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Top funding tips from Trust chief in Norwich

BridgetCassYMCA1WebChristian charitable trust chief officer Bridget Cass gave very useful insights into how to successfully apply for funding from grant-making bodies, while in Norwich last week (September 20).
Bridget is chief officer of one of the UK’s biggest Christian charitable bodies, the Jerusalem Trust, which every year gives away £2.5m. It is one of 18 Sainsbury Family Charitable Trusts which together distribute around £60m to good causes each year.
She led two workshops for around 50 delegates from Norfolk Christian groups and organisations at Carrow Road football stadium and organised by YMCA Norfolk.
“It is estimated that around 40% of all new charities being established in the UK are from Christian groups.
 “All the Sainsbury trusts have very clear priorities and the aim of the Jerusalem Trust is to promote the Christian religion,” said Bridget. I receive around 3,000 requests for funding each year of which 150 go before the trustees and around 50 are approved.
“Administrators such as myself can hold the gate open or closed to funding but we cannot provide the keys to the door. That is down to the trustees.”
Bridget then proceeded to offer useful advice on how to get funding from different trusts, including her own, especially those who do not have formal application procedures.
“We need to know what you are doing and why you are doing it. We need to understand your project and how it will operate in the real world. How will the funding help you to move forward?”
Bridget explained that groups seeking funding need to do proper research on the trusts they approach and understand their limits and terms of reference such as geographical ones, priorities, target groups and the size of grants made.
She advises talking to trusts informally to prepare the ground and to find out about their processes and timescales, which can be very long and slow. The average for the Jerusalem Trust is six months, for example.
When applying, ask for a reasonable amount of money to achieve your goals and you do not always have to ask for a specific amount. Don’t use jargon in your application, don’t underestimate the knowledge of the trustees and keep your application down to four sides of A4 maximum.
“Once you have got your application in, then immediately move on to the next trust and do not put all your hopes and eggs in one basket,” said Bridget.
“I am keen to encourage Christian groups to apply for funding from secular sources because what you do often adds value and meets their criteria.”
Delegates revealed exciting plans for Christian projects in Norfolk including: building a new church worship centre, employing a youth minister, buying a van to widen the scope of an outreach project, and bringing churches’ youth work together in common projects.
Seminar sponsor, John Drake of YMCA Norfolk, outlined his vision to see funding seekers across the Norwich Christian community come together to work more effectively: “I want us to build Godly alliances to build His kingdom here on earth. Let us think collectively not individually. We want to collectively add value to each other’s efforts.”
YMCA Norfolk fund-raiser, Paul Whitnall, said that funds come from two places, out of relationships and out of intent: “To access money from intent, you must be able to say what you want to do. The hope of what will be different if your work goes ahead.
If you are interested in joining a group to think about future funding for the Norwich Christian community, please register your interest with the YMCA’s Nick Nundy on 01603 621263 or by e-mail

To download a copy of Bridget’s presentation, click here.


Download top funding tips from the Paul Hamlyn Foundation by clicking here



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