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How to Get a Grant
By John Farley

August 1994

I was asked to give a brief explanation on how to obtain a grant. Here is one Diving Club's experience of a grant application to the Foundation For Sport and the Arts. In this case for a diving boat (RIB).

Towards the spring of 1993 Diver mag ran a small piece in the News section about the Foundation For Sport and the Arts. I saw this and thought given the recession there would be a fat chance of us getting a grant.

About 5 months later I began to see other pieces in the news section about clubs receiving grants for equipment. So I phoned the number given for the Foundation (0151 524 0235/6) and asked for a application form.

A day latter I had the form and quite a lot of other documentation about applying for a grant. The highlights of this are:

  1. Foundation gets its money (approx £1.2 million per week) from Pools companies (Littlewoods, Vernons etc) as a result of a Government tax incentive.
  2. Foundation gets on average 500 applications a week and even £60+ million a year does not cover this.
  3. Grants are given in amounts up to £250,000. This sum is rare though.
  4. Applications are done on a single written application. No face to face meetings or interviews are required.
  5. The guidelines give other details on the type of project the foundation likes to support. Its worthwhile writing your application with this information in mind.

Well armed with this information at the following Club committee meeting I raised the subject (being the chairman I find doing this easy :-)).
Guess what, everyone seemed quite keen on the idea. After a very brief discussion on getting various bits of kit we decided you don't get this opportunity often, so we went for it, a new RIB.

We wrote our application (note point 5 above), it did make cringeable reading, but it was truthful (Honest Guv!!). Along with our financial statement and a quotation for the RIB we wanted (Osprey 6.25M RIB with all the gadgets radio/sounder/GPS) off the application went. We were asking for £15,000 but didn't rate our chances. This was in November 1993.

A week or so latter I received an acknowledgement letter. This also stated the 5 stage process for the application.

  1. Acknowledgement.
    (This letter.)
  2. Comments from outside sources.
    (In BS-AC club cases this is from BS-AC HQ who I am told will give a favorable response.)
  3. Working Parties study the application and give a recommendation.
  4. Foundation trustees give individual opinions.
  5. Consensus view is formed from 4. Final Decision.

We were told that some at each stage some applications are rejected. At the end of December we notification we were in stage 2. In March 1994 we received notification that we were in 5 and that the trustees wished to make us a grant for the full amount when funds were available. We were rather pleased at this point if not a bit shell shocked. At the end of May we received a grant offer letter along with a document in "legalese" stating the conditions we had to agree to. This appears to be a standard document issued with all grants (remember the Foundation covers a vast number of pursuits).
We were given the contact name of a local Foundation representative (ours being about 150 miles away) who organizes the payment of the grant. Our Foundation representative just wanted a final copy of the quotation a and a copy of a letter from us to the supplier stating our intent to purchase. In the middle of June we received a cheque for £15,000 pounds.

In the middle of August 1994 we took delivery of a Osprey Viper 6.25M RIB with 115HP Suzuki and a 4HP Suzuki backup. We also had fitted an Lowance X25 sounder, Garmin 65 GPS and a Hummingbird VHF. The boat has a bottle rack and a double A frame with navigation lights. The boat comes on a braked Snipe trailer.

In conclusion all I can tell you is that this has been very easy and painless to achieve. We feel quite astounded by how easy. It has taken 10 months from application to delivery. Are we a one off? Or just lucky? I don't know. Give it a try and let me know. You don't get what you don't ask for. Here's that address and phone number:

The Foundation For Sport and the Arts
P.O. Box 20
L9 6EA
Telephone 051 524 0235/6
Fax 051 524 0285

John Farley
Chairman Ware BSAC
As the introduction of the national lottery has been moved around, the FSA have been left hanging wrt their grant schemes. They are no longer in a position to plan their spending, and are currently dealing with cases on a one by one basis as sufficient funding becomes available.

I gather they hope to be able to plan once more when the Lottery is up and running, but that ability depends on the organisation running the lottery as much as the FSA.

Wish us luck with our application!

Jason Shepherd (Chair, Edinburgh University SAC).

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