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Management of the fund
This module covers:
- The decisions to make in setting up your application and funding process.
- How people will access the funds
Once you have confirmed the payment details for the development, you are ready to focus more on the internal workings of your fund such as drawdown and procedure; ensuring you have a system that works well for your community and your specific situation.
Who should decide the fund spend
As discussed in Module 6, you will probably look at setting up a panel to assess spend for the fund. In most cases, this group will simply be assessing incoming applications, and will not be actively encouraging submissions.
Applicants to the fund
There are a range of options available to you. In some cases the developer may stipulate certain details of the fund. Be sure to address points such as:
- Do you want to have limitations on who is eligible to apply for the fund? This may be related to the size of the fund – if you have a small fund you may wish to limit applications to community groups and not individuals or businesses.
- Do you want to only support match-funded projects? If you think you may have a large number of applicants and comparatively little funding, this may be a good way of limiting applicants.
- Do you want to support a certain sector of the community, i.e. youth groups or the elderly?
Many of these decisions are subjective and are up to you, the community to decide. To ensure transparency your community should base its decisions on community consultation and development plan, as discussed in Module 2. Minute the meeting when decisions are made so you are able to refer back to why certain decisions were made.
Based on your development plan the decisions you have made on who you want to target the funding at, you can now develop eligibility criteria. Clear eligibility criteria will allow easy screening of ideas and a streamlined assessment process.
- Geographical location
- Complexity of the project
- The evidence of need for the project
After confirming the payment details, look at how realistic your development plan now is. Do you have a lot of money in comparison to longterm plans? Remember that the funds could be coming for twenty-five years so it is vital that you have good long-term plans and will not run out of ideas after a handful of payments.
How will you enforce your guidelines? Will you have terms and conditions that must be adhered to? This will be partially affected by the structure of your community group – ensure you are clear on what the official requirements are. If there are not any, then consider how you are going to enforce them yourself.
Some groups draw boundaries quite narrowly initially, but then find they are constrained from undertaking more ambitious projects in the medium term as a result, once they have built capacity. Therefore, it is important to review the continuing relevant of the development plan, and operation of the fund at regular intervals (i.e. 3-5 years), and build in flexibility to change as part of agreement with developers.
Consider how often your groups will meet. For example, often the community body will encourage applications from the wider community on an on-going basis. These applications are submitted to the panel group who will then meet, perhaps quarterly, or monthly (whatever is practical) and decide whether to award the grants.
Note that if you have an external body administering the money, or if the developer is involved, or the local authority, you may still be able to put forward several community members for the assessment panel. And ultimately, remember that there are no hard and fast rules – if you think you have a better way of running the process than the developer suggests, there is no reason why you can’t suggest it.
How will projects apply for grants?
Will you have an application form for people to fill in and send to the panel?
Have a look at some other grant application forms to get an idea of the questions you should be asking. It is important that when creating grant application forms, you consider the aims of your development plan, as successful grant applications must fit with your aims and objectives.
You may find that many applicants do not initially meet your criteria, but have the potential to do so. It may be possible to provide support in a way which allows their ideas to be developed into eligible proposals.
This support could be in the form of written guidance, or a dedicated grants officer helping to develop project ideas. This depends on the level of funds you have available and how many eligible grant applicants you foresee receiving.
Strathnairn Community Benefit Fund have split their grant applications into several different categories:
RES have an online application form for their Kelburn windfarm fund:
http://www.kelburnwindfarm.co.uk/media/98718 8/kelburn-wind-farm-community-fund-forminteractive. pdf
Foundation Scotland administer several different funds, for example see the application process for the Scottish Hydro Griffin Community Fund here: