Mark Atkinson, funding and development manager, Scope
What is the project and when will it start? Voices Through Advocacy is a Scope-led initiative involving a UK-wide consortium of charities. The project responds to the lack of advocacy for disabled people with physical, sensory and communication impairments or high support needs. Advocacy currently concentrates on people with learning disabilities and mental health problems.
This project will help the types of people that local authorities exclude.
It is expected to begin next summer and we must influence local authorities to fund advocacy services in these non-traditional areas once it ends in 2008.
The consortium comprises Action for Advocacy, British Institute of Learning Disabilities, Advocacy Action Wales, Spoke, South Derbyshire Advocacy and Hampshire Advocacy Reference Group.
Do you need further funding to set up the project?Yes, we need a further £198,000. We are awaiting the outcome of a Department of Health Section 64 bid for £65,500 and have identified 20 other grant-giving bodies, which we are in the process of approaching.
Is this your first Big Lottery Fund grant? It's our second, but the first that we have won as part of a consortium.
Why do you think this bid has been successful? It was strengthened by the adoption of a consortium approach, which was encouraged by the fund as a means of enhancing the project's impact. We engaged with the fund at an early stage and acted on feedback we were given. We recognised the importance of rigorous project development and obtained input from all the consortium members throughout the process.
Was the application a simple process? It was not, although this was largely because of the complexity of the project. Big Lottery Fund staff were very supportive and always on-hand for us.