Don’t be afraid to contact a grant funding organisation

Firstly, let me just say that I don’t mean you should just pick up the phone and pester a potential grant funder with lots of random questions on the spur of the moment. But if you have carefully read the guidance materials on the website, looked at a few examples of projects that have been previously funded, you’ve have read the Frequently Asked Questions and still have a few genuine enquiries, then, by all means, if a telephone number is provided, give them a call, or drop them an email. I would suggest writing down two or three key things that you would like a little bit of further information about and make sure you are asking clear and specific questions.

Back in 2015, one of the schools I was working with had a couple of projects that they really needed help to fund. The first project was a Sensory Room to support the increasing Social, Emotional and Developmental needs of their pupils. They also wanted to provide some exciting climbing equipment out in the playground, which could really help to develop not only the gross and fine motor skills of children but also help them to learn how to work together, manage risk and encourage them out of their comfort zones.

After searching through a list of potential funders I came across ‘Wooden Spoon’ – the children’s charity of rugby. This organisation seemed like a perfect match in all ways – except one. Their mission is: ‘To positively transform the lives of children and young people with a disability or facing disadvantage, across the UK and Ireland through the power of rugby.’ This ticked many boxes for us (not least the reference to rugby, as I am a former rugby league development officer), but as I looked through the many previous projects they had funded, the majority seemed to be for Special Schools – and my client was a mainstream primary school.

I decided I had nothing to lose, so I picked up the telephone and spoke to someone from the charity about the project.

I explained the circumstances of the school, that although a mainstream primary, the school served a community that was economically disadvantaged. Many of the pupils at the school did have social and emotional needs and that some pupils had quite profound disabilities. Those children were being transported to a special school several miles away to access more specialist facilities, and this took a huge chunk of time out of their schooling.

I asked if it was worth submitting an application for one of the projects, as I didn’t want to waste my time, or theirs, by submitting an application that simply wasn’t eligible for funding. The person I spoke to asked quite a few questions about the school, the pupils and the two potential projects and the benefits they would bring to the children.

We established that yes, we should indeed submit an application, and I was given some very useful information as to what to include. “So which of the two projects would be most likely to be successful, which is the best one to apply for?” I asked.

Imagine my surprise, when the reply was: “Both. Submit two separate applications but send them in together. At this stage we can’t make any promises, but I think both are very good potential projects.”

Wow! And to think I nearly didn’t bother submitting an application at all!

So, fast-forward to the 5th of April 2017. The school now has a superb sensory room, which is being well used by many of the pupils.

Representatives from the Wooden Spoon Charity, Earl Crabtree of Huddersfield Giants RLFC along with the Head Teacher and pupils of Christ Church Academy.

Representatives from the Wooden Spoon Charity, Earl Crabtree of Huddersfield Giants RLFC along with the Head Teacher and pupils of Christ Church Academy.

The sensory room has had a positive impact on pupils’ social and emotional well-being, their behaviour and their learning.

Out in the playground, a steady stream of excited children are clambering across the ‘Roktagon’, getting daily exercise (although to them it is just fun) developing motor skills, strength, agility and flexibility.

And the lesson… Always ask the question… don’t assume anything. The worst that can happen is you’ll receive a “No,” but that in itself will save you time, and will get you closer to the funder who will say “Yes, lets give it a go.”


Eorl Crabtree of Huddersfield Giants and England Rugby League trying out the Wooden Spoon Sensory Room

There’s a Giant on the Roktagon!


Click here for  further information about the ‘Wooden Spoon – the Children’s Charity of Rugby’

Click here for further information about ‘Roktagons’

Straight Forward Funding Newsletter

For grant funding information straight to your inbox, sign up here. Just enter your details below, and remember to verify your subscription!! It’s completely free, and you can unsubscribe at any time!