.

Sheila-Jane Malley, the charity’s director of grants and policy, said: "We constantly review our grant-making, and the new strategy is to make sure we are as straightforward and streamlined as possible for organisations to access."

She said the new strategy would also "ensure that we can maximise the insight and understanding gained from the work we support, and share this knowledge in ways that bring wider benefit to children".

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