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Forward Momentum Newsletter Issue 7

"Permission to Start" Phase

The “permission to start” is a relatively small but crucial part of the process required by The National Lottery Heritage Fund.  This stage comes in between securing the "second round bid" of funding and starting the "delivery phase" of the project.  We rightly congratulated ourselves on being awarded the £1.57m towards The Way Forward project; this was what the second round bid was for and comprises 80% of the funding needed for The Way Forward.

"Permission to Start" Meeting

We had the permission to start meeting with our Heritage Fund investors at the end of February. Since we had been unable to raise our own funding towards the cost of the project, the Heritage Fund could not give us  their permission to start the work.   The remaining 20% of the project cost comprises different elements of funding, 6% of which St Mary's is responsible for raising - which totals a minimum of £120,000.

Raising the Funds

Other organisations had been applied to for funding. 26 applications totalling £137k went in last autumn; only one expressed an interest. Our Heritage Fund colleagues told us that we are not alone in this situation. The difficulty with these applications is that you only get contacted if the funder wants to donate or meet up prior to a funding decision. So we were left wondering if any of the money would come in, hopeful that some would come forward during January and February, but none did.

Applications continue to be made to charitable trusts and other grant funding bodies; we now have 6 trusts who have made contact who may choose to give over the next few months. We’re delighted that one of these has confirmed a donation of £15k. We await contact (or not) from a further 20 organisations.

What happens next?

1) We work towards obtaining Permission to Start by 14th June by raising £120k: if funding does not come in, we lose the £1.57m grant from The National Lottery Heritage Fund
2) We continue to apply for funding from charitable trusts and meet with interested parties
3) We develop a funding strategy
4) We move the start date for the capital work from April to later in the year to allow time for funding to come in; work will start in the autumn if we raise £120k by the June deadline

How the funding is split

 13% comes from a government scheme called the Listed Places of Worship VAT Reclaim Scheme and equates to £260k.
5% comes from charitable trusts and other grant funding bodies. It equates to £101,318
2% is an amount attributed to “volunteer time”. This is calculated based on the amount of hours worked by the project team and PCC and others whilst putting together the second round bid. It equates to £35,250
1% is the £20k that St Mary’s has to raise from its own charitable giving, from gifts from the congregation, to fundraising projects, to potential donations from local businesses and philanthropists

In summary, we need to raise a minimum of £120k+ as soon as we can in order to get our permission to start. Then we can begin moving things from the church into storage, employ people to assist with the project and really get going with The Way Forward project. The money from the Heritage Fund does not sit in our bank account; over the course of the project, the money we spend on the project has to be retrospectively claimed back from the grant we have been given by the National Lottery Heritage Fund.

What happens if we fail to secure £120,000?

1) The National Lottery Heritage Fund withdraw the £1.57m and we start the application process all over again.
2) We ask if we can do a “phased start” to the project. This is problematic as the capital works would need splitting up into mini projects and would be a start/stop approach, difficult to manage, particularly for the contractor. We would need to know exactly how much each mini project would cost and see if we have the appropriate funds available.
3) We spend the next few years fundraising a significant amount of money simply to replace the heating system in the church, foregoing new furniture, renovated kitchen, new electrics, lighting, AV and the activity programme
4) We stop work on the project and continue in church as we are; the building would continue to deteriorate and would eventually have to close.

 Can you help?

We are looking to put together a team of volunteer fundraisers.
We need several people who can generate fundraising ideas and bring these to reality. How much time this will take will depend on the ideas and the planning and execution of events. Interested? Contact Rhoda Herbert via email:

Could you donate?

Head to our giving page or contact our church treasurer:

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