Fundraising: How we got the grant - Open Minds

Patrick Gallacher, co-ordinator

Why did you apply to the fund? The Community Fund had awarded the East Midlands Open Minds group £5,000 in February 2004 for a pilot buddying and mentoring project in Nottinghamshire.

Open Minds offers its members, most of whom have a disability, help to improve their confidence and social skills. Following the success of the pilot scheme, we applied for funds for a new mentor. The mentor will follow the format of the previous buddying project, working with individuals to deliver presentations at disability support groups and workshops, teaching skills that can then be transferred to other areas of their lives, with positive results.

What did the application process involve? Despite being told by the Community Fund that we were not a priority group, we decided to apply. The application involved two main tasks.

First, we produced a report on the pilot scheme, which provided a view of the work involved, including input from members. We also filled in an application form that included 16 questions. We started it in November.

The application was submitted in late February. An interview with the Community Fund followed in March, and a final decision was given in May.

Is part of the money for infrastructure or training? The total asked for will provide funds for a new worker and some running costs over a period of three years. The project is due to start in January. Some of the funding will contribute to trustee recruitment and training.

Did you apply to other funders? Yes, we have applied to some other funders because there is another post to fund as well as running costs to meet.

We have time until the project begins to find other funding. I don't want to mention the grants we have applied for because I don't want to jeopardise our chances of success.

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