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Answers to your questions

November 27, 2020

 

 

Over the past few months we have been meeting with organisations who are providing support to community groups in Northern Ireland.  During our conversations it was interesting to hear that they get asked similar questions to us by groups seeking funding.

Here’s some of the common things we hear and answers to each of them:

Groups need to have their project idea finalised before speaking to us

This isn’t the case, we are happy to speak to you as soon as you have a project idea in mind that has come from your community, even if your idea is at a very early stage. 

We want your application to be as strong as it can be, so speak to us as early as you can so we can provide you with advice and support.

Groups need to be registered with the Charity Commission in order to apply

We can only consider applications from a community group if they have a governing document that has been adopted by the group.  A group does not need to have a charity registration number in order to apply.

If you are not sure, you are welcome to contact us and we will talk you through our requirements.

New groups can’t apply to The National Lottery Community Fund

This is not the case.  We welcome applications from new organisations.  As long as a group has a UK bank account and governing document in their legal name we are happy to chat to them about their project idea.

The National Lottery Awards for All programme is closed

This is not true.  As with all of our funding programmes, our ever popular small grants programme remains open and has not closed in Northern Ireland. Groups can still apply for funding of between £300-£10,000 online.  This programme has no deadlines and decisions are made on a regular basis.

If you have any questions that you would like us to answer or would like to chat about your project idea, get in touch by emailing enquiries.ni@tnlcommunityfund.org.uk or by calling 028 4378 0003

Be sure to follow us on social media to keep up to date. We regularly post on Facebook and Twitter.

 

North West Migrants Forum and Black History Month

October 30, 2020

Black History Month in the UK is a celebration of the history, achievements and contributions of Black people to the social, cultural, political and economic development of the UK. 

To get a sense of what Black History Month means to people working with National Lottery funded groups in Northern Ireland, we talked to some of the staff and volunteers at the North West Migrants Forum.

The Forum’s Communities United Promoting Inclusion and Diversity project received £500,000 of National Lottery funding to support people from minority ethnic communities to have an equal say in the services that are directed to them to help them improve their quality of life.  

The Forum develops leadership and capacity within the minority ethnic community and provide opportunities for them to play their role in advocating a safer and fairer and equal society.  

Lilian Senoi-Barr, founder of North West Migrants Forum.

Activities range from intercultural intergenerational workshop to English language lessons and Family Fun Days.

Forum founder Lilian Senoi-Barr and other members have shared what Black History Month means to them.

 “We decided to celebrate Black History Month this year because it allowed us to influence both the law makers of this country and the communities that we reside in to see black people as equal citizens in NI and beyond,” explained Lilian.

“Through things like steering groups, the Black community are involved at every level of the design and delivery of the Forum’s work”.

Volunteer Aderonke Ado-Imoisili, founder and chair of African women Organisation Northern Ireland, added: “Black History Month means a month of reflection, and is one of the most important celebrations of the year.

“It is the celebration of the great achievements, our history, our values and our uniqueness”.

Aderonke Ado-Imoisili

NWMF and AWONI have been working together since June 2020 to promote African women’s voices in Northern Ireland, a partnership Lilian says was made possible thanks to National Lottery funding.

Other volunteers believe that while a month of celebration works for some, promoting and celebrating black culture is important throughout the year.

Tshamano Mushapho, is a registered nurse from South Africa has lived and worked in Northern Ireland for 15 years.

He is the Forum’s health spokersperson and has been campaigning for recognition of overseas nursing qualifications .

This will help remove a barrier to career progression for people coming to Northern Ireland to work in the health service.

He says Black history should be celebrated “every day”.

Tshamano Mushapho

“I was Black yesterday, still Black today and I will be Black tomorrow ,” he added.

This year’s theme is celebrating black voices and to Lilian this means giving black voices a platform to be in leadership positions, to really use their skills and knowledge to share, to contribute to the development of Northern Ireland.

 “Here in Northern Ireland, we only tend to celebrate black voices through acts and cultural performances,” she explained.

