How to get a business grant from the council

What is the grant?

Trafford Council gives residents the opportunity to decide who will receive grants through its Neighbourhood Voluntary Sector Grants Scheme. The council asks for local people to develop innovative projects that will tackle the most challenging issues in our neighbourhoods. Each of Trafford’s four neighbourhoods – North, South, Central and West – had £50,000 to spend in total.

We applied for funds to put in disabled access to the ground floor of the building. I applied for the money in April, and was awarded it at the end of June.

How did you apply?

It was a fairly simple proposal, who we are, what we aim to do as an organisation and what we were planning to do with the grant money. I also included a reasonable costing with quotes for the work which I included with the application.

Talk about the selection process.

After the proposal stage they had more applications than there was money so they approached it by splitting up applicants between the various parts of the borough and holding open events where people could come along and vote for which project they wanted to fund.

That was an interesting process, but it was kind of a popularity contest. From my point of view, if you had a large active group all the members of it could turn up and effectively vote for themselves. This meant that some of the groups got the money by virtue of the fact that they had most representatives there.

It’s a great idea in theory, but it might be that the majority of attendees have a vested interest in one of the projects or another.

How is the work going?

I haven’t yet done the work, I’ve had the architect and builders in, quotes have been done, everything is ready to roll but I’m trying to find further match funding to put disabled toilets in, and I’m also trying to find private sponsorship.

How would you sum up the experience?

The critical thing is engaging with the council in the first place before you know there’s a grant there. I only found out about it because I had already been harassing the council about other things, so the main thing is getting yourself out there in the first place, engaging with the sources of grants.

There are actually plenty of grants out there on the whole. There aren’t very many for start-ups, but if your focus is on something community-based in a particular sector, there are lots of other potential opportunities.

People shouldn’t expect there to be much monetary help where the beneficiary is just the business itself. The provision of grants is often based on meeting some sort of social need in the area, whether that’s community-related, bringing more focus back into town centres, encouraging the buying of local goods, that kind of thing.

Should there be more help for start-ups?

I definitely think there should be more start-up grant schemes, especially in this economic landscape. I can see that we have to cut costs as a nation but we also need to have a growth strategy and that’s surely about starting new businesses and creating the brands of the future. Without help in the current environment that’s not going to happen.

Useful link: – Looking for funding? Find the right finance for your business here

Related Topics

Business Grants

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