Favourite funding sources – update: Awards for All simplifies!

So is someone from Awards for All reading this blog?  Did my uncensored rant against the unnecessary complexities of their forms really make a difference?  No I don’t think so as their changes must have been well underway before I ranted.  But nevertheless, it’s cause for celebration throughout the land!

Awards for All was intended to be the “simple” bit of Lottery funding, for small, local projects often run by previously unfunded community-based organisations.  But with a centralised over-controlling approach (perhaps stemming from top-heavy micro-management from political masters nervous of bad publicity if money went to a group unable to properly manage it), they achieved a ridiculously-complex form which was totally disproportionate to the small levels of funding offered.    

The two worst bits were getting the right referee (as a large proportion of bids were thrown back because the referee was deemed to be unacceptable, for spurious reasons dreamt up by some pen-pusher), and filling in the finance section (requiring umpteen forms to be stamped at building societies, and a bank account to be open for three months before submission of the application).

AND THEY’VE FINALLY LISTENED, AND CHANGED IT!

So having ranted and railed, it is only fair that we now applaud Awards for All, for listening (eventually) to their customers, and making some sensible changes. 

A referee is no longer required at application stage.  And indeed may never be required – you will be contacted if your bid is looking likely to succeed and it will be explained why you need a referee.  Most bids will never need one.

And best of all – the financial background papers no longer need to be submitted WITH the application, but if successful you have 20 days to submit (extensions to this are possible on request).

These changes will enable Grants Officers to concentrate on the actual content of the bid and what the group wants to do, instead of focussing on reasons to reject a referree or a smudged building society stamp.   But best of all, it will take the huge burden of excess time off the completion of these forms, enabling groups too to concentrate primarily on describing their project really well.  Nobody minds rushing around photocopying bank statements and getting signatures when they know their bid has been successful!

Seriously, these are really significant changes that will hugely benefit the smallest of our community organisations.  And the importance of their work, their ability to react quickly to local needs, and their contribution to improving the lot of the most vulnerable people in our society, must always be celebrated.

©  Tamara Essex 2010

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3 Comments on “Favourite funding sources – update: Awards for All simplifies!”

  1. Sue Jordan Says:

    Brilliant, at last some sense has been reigned; lets hope this is the start of an avalanche, getting back to common sense!


  2. It is great news isn’t it. Prior to this, I had set up a workshop to help groups complete their applications (not write if for them) and the Big Lottery wielded it’s powerful hand and complained! “Make it easier then” I said! So I think perhaps our joint voices HAVE made a difference Tamara!


  3. […] to remove the need to provide signatories certified by the bank at application stage (see blog Favourite funding sources – update: Awards for All simplifies! for details).  I’d lobby Communitybuilders to change their procedures, but it’s just not worth […]


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