This page is mostly my note file, but anyone interested can join in the game of multiplayer notepad. The page is organised in order of likely timeframes.
- 1 Blocking Tasks
- 2 General
- 3 Specific Major Items
- 4 The Unspecific Grant
- 5 Working Together Awards
- 6 The Lottery
- 7 CAS etc
- 8 Suffolk CF
- 9 Others
- 10 Irrelevant
Management level problems
You must have a recognised governing document e.g. Constitution, Memorandum
Percolating. It doesn't need to be 1000% perfect as it can be amended via management committee vote later.
You must be able to provide annual accounts for your organisation
Thankfully accountancy expenses are overheads too.
You must have a management committee with at least three members
Interestingly they don't specify Directors. One could argue the current setup already meets this criteria, but it's been on the cards to change for some time already. Realistically you'd want the directors as signatories so it makes sense to get them in line first.
Slightly less urgent
Extraction fan quotes. Needed because landlord is coughing up half the cash anyway, and frankly I've already hit this decade's asbestos quota.
Asset replacement / upgrade prioritising. We need to discuss what to actually replace versus upgrade versus authorised usage policy.
Form proposal. As the above are completed I can start crunching numbers. These block the lottery application in particular, the SCF grant is for prior spending which proves itself.
Lottery has no hard deadline but ideally soon. Certainly before the Working Together / CF grant pays us, if we succeed, as we don't want to be trying to ask for money with a huge lump sum sat in the coffers.
We do need to be careful not to crosslap grants, eg if two grants are ... granted, and both allow provision for roof overhaul, one or both may demand a refund of that part, whereas if one is for roof and the other 'maintenance', we then have money for the roof and say fixing the lift. The lottery in particular seem militant about this aspect! Once one grant has been approved and processed then the Wishlist will be updated and future applications use new source data.
In practice this means we need to be as nonspecific as we can get away with on any given grant application, to allow flexibility on what we spend it on. Especially problematic given that we have no idea when we'll hear back about any of these, and we can't stagger applications by up to three months, using the lottery timeframe as a basis.
Specific Major Items
We should get quotes for the roof, in terms of both free consultancy, and showing that we have done research & retrieved numbers. Some committees will prefer to tick a number next to a problem rather than think about material costs and whether we can do it ourselves.
The lift is a good example of this. It's probably not something we can repair, and getting a number to it would be a good idea, especially as that could be covered by a number of possible grants. However I have absolutely no idea who we'd approach for quotes on that? I'm sure the landlord would be more than happy for us to do/arrange the repairs for him if we could, but would he potentially contribute, as with the ventilation?
The Unspecific Grant
We are assuming it needs to take the form of an email with summarised budget headings. If they ask for more information or breakdowns then it's easily providable, and at least then we'd know what they actually want from us. If someone PR minded could rewrite the summaries that would be helpful.
Workshop Tools and Equipment: £756.67
Essential tools to replace outdated or borrowed equipment with our own, and so forth.
Planer thicknesser and lathe forming vast majority (~£550) of total. Remainder vices, safety equipment, measuring tools, and suchlike.
Stretch Workshop T&E: £247.97
Very useful but not critical.
Offer up the cross vice and bobbin sander to the alter of corporate meddling? Lovely kit but we can survive without them for now. The other deferred items are duplicates (or close) to what I can lend.
Main Room Tools and Equipment: £525.60
Critical updates for the aged equipment at our soldering stations.
Costed from Rapid wishlist.
Stretch Main Room T&E: £83.80
Printer filament. Highly useful for creation of project enclosures and robot parts
Not much else we can 'stretch' for that's not critical. I do need 4mm MDF for the clock kit idea though, 3mm is too thin.
Maintenance and Improvement: £307.66
Wood for building shelves, double glazing for the workshop window.
Currently I'm assuming the perfectly costed Rafter Shelves (£221.74), and window double glazing (£85.92).
Stretch: Essential Materials: £79.58
Misc consumables such as nails, screws, etc
A chunk of the consumables section (shrapnel & components (£79.58), but exactly which of the consumables is irrelevant currently.
Total without stretch: £1,589.79 Stretch total: £411.35 Total including stretch: £2,001.28
Can we think of anything better than 'main room' ? 'Main workroom' and 'wood workshop' maybe? Preferably something that sounds industrious.
ALL PIGS ARE FED AND READY TO FLY
Working Together Awards
Highly notable as it pays retrospectively. If (as with the lottery) the Space itself is the 'project', suddenly everything including overheads is repayable - over the last year, that's nearly £10,000, which happily enough, is what they pay up to.
