A new approach to funding with Helping Working Families

The National Lottery Community 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 National Lottery Community 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.”

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.

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