Thursday, 11 February 2010

Government grants

A few weeks ago I mentioned we had applied to Government for a grant under the Social Enterprise Investment Fund which is Department of Health capital funding for social enterprises and voluntary organisations who deliver services that contribute to the health and wellbeing of communities. The DoH realised some years ago that prevention of poor health is far better (and cheaper) than looking after sick people; and also that the work voluntary organisations, community groups and social enterprises do in communities contributes significantly to the general health and well being of people, which in turn prevents poor health. All well and good and a perfect fit for the WEYES project.

No sooner had we submitted an application by the closing date, than the DoH announced an almost identical opportunity again for capital grants from the Social Enterprise Investment Fund. This time you can apply for between £150,000 and £400,000 which has to be drawn down almost immediately. The application form was slightly different, it asked more detailed questions about purchase of property, planning permission, architect's drawing etc. Once again we think our circumstances - having already bought the WEYES building, obtained planning permission, commissioned architect's drawings (and even starting the work) ideally fit the fund requirements. But we can't quite believe it and it seems unlikely to us that many organisations are in a similar situation to apply.

When we spoke to the fund managers they suggested we apply again and just note on the application that we had already replied to the previous round. They were not able to tell us the progress of the first application nor when they would be able to give us a response. It's rather like entering a looking glass world, all we can do is hope.

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