Fast track small grants guidance notes

Fast Track Small Grants (FTSG) is a funding programme for local third sector organisations in need of small grants to start or deliver specific services or activities. The council wishes to use it to support the widest possible range of local organisations and will prioritise funding to those groups not currently funded by the council.

FTSG can be used to fund a range of activities, for example: sessional worker costs, one off events, play schemes and classes, rent and running costs for specific short-term projects. 

You can apply for between £100 and £10,000. We do not anticipate awarding amounts over £5,000 to more than 2 or 3 organisations in each financial year, and the majority of funding will be for projects under £5,000. 

Some important changes

FTSG is now a “rolling” programme, where applications can be made throughout the year and grants are awarded on a regular basis (with some breathing space over Christmas and at the end of the financial year). When applying, it is advised to plan ahead and allow for a gap of approximately 6 weeks between submission of an application and a decision being made.

This new method should increase speed and flexibility. Unsuccessful groups, who may wish to re-apply with improved applications, will be able to do so sooner, and the decision-making process will be faster.

We expect to be able to inform groups of the outcome of their application within 6 to 8 weeks of submission (though it might take a bit longer if we were to receive a large amount of applications at the same time).

Successful applicants will be eligible to receive one grant per financial year (April to March). Community Investment will keep tight records of who is in receipt of funding, in order to enforce the "one grant per year only" rule.

A further change, is that organisations failing to deliver the service for which they were awarded a Fast Track Small Grant will be required to repay the grant, or part of it, to the council.

This will apply to all future FTSG rounds. If groups have problems delivering their funded services, it will be their responsibility to contact Community Investment, in order to discuss a solution. If, to the best of our knowledge, a service has not been provided, and we do not receive any reassuring monitoring information, we will reserve the right to reclaim the money.

Eligibility criteria 

To be considered for FTSG:

  1. Your organisation must exist as a not for profit voluntary or community organisation, club or association and have a constitution, or rules, or terms of reference.
  2. Your organisation must have a bank account in the organisation’s name that requires two unrelated people to sign cheques.
  3. Activities funded by FTSGs must be provided in the borough and must directly benefit residents of Hammersmith & Fulham.
  4. Organisations funded by FTSG must have a management committee with at least three members, including Hammersmith and Fulham residents and have a current policy on safeguarding and equalities of opportunity as a minimum policy requirement (or subscribe to the relevant parts of LBHF’s policies).
  5. If you are seeking funding for a supplementary school, your organisation must be a member of the Supplementary Schools Network Hammersmith & Fulham (contact SOBUS on 020 8748 6345 for further information).
  6. If you are seeking funding for a sports club you are encouraged to have Clubmark or be working towards attaining Clubmark. Organisations which have this accreditation will be prioritised. For further information visit the Clubmark website or contact the LBHF Sports Development Team (020 8753 3838 or paul.smith2@lbhf.gov.uk). FTSG funded sports clubs will also be expected to attend H&F Sports Club Forum where possible.        

Funding criteria

The aim of Fast Track Small Grants is to provide small and unfunded groups the opportunity to secure council support. The assessors will focus on both the organisation’s merit, and the service or activity for which funding is sought. Should the council not receive enough good quality applications which meet its priorities, the Council reserves the right to not allocate the full Fast Track Small Grants budget.

Assessing officers may contact organisations by email or telephone for clarification during the assessment process.

Organisations applying for above £5,000 will need to demonstrate:

  • That the proposed project is new and innovative
  • That the service will be delivered in partnership with at least one other organisation
  • That match funding has been secured (evidence of this must be provided)

Priority will be given to organisations which:

  • Can show that Hammersmith & Fulham residents and service users are involved in the running and development of their services
  • Are small and unfunded groups run by volunteers or no more than one paid staff member

Priority will be given to services and activities which:

  • Offer good value and high-quality services to residents
  • Deliver measureable benefits to residents
  • Help to achieve the council’s targets

Applications should address one or more of the council’s key targets. These are:

