Focus: Fundraising - How we got the grant - National Autistic Society

Ben Taylor, senior trust fundraiser, NAS

Why did you apply to the fund? We applied to the Big Lottery Fund's strategic grants programme because we wanted to set up Help! 2 across the whole of England. It is one of the few funding bodies to offer grants large enough to finance a nationwide project of that sort.

The Help! programme is a unique support programme for parents and carers of young children who have recently been diagnosed with autism. The programme gives an introduction to autism and the difficult issues that affected families can face. Help! 2 will support those families by providing sessions to inform and advise parents and carers on issues such as bullying, transitions, adolescence and sexuality.

What did the application process involve? We were sent an application form on a floppy disk, and we initially worked on it in that format.

Once the application was completed, we had to print it off and send it in paper form. We also had to prepare a business plan that explained our proposal in greater detail.

The application took about a month to complete. We subsequently had a three-hour meeting with a representative from the Big Lottery Fund, during which we had to answer a range of questions about the project.

Is part of the money for infrastructure or training? Yes. Among other things, the grant will cover salaries, rent, organisational overheads, general running costs and the training of both staff and volunteers.

Did you apply to other funders? No.

WHY WE GAVE THE GRANT

NICOLA OSMOND-EVANS, press officer, Big Lottery Fund

The grant we awarded NAS was one of 18 grants totalling £4,837,364 from the fund's strategic programme. When we were deciding who to award these grants to, we looked for organisations that were involved in the fostering of young people.

NAS presented us with an application that went over and above our criteria; it was able to demonstrate to us that it was a priority group in real need.

There is obviously a need to provide support for children affected by autism as well as their parents, which is why the Big Lottery Fund thought it was important to fund this project.

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