Earlier this year we made two seperate applications to different rounds of the Social Enterprise Investment Fund. This was money for capital grants to social enterprises and charities from the Department of Health which was managed on their behalf by the Social Investment Business. When we saw the criteria for applications they seemed too good to be true and so timely for the WEYES building project. Writing the applications was time consuming but we got them in on time but then heard nothing.
The orginal specification said decisions would be made by the end of March, as that point came near we phoned the Social Investment Business who said there had been a lot of applications which were taking longer than anticipated to process so the timescale for decisions would be extended. However the person did say that if we had not already been contacted by an assessor it was unlikely that our application would progress any further. This week we received a letter to say we had indeed been unsuccessful. The frustrating thing is that no feed back was offered so we don't know where we went wrong.
By chance there was an opportunity to meet an adviser for the Social Investment Business this week and naturally we took the chance to ask what had happened. It seems the Social Investment Business normally deals with loans not grants and had been overwhelmed by the number of applications so most likely there had simply been too many. That is a reason of sorts but still does not provide any opportunity for us to learn how we might improve our chances of being successful in the future. It was no fault of the adviser that she expected to talk to us (and others) about loans but found herself answering the same point about the SEIF grant to several people.
We are continuing to make applications to Charitable Trusts for capital grants and have quite a few being considered at the present with more being prepared. I hope we will be more successful with them.