What is the project and when will it start? This grant has enabled us to buy a building in central London that will become the Changing Faces centre - a unique resource and learning facility as well as a permanent and authoritative source of advice, information and inspiration on disfigurement concerns and issues. An estimated 400,000 people in the UK have a disfigurement, and 20,000 people acquire disfigurements every year. The increased space and resources mean we will be able to reach more clients than ever before while expanding our programmes for teachers, employers and health and social care professionals. The centre will be opened formally on 3 December.
Do you need further funding to set up the project? Yes. This grant - our first from the fund - is one of a number of major donations we have received towards the £1.5m target needed to buy the centre. But we are still seeking funding to reduce the shortfall on the purchase currently underwritten by a generous loan from a private foundation. The acquisition of the centre is part of our £3m-plus capital appeal. That appeal also aims to establish a fund to ensure strong leadership of the charity in future and to boost our research fund.
Why has it granted this award after rejecting previous applications?
We applied previously for two grants for a small-scale project and a research project. By comparison, this application would be considered a major strategic investment in the charity's future with clearly defined long-term benefits for people who have disfigurements and the wider society.
Was the application a simple process? The Big Lottery Fund is a much sought-after grant giver.
It has reduced the number of grants that it distributes and needs to have a very sound, transparent process for each grant. The process from submission of the application to confirmation of the award took 18 months.
If charities can identify a project that fits into its own long-term strategy, the fund is definitely worth approaching.