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Big Lottery Fund – Helping Working Families

The Big Lottery Fund in Wales has launched Helping Working Families, offering grants up to £500,000 over four years for projects working with families affected by ‘in-work’ poverty to improve their lives.

More or less what you would expect from the Fund? But something is different as Andy Brown, Funding Manager for Helping Working Families at the Big Lottery Fund told us:

“Funding the development phase of a project is a departure for us. Increasingly we have been asking organisations applying to our grant schemes to show how they are putting the people who will benefit in the lead when developing the project. We have been listening to feedback about how best we can help organisations and this programme offers a way for us to do that. We hope that organisations will embrace this opportunity and make an application to us.”

In fact the application process is very different from usual. Instead of describing what the project will deliver, part of the grant will be used to fund a development phase where the organisations and the beneficiaries decide what they want the project to deliver. This approach means that projects will not be able to describe in detail what they intend to do when they make the initial application, as this will not be clear until after the first phase has produced a project plan.. Andy explained:

“We know this is a higher risk strategy for us but we want to show that we are serious about putting people in the lead and funding development work involving the people who will benefit from the project is a big step in that direction. We want organisations to make the leap and really listen to what the families want and need.  We will be assessing applications partly on how effective proposals are likely to be in engaging with working families during the first year of the project.”

Some applicants have said that it would be useful to meet each other with a view to finding better ways of working and the Big Lottery Fund have organised two opportunities to do just that at their offices in Newtown and Cardiff towards the end of February. If you are interested in coming along to either of these, please contact Jo Maurice at the Big Lottery Fund – joanna.maurice@biglotteryfund.org.uk or 0300 123 0735.

The Helping Working Families initiative comes from the recognition that even though they are in work, there are a growing number of people in Wales affected by poverty. Successful applicants will be expected to target households where at least one person has a full or part time job or is self-employed and supporting at least one child under 18.

The closing date for applications is 15 March 2018 and further detail is available at: www.biglotteryfund.org.uk/helping-working-families

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