Schools across Wales are at the heart of their communities and have the potential to play a much larger role in the daily lives of the community where the school is based, beyond education in the classroom. We know that schools and Parent Teacher Associations (PTAs) are always looking for new ways to raise money and we receive many applications for grants from our National Lottery Awards for All programme.
Open to everyone
The strongest applications – and the ones more likely to be successful – show that they are applying for something the local community wants, which will bring wider benefits. We can only fund activities which are available to the wider community that the school sits within. Activities should take place out of school hours, in school holidays, and before or after school but importantly must also be available to the whole community and allow other children or families from across the area to join in the activities, not just the applying school’s pupils. As an example, if your community has come up with an idea for new play facilities, outdoor shelters or holiday clubs, then make sure these can be used by as many people as possible, as often as possible.
Successful applications will be able to show how the wider community has been involved in deciding what to apply for and how they will be involved in delivering it, there are more suggestions later in this blog on how to organise that. We are interested in
- how many people you spoke to
- what questions you asked
- and what came out of your conversations
so please include these details in your application.
The role of the Parent Teacher Association (PTA)
Many PTAs are tasked with fundraising for their schools, but this poses some challenges when applying for one of our grants. We can only accept applications from the organisation which will deliver the grant and usually this is not the PTA. This means that the PTA could support the application by, for example, engaging with the community, to ensure they are involved in the project. If the project is for the installation of equipment for example, the application should come from the school rather than the PTA, although the application should include the engagement work which the PTA had done. This is because only the school can give permission for the wider community to access the grounds, or for construction to take place.
Not for the Curriculum
The National Lottery Community Fund strives to build stronger, more resilient communities in Wales and works together with other funders to ensure that we make the most effective use of our funding. As a result, we cannot fund anything directly relating to the school curriculum i.e. textbooks, art supplies etc. as these are the responsibility of the Local Authority.
Show how you meet our priorities?
National Lottery Awards for All offers funding from £300 to £10,000 to support what matters to people and communities. Think carefully about what your activity will be achieving and how this will meet at least one of our three funding priorities – you must be able to tell us in your application, how your project or activity will:
- bring people together and build strong relationships in and across communities
- improve the places and spaces that matter to communities
- enable more people to fulfil their potential by working to address issues at the earliest possible stage.
Ask what’s important to your community?
The best way to ensure that the grant makes a lasting difference is to build on the enthusiasm and passion that your community has for the project. We want to know that you have spoken to your community, both within and outside the school, to find out their ideas and what’s most important to them. We want the whole community to be meaningfully involved at all stages of the project including the design, development and delivery of your project. Consider asking the pupils and members of similar groups in the area, for example other schools or youth groups, what they would like from the project as well as the community at large. You could do this through questionnaires with open questions, by holding coffee mornings or drop ins, speaking to people at a community event, or asking for their opinions using social media. You could use one or a combination of these methods depending on the audience you are trying to reach.
Over £100,000 has been awarded to schools in Wales over the last 12 months for everything from outdoor adventure trails to community events and the programme remains open to schools. For further details about applying to National Lottery Awards for All visit our website.