Focus: Fundraising - How we got the grant - Liberty

GEMMA CANNINGS, development officer, Liberty and the Civil Liberties Trust.

Why did you apply to this trust or foundation? Our funding was coming to an end and we wanted to expand the YourRights advice service. We needed a new member of staff to redevelop it, so we decided our chances would be better if we applied for development funding from the Strategic Grants Programme of the Community Fund.

What did the application process involve? Filling out the form containing more than 65 questions was an immense exercise. When finally submitted, the application was about 200 pages long. From start to finish the application took about 10 months.

Thankfully, we prepared well. I was less prepared for the phone calls from our assessor, following the assessment. I always felt as though I had come out of an exam after one of those phone calls. However, our assessor asked questions that were very measured and balanced.

Could the application have been simpler? I am sure it could have been simpler.

Is part of the money for infrastructure or training? The grant will expand the website, improve the content and fund seminars about referrals to the voluntary sector. However, it did also cover some of our core costs.

Did you apply to other funders? Yes, we did approach the Lloyds TSB Foundation but because our charitable arm, the Civil Liberties Trust, makes grants to Liberty, it said we were unable to apply.

STEPHEN DUNMORE, chief executive, Big Lottery Fund

This is a development grant to continue to improve the YourRights web and email advice service. The project fits well with the aims of the Big Lottery Fund, focusing its service on the provision of advice so that anyone, particularly those from disadvantaged backgrounds, can resolve issues without recourse to expensive litigation.

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