Focus: Fundraising - Newcastle Literacy Trust

HOW WE GOT THE GRANT - Avril Gibson, Deputy Director

Why did you apply to this foundation? We have successfully applied for funding from Northern Rock in the past. This grant for our Sandwriter Project fulfils one of the main areas the foundation wants to support, which is preventing crime.

A total of 60 volunteer mentors are to be recruited and trained for the project. They will then be matched with a young person with the aim of developing a mentoring relationship to help them move away from crime and anti-social behaviour.

Each mentor will work with two young people, and 120 young people in total will be helped. Throughout the relationship, the mentor will support the young person to develop their basic skills - reading, writing and numeracy. We hope they will also increase the youngsters' self-esteem and confidence.

What did the application process involve? We filled in the two-page application form and also wrote a project outline, which had to be included as part of the process. It was easy to complete and was followed by interviews by a Northern Rock grants officer. These were very rigorous and lasted between 90 minutes and two hours.

Is part of the money for infrastructure or training? The money is for two full-time project staff and core funding towards the overheads and management costs of running the project and volunteer expenses.

Did you apply to other funders? The Charles Heywood Foundation, but we didn't fit its criteria.

WHY WE GAVE THE GRANT - Rob Williamson, assistant director, Northern Rock Foundation

We are keen to nurture organisations in our area. The foundation is interested in those organisations that are trying to break the cycle of reoffending and are mindful of some of the research showing that a lack of basic numeracy and literacy is among the key problems. Therefore any proposal that has a key way of dealing with those problems will appeal to our trustees. The use of volunteer mentors was also very appealing because we knew that the programme had been achieving good results in trying to tackle the causes of reoffending. It could demonstrate that it was effective.

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