Focus: Fundraising - How we got the grant - Siren

NEIL HIRST, DEVELOPMENT MANAGER, SIREN

Why did you apply to this trust or foundation? We needed to secure the financial viability of Siren over the coming three years through sales of finished carpentry products made by our employees. Our board of trustees met and advised me to consult the Esmee Fairbairn Foundation.

What did the application process involve? The application process was straightforward. The outline document was a single side of A4, the proposal consisted of 11 pages of information about the project and the meetings were brief and always constructive.

Is part of the money for infrastructure or training? Our application was focused on the employment of a new supervisor and other staff to strengthen the infrastructure of our carpentry project.

Did you apply to other funders? No

WHY WE GAVE THE GRANT - Laurence Scott, grants manager, Esmee Fairbairn Foundation

Siren helps people who are disadvantaged in the labour market to gain skills and a work history that will enable them to move into mainstream work. This matches well with the priorities of our Social Change: Enterprise and Independence programme.

We were attracted to Siren because it was using an income-generating social enterprise model with potential for scaling up. They were targeting people who face barriers to finding work, such as the long-term unemployed and ex-offenders. Siren has worked with 33 people since being set up - of these, 28 have gone on to permanent employment elsewhere and two have gone into further education.

Initially, it offered three supported employment places, increasing to seven in 2004, and our grant has allowed this to rise to ten. The quality of their products is excellent and much of the wood it uses is locally sourced.

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