LYNOA COCHRANE, DIRECTOR OF RESEARCH AND COMMUNICATIONS
Why did you apply to the fund? BabyGROE (Green, Recycled, Organic and Ethical) is a UK-wide registered charity promoting the use of natural babycare products and services. We produce and distribute a free magazine that reaches more than 500,000 new parents each year.
We needed money to fulfil our three-year business plan of creating a network of regional representatives who will provide information and advice at a local level for both hospital midwives and parents to be. We found out about the fund through Senscot, a social entrepreneur network in Scotland, and subsequently contacted the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra).
What did the application process involve? We had to complete an eight-page application form, which took about 10 hours. Once the application had been assessed by Defra and we had progressed to the next level, we had to attend a two-hour interview. Once we knew we had been successful, we were invited to meet the Defra team and other awardees.
Could the application have been simpler? Well, yes. Handing the money to us on a plate would have been marvellous, but sadly it was never going to happen.
Is part of the money for infrastructure or training? Yes. We secured funding for a minimum 80 per cent of all core costs, including recruiting and training the regional representatives.
Did you apply to other funders? We failed with three applications, but were successful with the Esmee Fairbairn Foundation, the Sainsbury Family Trust and Scotland UnLtd.
ANDREW GWILLIAM, PROGRAMME MANAGER, ENVIRONMENTAL ACTION FUND
The EAF is a Defra funding scheme that helps voluntary bodies working in England to take forward the Government's sustainable development objectives. Its current focus is sustainable consumption and production, so the BabyGROE project fitted well. In assessing this bid, ministers considered that this project worked to promote sustainable consumption within and through an important community of new parents. It also held a potentially large and captive audience. We hope this ethos will help make the project a success and, in turn, make real changes for real people.