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Projects learning and growing together

28 June 2013


Ian Ellis, Chief Executive of Gloucester’s Furniture Recycling Project shares how the charity managed to secure close to £295,000 from the Big Lottery Fund. The funding has helped them to continue providing affordable furniture to some of the most deprived households in Gloucestershire.

In 2012 they also won The Prime Minister’s Big Society Award for Recycling and employment (environment). The award recognises the exceptional work they do in their community, going above and beyond to make things better for others.

There is an old saying that if at first you don’t succeed, try, try and try again. Certainly for us we had to try again after falling short in our first attempt of securing a Big Lottery Fund grant. We weren’t sure how to develop and improve a second application or even if we had the time to spend on it.

Furniture Recycling Project

The Furniture Recycling Project won a Big Society Award in 2012

We met Livi Gore, Policy and Learning Manager at Big Lottery Fund – she was a delegate at South West Forum’s annual conference we attended. She was very helpful and offered some constructive advice.

One of Livi’s suggestions was for us to meet another similar project; Waste Not Want Not in Chippenham. They had secured funding through Big Lottery Fund’s Reaching Communities programme.

Strangely enough, they had visited us when they were in their infancy, to gain ideas. This really does show that we can all learn from each other.

The time we spent in Chippenham and talking to the Big Lottery Fund was invaluable, we were able to use the information shared to make another application and as a result we were successful in our second attempt.

We had to put in a great deal of hard work and perseverance as the writing of the bid is only part of the story,. I was interviewed at length to make sure we knew what we were going to offer the community and that our outcomes were realistic.

Was it worth it? My answer would have to be yes. We recently submitted our report to Big Lottery Fund and received feedback. There are a few recommendations for us to follow through but it was finished off with “I think you’re doing absolutely fantastically”.

What do you think of Ian’s guest blog? Have you shared learning with other projects and benefited from their advice? Leave your comment below or join the conversation on Twitter @biglotteryfund.

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