We are enormously grateful to the Big Lottery Big Build Fund for the £537,000 they granted us for Bawdeswell’s new Village Hall. We heard in late February 2014 that we had been awarded £500,000 and the later grant of £37,000 came in June 2014
Without these grants the Charity would never have been in a position to build a new hall for Bawdeswell. We are grateful too for other grants received which are referred to elsewhere on the website but in this section we are only dealing with the Lottery experience.
Seeking funding from the Big Lottery starts as a daunting undertaking. One begins with the belief that, if others have done it, then so can we – we hope! When the Big Build Fund was launched in December 2010 we were very excited but our hopes were soon dashed as the fund was postcode specific and ours was not eligible!
A year later our postcode became eligible and in February 2012 the decision was taken to apply for a grant and a sub-committee was set up to meet the Lottery’s application requirements. Unfortunately because the community surveys had taken place more than 2 years previously the first thing we needed to do was re-survey the village. This took place in April/May 2012 and involved the committee in delivering, cajoling and collecting completed forms. Many hours work.
Based on the needs of the community ascertained from the survey responses, we completed our first Stage 1 Application “The Outline Proposal”. By this point we had “got the message” that the Lottery does not fund buildings but only outcomes. We had to write four outcomes that had been identified by villagers as needed to improve their lives. Writing those four short paragraphs in the prescribed way seemed one of the hardest things we faced. In September 2012 we heard that our application had been refused. What a blow that was. However, after a few weeks of reflection and a telephone interview with the relevant Lottery Officer, we set about completing a further application, and in December 2012 heard we had been successful at Stage 1. A great boost for the year end!
A Lottery Officer was assigned to us at this point and from then onwards we have received a lot of help and support from Big Lottery staff who, we felt, wanted us to succeed. Weekly meetings of the sub-committee with lots of homework followed for the 3 months we were given to complete the Stage 2 application and in early April 2013 it was lodged. The Lottery allow up to 4 months to review applications and in that time they rang and questioned us and were sent further back-up documentation. During this period, in May 2013, we had a visit from one officer whose interest was the site and building and our ability to manage a £600,000+ project. He gave us lots of information on checking the financial stability and credentials of contractors and made us aware of other pitfalls. In July we heard we had been successful at Stage 2! Another step closer but still more hurdles to jump.
For the stage 3 application the allowed time is 6 months, so in August 2013 the weekly sub-committee meetings began again. Two main documents are required for this stage, a Business Plan and a Capital Project Delivery Plan, both rather daunting to produce! The questions we had had to research and answer for Stage 2 gave us the basis for writing our own Business Plan which, in effect, was stating how we were going to deliver and manage: the building, our stated Outcomes and the activities to meet those outcomes identified by the needs of the community.
The Capital Project Delivery Plan covers the construction of the building and the necessary capital finances, and proof that the activities will make the future running of the building financially viable. Without a person with construction experience and another with a high level of financial acumen, professionals would have had to be employed to produce this document. This village has been extremely lucky to have two retirees with the necessary skills and commitment to the project to produce this document which took an enormous amount of their time.
Stage 3 was despatched in December 2013. The response time for stage 3 is given as 3 months. In early February 2014 we were visited and interviewed by 2 Lottery officers and later that month heard we had been successful, but we weren’t allowed to tell anyone for a month!! In a way that gave us a bit of respite but once the news was out it was full steam ahead to meet the 6 month deadline for work to start, which we just managed, inspite of the bats!! But they are another story…