Amanda Ashley, project manager
Why did you apply to this fund? We discovered Futurebuilders in a Hertfordshire County Council list of future funders. We help disaffected young people channel their energies into music, but our impractical premises resemble something designed by Salvador Dali. The money will allow us to refurbish them.
About half of the money is a loan, which we have to pay back at 6 per cent interest within five years - although the investment is flexible.
We would have thought twice about applying if we didn't have the means to repay, but we are confident that our new commercial recording studio will generate business.
What did the application process involve? We registered our interest on the Futurebuilders website by entering our contact details and stating that our application was under the 'young people's education and training' criteria. We very quickly received a pack with a two-page form asking for basic details of our project. On receipt of that, Futurebuilders sent an investment officer to spend a day with us and then write the four-page application form on our behalf. It saved us an awful lot of work and helped to match the board's requirements. A business consultant checked our figures to see if the project made a viable investment.
We were informed of our success five months after our initial application.
Is part of the money for infrastructure? Yes. Almost £100,000 is for refurbishment, including £35,000 for music technology equipment, but £10,000 is for capacity building. Part of the money is also for a finance officer for the first year, but one condition of the investment was that we actively seek a financially aware trustee.
Did you apply to other funders? No. Although we have wanted to refurbish the current building for two years, we have been concentrating on rebuilding our reputation after the previous management was removed following a Charity Commission investigation.