“We do not recognise their leadership, their skill or contribution in leadership positions and that is why you don’t see any in leadership positions”.  

Lilian also says to look out for poets such as Deanna Rodgers, Eno Mofano, George the Poet and Nandi Jola, who is based here in Northern Ireland.

Despite the COVID-19 restrictions, North West Migrants forum are continuing to deliver their work both online and in person.

Once the restrictions are in the North West are relaxed, they’re keen for as many people to get involved as possible whether that be by dropping into the centre to take part in activities or just for a chat.

But until then, they’re running lots of activities online.

You can find the details on their website or by following them on social media.

If you’d like to learn more about Black History Month, check out the official website.

10 Ways To Give Your Application the Best Chance of Success

October 15, 2020

We receive applications for amazing projects every day but we aren’t able to fund them all.

Sometimes application forms we receive that aren’t fully completed or have incorrect data are considered incomplete and we can’t proceed with them.

To help you out, we’ve looked at some of the most common mistakes and come up with some advice on how to avoid them.  

  1. Be sure about what type of organisation your group is.

    Are you a voluntary organisation, a charity, a company or something else? simply an unregistered community/voluntary organisation, or a charity?
  2. These are legal terms and should be double checked before applying for funding.
  3. Make sure the organisation name on your application is the same as on your governing document.
  4. Applications need to have at least two people on their board or committee who aren’t married, in a long-term relationship, living together at the same address, or related by blood.
  5. Ensure your senior contact can be legally responsible for ensuring the application is supported by the organisation applying.

    They’ll be responsible for ensuring your project is delivered  will be delivered as you say it will.
  6. The main and senior contact need to be different people and they can’t be related.
  7. It may seem obvious, but make sure to fully complete the form. If there are incomplete details like home addresses or dates of birth for your contacts, it means we can’t fund you.
  8. If you are a company registered with Companies House, the senior contact needs to be registered as a Company Director or Company Secretary.
  9. If you are a registered charity, the senior contact needs to be listed as a trustee on the Charity Commission’s website.
  10. The name and address of your organisation needs to match what is registered at the Charity Commission or Companies House.
  11. The bank account name in your application needs to be the same as your organisation’s name as set out on your governing document.

Some more top tips:

  • Don’t forget, if your application is incomplete, then it can’t be assessed.
  • Make sure you thoroughly read through the funding programme information first to make sure your project idea meets the criteria. 
  • Double check you answer all the questions in the form – this is your chance to tell us about the work you do to support your community.
  • If you have a great idea for a project and think you might be eligible for funding, get in touch with us and tell us about it.

You can give our team a call on 028 4378 0003 or email us at enquiries.ni@tnlcommunityfund.org.uk.

Top tips for completing your application form

September 23, 2020

We try to make applying to us as simple and straightforward as possible. However, we do know that filling in application forms can be a daunting experience for many people.

So, we’ve developed the following tips and advice based on some of the most common mistakes people have made when applying.

What you need to do first

We can only proceed with an application if we have all the information. We regularly receive applications that don’t have all the information that we need.

So it’s really important to read through the funding programme information to make sure your project idea meets all the criteria.

Hints and tips

  1. Double check your organisation details
  • Make sure you tell us what type of organisation you are e.g. unregistered community/voluntary organisation, charity and so on. These are legal terms and should be checked before you apply.
  • If you have a registration number make sure you have it to hand before you apply.
  • The organisation name you use on your application form must be the same as on your governing document so please check this.
  • It’s really important that organisations that apply have at least two people on their board or committee who aren’t related.  By related we mean married, in a long-term relationship, living together at the same address, or related by blood.
  • If you are a registered charity or company, the name and address of your organisation must be the same as what is registered at the Charity Commission or Companies House.
  1. Make sure you use the right contact people.
  • The main and senior contacts must be different people and unrelated. We can’t proceed with your application if both contacts are the same person.
  • Your senior contact must be legally responsible for the application. This means that they need to ensure that the application is supported by the organisation applying, the funding will be delivered as intended and monitoring will be carried out as part of the project if we decide to fund it.
  • Make sure you give us correct and complete home addresses and dates of birth for all contacts.
  • If you are a company registered with Companies House, the senior contact also needs to be registered as a Company Director or Company Secretary.
  • If you are a registered charity, the senior contact needs to be listed as a trustee on the Charity Commission’s website.
  1. Make sure you attach any additional information requested with your application form
  • The bank account name must be the same as your organisation’s name as set out on your governing document.
  1. Get a critical friend

