52 Things - Number 8: Apply for an Awards For All grant to do good things

Overview and Background:

Applying for an Awards for All (A4A) grant is a straightforward and easy way of reinvigorating your community, funding a new project, and engaging with volunteers, ideas and knowledge on a local level. A4A is known for being user-friendly and is inspirational for kick-starting communities.

The approach: 

One example of this is at Pannal village near Harrogate, where volunteers have successfully applied and been granted £6,000 through the scheme to carry out a Community Led Plan (CLP). The purpose of the plan is to capture the views of the local village, find out what people do and don’t like, what they’d like to see in future, and how the usage of the village hall can be improved for the benefit of everybody.

Pannal Village Society chose to apply for the grant because the work involved in the Plan would be quite intense, with the carrying out of a community-wide survey, heavy planning and preparation, printing and distribution, and also the eventual launch of the initiative. The Plan had to be self-funding and a grant seemed to be the best way to achieve this.

Robin Barlow, of the village society in Pannal, is frank about the work involved in preparing to submit the grant. In this case, because they would be producing a CLP, it was necessary to produce a body of supporting evidence and a steering group was established of 7 volunteers, including representation from Pannal Village Hall. Armed with this resulting evidence, a meaningful application could be prepared to the Lottery, but this was no easy feat and involved a significant amount of voluntary time.

Help was available from organisations such as RAY, who specialise in CLPs and can provide support and guidance throughout the process. RAY also attended a focus meeting with local groups and organisations, which Robin says “gave a measure of credibility to the whole project.”

“Without the Awards for All grant, the project would have been abandoned. We recommend applying to the fund, but you need to make sure there is clear evidence of need for what you are applying for, and support from the local community to carry it through to completion,” says Robin.

The outcome: 

Pannal are still in the process of producing their Plan, having been accepted by the scheme and awarded the funds. This will take them to Autumn 2015 when they hope to launch the Plan. In the long run, this should enable Pannal to improve the quality of life for residents in the area; it will encourage the sustainability of services and the village hall, improve the facilities on offer and ensure that all views and opinions across the area are considered.

“It is too soon to judge the success of the Plan, but there is no doubt that the Awards for All grant has enabled the whole process to be undertaken with a reasonable chance of success.”