The fund aims to support “working together” initiatives, it would be expected that there is a large element of “roll your sleeves up” approach as well as some joint working with other organisations who are not normally seen as partners. It will fund projects that have been completed in the last year or where the majority of the delivery has taken place. It can be existing work but looks for real collaboration and a high level of community and volunteer input. You will need to demonstrate clearly what outcomes have been achieved and how these have been enhanced by your working together. Examples of previous winners: Middleton Recreation Ground Trust – creating a positive amenity for the residents of the village and surrounding area. They worked with the sports users and local volunteers to pull down a small shed and build a pavilion to be used by sports groups for changing and providing refreshments. Hundon Hedgehogs Pre-School – a group of parents, volunteers and staff worked over the school holidays to turn a storage cupboard and committee room and outside space into a thriving pre-school area enabling an increase in provision from 15 to 50 hours per week.
The wishlist isn't applicable to this one; it's self-proving as it's retrospective.
Deadline is the 2nd of March but we really want to be in there before that.
Applied for, awaiting news
There is quite a lot of red tape devoted to outlining what 'Need' is being met, then how it manifests as a Problem which the Project then solves, and what metrics/statistics can back this up and demonstrate success. I personally find this sort of exercise very hard to get my head around, so input from others would be very useful here. To me it's self evident that if a roof leaks, it needs fixing; writing an essay on 'the social impact of not being wet' is meaningless. I think once all else is ready we need to have a brainstorming session to hash this out.
There are also requirements for community involvement, so demonstrating this is also essential, and for smaller projects they seem to accept variations on 'we spoke to our members'. Being what we are this is a paperwork exercise only, we should be able to demonstrate this easily enough. It seems a lot of the guidance doesn't differentiate between large and small projects, which is unhelpful to say the least, and we also have a limited word count to fit basically everything into.
About the process
Most of the really good lottery grants are Scotland specific, but Awards for All is UK wide and a viable option. Base success rate is 65% for applications under £5k, but considering their application volume and that our application is entirely within their stated goals, I have high hopes of success, so the issue becomes demonstrating that to their satisfaction in a small volume of words.
Apparently they use a point system internally. This page, while energy specific, shines light on their process near the end of the document; https://www.cse.org.uk/thesource/download/advice-on-making-an-application-for-a-community-based-energy-project-to-awards-for-all-340
More on what they look for: http://www.biglotteryfund.org.uk/er_eval_explaining_the_difference.pdf
Useful reading on the process: https://knowhownonprofit.org/how-to/how-to--guide <-- very handy
https://bigblogscotland.org.uk/2017/11/28/success-rates-autumn-2017/ (Scotland seem a lot more open about their info)
https://bigblogscotland.org.uk/2017/10/23/applying-for-funding-the-ultimate-guide/ (Scotland again, but same principles apply)
Core tangible requirements for lottery funding: https://bigblogscotland.org.uk/2015/07/15/getting-your-group-ready-to-apply/
Intangibles are the problem. Mostly need to demonstrate need, emphasise the problems solved, community planning and involvement, and such.
If needed we can also demonstrate 'match funding' by using volunteer time, which we have in spades, and provision / procurement of articles.
We can also phone or email them for advice pre-application, since they're the experts, free advice! Email turnaround is 'up to ten days'. Phone might be better...
The initial funding application has 10 budget sections, which we should utilise as best we can. Exact figures show thought and calculation, so we want to avoid round numbers - this is one of their criteria; planning, not guesswork!
The Makerspace itself can be considered the project, which is something to aim for, as that would make all of our overheads incurred costs and then potentially payable.
Initial thoughts for categories:
Workshop Equipment Tools and PPE Electronics Equipment Main Room Essentials (carpet, lighting) Workshop Roof Materials (membrane, wood, insulation. could make this an umbrella and cover ventilation too?)
Dust Filtration (maybe air filtration?) There's a £3/400 unit on the wishlist that would work wonders. Supplies and Consumables (whatever we can justify as 'house kit'. Core essential supplies seem well within their remit - eg 'stationery' is fine. We do not want to provide or house endless stockpiles, but core consumables are currently running directly from Steve's supply, which isn't ideal for anybody named Steve. The flexibility and negotiability of this is also a useful accountancy and committee-wrangling feature) Other Construction Materials (ply, wood. initial thoughts are for rafter shelves, but leaving it ambiguous is preferable) Kitchen Equipment
In the future, the lottery Communities grants seem to be under applied for; look at the Scotland statistics on that, 100% success rate as a result! Our version of that is currently offline until April but it looks like we again meet core criteria. This one is £10K plus however, so probably not too useful until we need to annex naughty sheep. https://www.biglotteryfund.org.uk/funding/programmes/reaching-communities-england - we should keep an eye on it, especially if we've been previously accepted for A4A as that would give us a major points boost.
