2023 National Express Foundation Grant Programme – United Kingdom

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The National Express Foundation is currently accepting applications for its 2023 funding programme.

Background

The National Express Foundation is a key element of National Express UK support for the wider community in which we operate.

The Foundation was created following the public order disturbances in July 2011, which highlighted the issues facing young people living in inner-city areas. The disturbances involved a disproportionate number of people in the 15-24 year age group, with unemployment, boredom and lack of motivation all cited as factors. More than ten years on, these factors are still as relevant now as they were when the Foundation launched.

Young people across the UK are also facing new challenges, particularly those associated with daily living. The cost of living has increased, key youth services, such as local community centres, continue to reduce in numbers, and the consequences of the pandemic and reduced social interaction and education are still being felt by young people, particularly from a wellbeing perspective.

We are aware that local community groups are working hard to combat these issues however, continual funding cuts and barriers to accessing grants can make it challenging to provide key community services to young people. With these issues in mind, we believe the National Express Foundation 2023 funding is best served supporting local community groups who conduct meaningful community activity and have an overarching focus on providing support to young people.

To help groups that support young people continue to build back from the pandemic, the trustees of the Foundation have chose to use its 2023 funding round to support initiatives which fit into one or more of the following funding themes.

-Diversionary Activities. Initiatives that specifically focus on engaging with young people, providing them support and detering anti-social behaviour.

-Environmental. Initiatives could include but are not limited to: encouraging young people to engage with the outdoors, initiatives that support the environment and involve youth groups

-Employability. Initiatives that directly or indirectly equip young people with skills, experience or qualifications that will support them gaining access to employment.

-Wellbeing. Initiatives that positively impact or provide support to young people through: physical activity, mental health and/ or social interaction.

Applications are invited for projects which groups will begin to deliver in the third quarter of 2023.

Guidance on making an application

We have to reject many applications each year because applicants have not read and applied these guidance notes and the resulting applications are vague.

We review hundreds of applications each year, so you need to ensure you clearly set out what you would like to do with Foundation support. You must not assume that we know what your organisation does, so please make sure you write a clear, succinct executive summary and you answer all the questions on the application form fully.

Who can apply?

Our funding programme in 2023 is open to any of the below applicant types across the United Kingdom, providing they are able to meet the applicant requirements

Applicant Types

– An Unincorporated Association

– Charity

– Community Interest Company (CIC)

– Charitable Incorporated Organisation (CIO)

– Voluntary Group

– Sport and Community Clubs

Applicant Requirements

– Applicants have an annual turnover of less than £250,000*
– Applicants are able to provide a reference from a local person or group who can provide supporting evidence of the community activity they do

*Funding applications from organisations who turnover more than £250,000 annually will be considered, providing they can guarantee match funding in-kind from another organisation or grant.

What sorts of projects are successful?

Applications which:

  • Focus on young people aged between 15 and 24
  • Meet the requirement to support young people as they continue to build out of the pandemic
  • Involve or benefit a large number of young people – a minimum of ten
  • Deliver a sustained programme of activity over a number of months
  • Ensure that anyone employed on the projects is paid a minimum of the prevailing Real Living Wage rate
  • Have specific key milestones or dates that allow the Foundation to get involved with the project
  • Show how you will seek to minimise your impact on the environment
  • Provide a clear plan on how they will use social media to promote the project
  • Are unique to National Express Foundation and we are the sole funding source for the activity
  • Provide a clear budget breakdown
  • Set out a plan for measuring the impact of the activity

How much can we apply for?

How much can we apply for?

We are asking community groups to apply for specific sums of money, saying what they could deliver for either £1,000, £2,500 or £5,000. Your application should clearly set out what you could achieve if you were awarded the money.

If you are applying for one of the larger value grants, it is very important that your application is robust, comprehensive and clearly sets out how you will deliver your project and how it might benefit a large number of young people – potentially over a longer period than one year.

Application Process

Application process

We follow a two-step process to consider applications. In the first instance you will be asked to complete our online form to provide an executive summary explaining how the funding will be used to deliver the project as well as information about your organisation.

