Focus: How we got the grant - John Grooms

Lucy Asquith, trusts and major donor manager, John Grooms

Why did you apply to the fund? We had set up the Lifestyle Choices project in Bedfordshire, which proved such a success that we wanted to expand it. The project supports disabled people who want to become more involved in social, leisure and educational activities.

We were keen to develop a project in Neath Port Talbot, in South Wales.

Our research indicated that large numbers of disabled adults live in the area and find it difficult to access training, employment and lifestyle opportunities. We found that the only funder in the area that could support the initiative in a significant way was the ESF.

What did the application process involve? We had to fill in a form to show what the project would offer, and then we negotiated with the Wales European Funding Office. The European Funding Team at Neath Port Talbot was a fabulous source of support and advice and guided us through the process.

Is part of the money for infrastructure or training? We aim to help 170 disabled people in Neath Port Talbot get involved in training and access to work programmes, get 50 people into part-time work and 70 into voluntary work. We will do this by recruiting three members of staff - a project manager, a lifestyle worker and a volunteer co-ordinator.

Did you apply to other funders? Yes. We succeeded in gaining match funds from a nationally focused grant-making trust that was looking to support a new initiative in Wales. The trust wishes to remain anonymous, however.

Why we gave the grant

Julia Wilkins, Objective One officer for Neath Port Talbot, working in partnership with the European Social Fund through the Welsh European Funding Office

We gave the project our wholehearted support and agreed that the grant for the project could come from the fund's allocated amount for the most deprived wards in the borough.

The partnership feels that the project meets the aims and objectives of the programme in that it will be assisting socially excluded people back into education, training and work. The project will be filling a gap in provision in the local area and will complement existing work.

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