We provide financial assistance to registered charities and exempt bodies undertaking building projects less than £200,000 in the London area. Our donation is usually between £5,000 and £10,000. There are timing constraints. We receive many more applications than we can fund – it is therefore most unlikely that we will be able to assist with requests which do not match our criteria.
What is a building project?
Anything involving the use of builders. It can be a general refurbishment or a specific scheme. It might be a repair to a roof or windows. It could be the creation of a disabled access or the provision of new toilets. It could adapt or create a classroom or bedroom. It could extend a building or improve the landscaping. It could be the fulfilling of Health and Safety requirements or fire protection. It could just be a redecoration.
What isn’t a building project?
The purchase of equipment (although that might be an integral part of an overall scheme which we could partially fund). The purchase of a building or a site. The seed money needed to draw up neither plans, nor fees generally.
Why less than £200,000?
We have found that small building projects are unable to command the wealth of advice which can be sourced and afforded for large schemes. The Trustees have extensive experience in projects of this size and are thus frequently able to add value to our donation by proffering advice and making recommendations, both in the design and construction phases. We have found this welcomed by hard pressed internal administrators of charities. Furthermore applicants may not be able to recruit a team of fundraisers for small schemes, so raising monies to cover the mundane realities of maintaining and adapting buildings can be harder than for wholesale redevelopment.
What if a specific part of the scheme for which we are looking for financial assistance will cost less than £200,000, but the overall cost is greater?
We apply certain conditions to be fulfilled by the benefiting charity. Those conditions would not be fair if the scheme is much larger than £200,000, no matter that components can be identified. The exception is if the scheme is being progressed in genuinely independent phases over an extended period and the part requiring funding meets our criteria.
This is partly because the Settlors of the Foundation had strong connections to London, but mostly because we typically assist with up to sixty schemes at a time. Each requires no less than two visits, some as many as four. By ensuring they are fairly close to our offices we are able to accommodate these visits. We can thus check our funds are being used properly and efficiently. Hopefully we will also add value by making recommendations, often welcomed by the benefiting charities.
What are the timing constraints?
Although the Trustees meet frequently, at our formal June meeting we commit to projects for the following year. We do not like to finance schemes that are already complete, nor provide funds which will be banked indefinitely, so we ask that the projects will either commence in the first eight months of the following year – or have been started earlier and still be ongoing in that period.
When can we apply?
Anytime after July 1st each year and before March 31st of the following year. However this will be for schemes for the year after the closing date. So for example: from 1st July 2013 until 31st March 2014 applications for 2015 are welcomed
What is the deadline for applications?
The end of March each year. All projects which fulfil our criteria are short-listed (sometimes onto a long short-list) and the applicants are informed. The next three months are spent reviewing the applications and we hope to write to all applicants with our decision by the second week in July. Regretfully many will be disappointed.
What happens then?
We use the next six months to review further all the successful applications, thus ensuring that from the beginning of January our funds are available to meet their needs.
Are there forms to fill out?
No. We would like a letter providing details of the applicant and the registered charity number, together with the nature and probable approximate cost of the scheme, its anticipated start and completion dates. It is helpful if we are advised about outstanding planning or building consents and the nature of the applicant’s tenure of the premises where the proposed building work is to be undertaken. Generally we prefer properties to be freehold or having at least five years of a lease remaining.
Can we apply for more than one project?
We welcome a choice of schemes which fulfil our criteria, but would only be able to assist with one at a time. However in our review of the projects for which we have provided funds, we note the charities which we feel have used our money efficiently. We welcome fresh applications in successive years from such organizations.