This will then be assessed by our team and if this meets the strategic aims and values of the National Express Foundation, you will be invited to complete the second stage application form which will ask you to include the following information:

  • Background to the organisation, membership and funding
  • Evidence of constitution and independent bank account
  • Explanation of how the proposed project would benefit the community
  • Statement as to how the project will reflect the diversity of the community that you are working in
  • Timescale and process for delivering the project – we prefer projects to have key milestones throughout
  • Plans for using social media to publicise our support and the activity being delivered, and engagement with stakeholders
  • Proposal for how the Foundation could be engaged with the project
  • Plans to evaluate and quantify the benefits – an example of the type of evaluation report we would like to receive is available to view on our website
  • Evidence of a commitment to safeguarding within your organisation

The National Express Foundation is committed to safeguarding children, young people and vulnerable adults and therefore request that all second stage applications include a copy of your organisational safeguarding policy. For guidance on writing a safeguarding policy, please follow the NSPCC link below;

https://learning.nspcc.org.uk/safeguarding-child-protection/writing-a-safeguarding-policy-statement/

Applicants should indicate the size of grant that they are applying for: £1,000, £2,500 or £5,000 and explain what they would deliver for the level of grant applied for.

While we do not propose to set restrictions on how the funding would be applied, we will be seeking evidence of innovation in how the projects will be delivered.

Remember that our trustees may not know anything about your organisation. You should set out clearly in your application form what you intend to do and how a Foundation grant will support that.

We need to understand the detail of what activities you intend to deliver with the funding.

Saying: « We will run a youth club and will engage with young people » – is not enough. You need to be clear on timescales and the nature of the activities you are delivering.  A clearer application would say:  “We will run a weekly youth club from 6.30-8.30pm every Wednesday at [venue]. Each session will offer pool, table tennis, video games – with weekly discussion group on different topics: bullying, inclusion, substance abuse, employment skills”  If you are successful at the first stage you can provide more detail at the second stage.

What sorts of projects are successful?

What sorts of projects are successful?

Applications which:

  • Focus on young people (25 and below)
  • Meet the requirement to support young people through one of the four funding themes
  • Involve or benefit a large number of young people – a minimum of ten
  • Deliver a sustained programme of activity over a number of months
  • Ensure that anyone employed on the projects is paid a minimum of the prevailing Real Living Wage rate
  • Have specific key milestones or dates that allow the Foundation to get involved with the project
  • Show how you will seek to minimise your impact on the environment
  • Provide a clear plan on how they will use social media to promote the project
  • Provide a clear budget breakdown
  • Set out a plan for measuring the impact of the project

You can read about the types of projects we have supported on our website www.nationalexpressgroup.com/foundation.

What sorts of projects are likely to be rejected?

 

 

Our commitment to support the real Living Wage

National Express is an accredited Living Wage Foundation employer in the UK. In support of this, the National Express Foundation wishes to encourage the payment of the Living Wage by organisations we support.

We are asking the organisations to consider paying the Living Wage Foundation rate. If you are applying for Foundation funding that will contribute to staff costs, we would encourage you to pay any salaries or wages that our funding will support at the Living Wage Foundation rate or above. However, we appreciate there may be specific circumstances which make this difficult. For 2023, the real Living Wage is currently set at £10.90 per hour outside of London. You should confirm the hourly rate you intend to pay in your application

Evaluation

You will be required to provide an end of project report explaining how the grant bursary has been used during the year. As part of this process, you will also need to complete our Foundation evaluation form.

You will also need to evidence the delivery of your social media and stakeholder engagement plan that you set out in your application.

Submitting your application

Please submit your first stage application online using this form before Tuesday 6th June

First-stage applications must be made using our online form. If you are invited to complete a second stage form, you will be able to include any supporting information you feel is relevant as PDFs.

Timetable

Tuesday 6th June First stage application deadline
Friday 9th June Successful applicants invited to complete second stage application form
Friday 23rd June Second stage application deadline
Friday 30th June Trustees meet to discuss applications
Friday 7th July Awards announced

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