Italic numbers are almost completely invented.
Main room electronics bays - we should have two left to kit out fully. £5-600
Continuing the objectives of the previous grant, we need to expand the workshop capabilites. The first is on course for two bits of major hardware and some misc tools. We need to work out what core tools we need, and provide our own toolkit for this purpose. £100-250
Power tools - what balance of expansion versus replacement? £2,000
Ventilation fan(s) - we may need an intake too due to the gas heating. £500
Dust filtration unit £400
Oven fitting. If this is already completed then the cost cannot be reclaimed.
Lighting in the main room. Answers on a postcard please.
Overheads. £5,000 or as needed to fill numbers.
We could almost fill the grant with overhead costs, but then we wouldn't directly expand our abilities, and would have trouble making it look good on paper. A contribution to overhead costs would make us sustainable via member funding, and put us in the black with some 'excess' member funds. We could then spend those as needed rather than rely on donations of almost everything required to sustain us, from binbags to hoovers. There is a secondary consideration that if the grant exists purely as a cash lump sum for what are annual expenses, then suddenly we look highly solvent and less likely to receive future grants, whereas if it is directly invested into assets and monthlies are paid from membership fees, that problem is avoided. Tl:dr; suits can't count, asset rich >>> cash rich
Current total: £8,000-£9,250
I'd like to earmark about £250 for small craft tools, eg scalpels, leatherworking kit, wire forming pliers, clay/wax sculpting tools, etc. Not a priority but it'll allow a range of less industrial craft, front-room friendly; currently we're Soldering and Sawing, Incorporated.
We can consider a major front-end bit of kit, eg a really nice 3d printer or a laser cutter. It would probably detract from the overhead payment part of the grant, but we should be on course for being self-sustaining from member dues after all this has gone through. Alternately we could wait until April and shoot for all this and overheads, under the 10K+ community grant category. Criteria are harsher, but success rates look higher as a result of diminished applications.
( from https://bigblogscotland.org.uk/2014/02/14/5-ways-to-make-us-love-your-application/ - again the Scotland blog is a goldmine.)
1. Focus on how you’ll spend this grant (not just on your group’s history, or your current work) It’s useful to give a short summary of what your group does at the start of your application. However, most of the form should be used to discuss what you will actually spend this specific grant on! We get a lot of applications that don’t do this. Instead they give us extensive information on the organisation’s history and general activities. But we mostly need to know what you will spend the grant on, why you want to do this, and what impact this will have. 2. Tell us how you know the community wants this We also get a lot of applications for projects that sound great, but where it’s not clear if they are a priority for the local community or the people involved. The best applications provide a range evidence that the local community or users of the project have had their say, and evidence of how this has been used to develop the idea to meet their needs. Some groups tell us about focus groups they’ve run, community consultation events or surveys. But sometimes its as simple as telling us that you’ve had a chat about the project with the people who are likely to be involved or affected, and used their view and suggestions to develop your plans.
https://www.communityactionsuffolk.org.uk/support/your-organisation/funding/ We should see what this can offer (our area officer is Jayne). If someone chases this let me know, I'll get to it when I can otherwise. Update: I've emailed a general query. Awaiting response. Update update: 'look at the CAS site' (which they haven't sent me the credentials for). Apparently as we're not also a registered charity we're assumed to be self funding and likely not worth awards. Little more was said so I have no idea what these officers actually do to earn their keep.
Having read your email, I would suggest that you wait until you receive your Funding Portal login details, as you will be able to undertake a thorough search based on your specifics. However, I am a little unclear as to whether you could be deemed charitable? You state you are a Company Limited by Guarantee, but are you also registered as a charity? If this is not the case, then this is fine, but you may find you struggle to get funding; it will be assumed that you will trade in order to get funding. With regards to the Working Together Awards from the Suffolk Community Foundation, this is funding which recognises positive collaborative work- often retrospectively. Again, as there doesn’t seem to be a charitable element (?) then this may not be applicable either. You are more than welcome to contact them further to get confirmation.
Insert shortlist here.
http://suffolkcf.org.uk/grant-making-guidelines/ <-- we need dual signatories on withdrawals to get any of these
Company formation date is more than 18 months ago, so we are ineligible. This is perhaps not actually a bad thing, I wasn't looking forwards to an endless obligation to Walmart's PR efforts.