Fundraising News: How we got the grant - Sofa Project

Julian Williams, director, Sofa Project

Why did you apply to this fund? We are a member of the Furniture Re-use Network, which told us last November that £3m would be made available through the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs' Community Sector Support Programme.

Our £400,000 bid to Defra's Environmental Action Fund was rejected in November, but the waste fund was prepared to fund us as a community business in the waste sector. The money will help us develop a depot in Avonmouth, Bristol, to process unwanted electrical equipment for reuse or recycling.

The scheme starts in September and represents a major expansion.

What did the application process involve? We applied to the Royal Society of Wildlife Trusts, which handles applications for Defra. The four-page expression of interest form had to be in by January and the in-depth 10-page form, by invitation only, by the end of February. The trust's assessors visited us in March and the grant offer was made quickly. The process took us about a week and it was clear and concise in comparison with other funders.

Is part of the money for infrastructure or training? £63,000 is for refurbishment of the building, IT and telecommunications. Our training needs are covered by other funders. The entire grant covers a third of the total cost for the first year of the project, which we hope will be self-sustaining by 2008. We will trade with local authorities to contribute to running costs and address the challenges of the EU directive on Waste, Electrical and Electronic Equipment, set to be implemented in the UK in January. The directive places a responsibility on producers to find better solutions than dumping goods at landfill sites.

Did you apply to other funders? We're awaiting the outcome of a £300,000 bid with the Cred fund, to be spread across three years. Should we get that, we will need another £300,000 for the first year, which we hope two other charitable trusts will help to provide.

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