 

  • Double check you answered all the questions on the form – this is your chance to tell us about the work you do to support your community. Why not get someone to act as a critical friend and read over your application, particularly the finances section?

What’s next?

If you have a great idea for a project and think you might be eligible for funding, please see our website for more information.

We are happy to chat to you about your project ideas and are available to support you at every stage, even if you are just at the initial stage of developing your project idea.

Give our team a call on 028 4378 0003 or email us at enquiries.ni@tnlcommunityfund.org.uk should you have any questions about applying or want to chat through your application.

 

Top tips for virtual meetings

September 14, 2020

We want to hear from communities about their project ideas and, with the current government guidelines around social distancing, this will mean meeting and chatting online.

Hosting (or attending) a good virtual meet up isn’t always easy so we’ve put together some hints and tips to make sure you get the most out of them.

1.  Organise them well

Good organisation is the key to running effective virtual meetings. Here is a short list of things to get you started:

a)    Calendar appointments

Send out a calendar invite well in advance of the meeting and make sure your attendees confirm whether they can attend or not. This will help everyone to plan ahead. Make sure to add the meeting details and main talking points to your calendar content.

b)    Have a notification system

Set up your calendar invite to make sure everyone involved receive a notification at least 15 minutes before the meeting.

Like when meeting Face to Face; not showing up, being late, or showing up unprepared are sure fire ways to get meetings off to a bad start.

c)  Structure your meeting

Structure your meeting clearly. This way everyone will know where exactly their question or comment belongs. An easy way to keep regular meetings organised is having a consistent structure.

If it’s a one-time meeting, make sure all participants have the agenda beforehand.

2.  Focus on what’s important

Every meeting should have a clear objective. Remember that you are taking up everyone’s valuable time. Asking participants to stay and listen to minor issues that don’t affect them is not an efficient way to run a meeting. 

3.  Adopt a video-on policy

a)    Communication is more effective when non-verbal clues are involved. Of course, what you’re saying is very important, but how you’re saying it is also valuable.

b)    Put a face to your voice

Humans respond well to faces. Facial expressions humanise your virtual meetings so using video in your virtual meetings is a must. 

c)  Don’t multitask

Research shows that multitasking harms your performance so really try to stay focused on the meeting at hand.

d)    A video chat should be treated the same as a face to face meet up. Always look directly at your camera when chatting to your audience.

4.  Acknowledge everyone in the virtual room

Even if you meet regularly, it’s crucial that you, as a host, acknowledge everyone who is present at the meeting. Be sure to take the time at the beginning of the meeting to introduce everyone on the call. 

5.  Share the mic

There should always be one person coordinating the meeting, however, all participants should have the opportunity to offer their input. 

Do not allow your meeting to be dominated by the more extrovert individuals, allow the quieter members their screen time too. 

Here are a few ways to try involve more introverted attendees during a virtual meeting:

●     Ask their opinion on specific tasks/aspects
●     Ask for quick updates
●     Ask if they have anything to add
●     Ask them if they have any questions

6.  Keep them short & sweet

If possible, keep your meetings between 15 to 45 minutes so everyone stays focused and makes optimum use of the time.

7.  Agree on the next steps

All action points must be written down, deadlines agreed upon and tasks distributed amongst all attendees. Always reserve 5-10 minutes for wrapping-up your conversation. Determine if and when a follow-up meeting should be planned.

If you have any tips of your own, make sure to share them with us on Facebook  – @TNLCommunityFundNorthernIreland – or on Twitter – @tnlcomfundni