The Christchurch Angels project trains volunteers to provide short-term befriending support to older people. The grant contributed to the costs of a part-time volunteer coordinator and training and travel expenses for volunteers.
What were your steps to success?
- We had received a grant previously from DCCF to develop our Support Services Directory and part of this work was about identifying where there were gaps in local support for older people. We held events attended by local charities, community organisations, carers and patients and we identified the need for the short term befriending service.
- The project had been initiated by the Practice Manager at Stour Surgery in Christchurch who had worked closely with the Partnership on various projects. We recognised that we needed to become an entity or find an organisation to take on the Christchurch Angels project – we met with the Partnership trustees who were in agreement to take ownership of the project.
- We attended a workshop run by Dorset Community Action on potential sources of funding and attended local networking events where we found out about the Dorset County Council Fund.
- We learned from other organisations – the key to the success of our project was going to matching volunteers to people who needed support. We talked to other organisations about having a volunteer in the co-ordinator role, however, on their advice we included a part-time paid co-ordinator in the funding application to ensure we could have someone with the right skills and time commitment.
- We also made sure that we included volunteer induction and safeguarding training costs in our funding application.
- We contacted the Foundation’s Grants Manager for advice and guidance before we submitted the application – extremely helpful!
What learning would you like to pass on…
- The most difficult part of the process was the liaison with trustees to bring together the relevant documents needed for the application. Getting two signatures from the trustees on the application form involved a lot of running around from house to house! We have now made sure that we have all the essential information readily available for future grant applications.
- We misunderstood the information required with regard to Restricted, Free and Designated Reserves – make sure you are aware of these distinctions as the wrong information could mean that your application is ineligible or a lower priority for funding.
- An important source of information is the Service Directory on our website – it takes a lot of hard work to keep this up to date – bear in mind that you might need to factor in paid or unpaid website support as part of your ongoing running costs.
‘We learned from other organisations’.
We have been able to further develop this respected local project and received further funding. We have an annually updated Directory of Support Services and have been able to increase the number of volunteers.