Simon Tucker, chief operating officer
Why did you apply to this fund? We heard about the funding stream only a few days before the September deadline. It's a huge triumph to have secured this amount, which is double any previous grant. The money is to help run our existing drop-in centre, replicate the centre elsewhere for the first time and develop partnerships with the private and public sectors to sustain the current and new centres.
We have previously been passed from pillar to post when trying to source government funding because our work cuts across different areas. The fund stepped in because it believes in our work.
What did the application process involve? We submitted a single-page form to express our interest and a two-page summary of the project. We were notified of our first-round success at the end of January. But because this was one month later than most others, we had until mid-February to gather government sponsors, who must agree to champion our work in their relevant departments and ease the passage for future public sector contracts.
We worked very hard and ended up with two senior civil servants: one in the Department for Education and Skills, another in the Department of Health. The 20-page main application form took almost two weeks to complete.
It had designated headings designed for typical new projects, so in order to get across the merits of what we wanted to do within the structure, I re-ordered the headings, which the fund was happy with.
Is part of the money for infrastructure or training? This is project funding, but our project is the day centre - so, essentially, it is for core costs. The fund has been progressive because it has funded us and allowed us to have reserves for the first time.
Who would you have turned to without this funding? We would have continued to search for public sector funding and relied on the private sector. But we could not have done so indefinitely.