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Our top 3 tips for school-based projects

September 11, 2020

With schools in Wales now welcoming pupils back for the first time in months, we’re expecting a rise in applications for school projects and equipment.

We can fund both schools themselves, and charity groups doing work in schools – mainly through our National Lottery Awards for All Wales fund. We’ve funded lots of fantastic school-based projects over the years!

Unfortunately though, many of the more recent applications we’ve received are for things we can’t fund.

With that in mind, here’s our top three tips if you are applying for funding to do work in a school:

1. Steer clear of teaching time

We can’t fund school-based activities during teaching time. This is the case whether you are a school applying for a grant, or a charity applying to run some activities for pupils in a school. Even if the activities are quite different from normal lessons, we can’t fund them if they will replace teaching activity.

Before school and after school are fine, as are break times and lunchtime.

If there’s no other time the activities could happen it’s best to speak to us before applying, and we’ll chat about what we can and can’t help with.

2. Avoid applying for equipment that could be used in school teaching time

This is a common request, but isn’t really something we can fund. For example, we are unlikely to fund sports equipment that could be used in P.E. lessons or computers for IT classes. This is the case even if the equipment will also sometimes be used outside of school hours.

We understand that COVID-19 social distancing rules mean many schools want to install outdoor teaching areas to ease the pressure on classrooms. Unfortunately, this isn’t something we can fund. We aren’t allowed to fund equipment that will mostly be used for teaching the school curriculum, even in these difficult circumstances.

3. Make sure to involve the wider community

The main point here for schools is this: we are unlikely to fund work that only, or mainly, benefits school pupils or staff.

We look for wider community involvement in both planning and delivery of any work we fund – in schools or otherwise. You can read more about what this means on this blog, and a bit about what this means specifically for schools here.

For us, the best examples of this are when you have asked your community ‘what would you like to do?’ rather than ‘do you support this idea we’ve already come up with?’ or ‘would you like to do this free activity we have arranged?’

Some examples

Here are some examples of things we couldn’t fund, based on some recent applications:

  • Stationery supplies for children returning to school
  • Installation of outdoor classroom to allow lessons in the playground
  • iPads for pupils to allow them to do lessons from home online

We also receive many applications for improvements to school grounds for the sole benefit of pupils, which is something we are less likely to fund.

So what can we fund?

I’m happy to say that there are also lots of things we could consider funding as well!

If it’s happening outside of school teaching time, is wanted by and involves people from the wider community, then we would consider it. For example, we might fund things like an after-school drama production that is performed online for local care homes, or a food club where local people are invited to work alongside pupils to grow food on a community garden.

If in doubt, talk to us!

And finally, remember – we’re always happy to have a chat about your idea before you apply, so don’t hesitate to get in touch if you aren’t sure.

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