  • Empowering and enabling local communities
  • Delivering more affordable homes
  • Addressing and reducing social exclusion
  • Building a stronger local economy with more jobs for local people
  • Improving local health and adult social care provision
  • Ensuring a safer, greener borough
  • Providing the best start for young people
  • Delivering greater efficiencies in public spending

Restrictions

1. Funding will not be granted for:

  • Political aims, campaigns and lobbies
  • Services that promote religious interests and objectives
  • Schools (although associated, supporting or connected organisations may be eligible)
  • Individuals
  • Your organisation’s on-going running costs such as rent or rates

2.  Organisations who have been awarded Fast Track Small Grant funding in previous rounds but have yet to return completed any overdue monitoring information will not be eligible. If you are unsure, please contact Katharina Herrmann, (Katharina.Herrmann@lbhf.gov.uk or 0777 667 2421).

3.  Only one grant per organisation will be awarded in any financial year (April - March).

4.  Only fully completed funding applications with the required supporting documentation will be considered.

5.  You cannot apply for funding for activities or events that have already taken place.

6.  Incomplete applications or applications without financial information, constitution or completed Conditions of Grant Aid will be disregarded; we will not contact you to request missing information.

Completing the application

Your application form will be used to assess how well you meet the funding criteria.  Council officers may also contact your organisation by telephone or email for further information during the assessment process. Organisations that best show how FTSG will make a difference to Hammersmith and Fulham residents will be given higher priority.

If you are not able to type your application form you may complete it by hand. Please make sure it is legible, try to be concise and do not exceed the space provided.

Required supporting documentation

Budget for organisation: We would like to see your anticipated income and expenditure for the year, including subscriptions, grants or other income sources and how you intend to spend this. If you are a newly formed organisation seeking funding for start up costs, please explain this in a covering letter, which includes your organisation’s bank details and a bank statement. If you charge for services, you must include this information in section 23 of the application form.

Constitution: This may take the form of Terms of Reference, agreed aims or objectives, or a formal constitution. 

Signed Conditions of Grant Aid (we have included this within the application pack): This will help us to ensure that successful applicants receive their payment promptly. 

A completed New Vendor Request form (we have included this within the application pack): only if your organisation has not received any LBHF funding over the last 3 years. Please complete section 1 only. 

Failure to provide all the supporting documentation requested will result in your application being ineligible, or in delays of payments to successful applicants.

Questions 1- 5: Details about your organisation. Accurate and up to date contact details are essential.

Question 6: Please state the overall aim or purpose of your organisation. This would usually come from your Constitution or Terms of Reference. If you are a very small organisation that doesn’t have these formal documents, tell us what your organisation was established to do and provide some form of supporting evidence.

Also tell us when your organisation started.

Question 7: If you are a supplementary school, to be eligible for funding you have to be a member of the H&F Supplementary School Network and if you are a sports club we want to know whether you have Clubmark accreditation.

Question 8: Please detail what sort of activities your organisation currently provides.

Question 9: The more specific you can be about the service or activities you are seeking funding for, the more it will help us to assess your application. Please tell us what you will do, how you will do it and when. Services or activities must also fit with the Council’s key targets.

Questions 10a and 10b: Only answer this question if you are applying for amounts over £5,000, if you are applying for less, please skip it.

10a: Please describe the partnership that will deliver the project – including the roles of each partner and the activities they will undertake. A partner would typically be another organisation who delivers the service with you and contributes financially or in kind (i.e. by letting you have their premises for free or at a much-reduced cost). For example: H&F Council, or another organisation referring service users to you could not be listed as a partner; to qualify as a partnership 2 organisations must deliver a service or project together and actively contribute to the outcome. All partners need to make an organisational and financial contribution to the proposed service; the latter is usually referred to a “match funding”. Although some match funding may be in kind, a reasonable proportion (e.g. at least 50% of your match funding) should also be in cash for project costs.

10b: Please describe the unique selling points of your project or event and describe any additional outcomes you will deliver.

Question 11: We would like to know why you think your service is needed – the problem that you are trying to address. How did you find out that the need existed and what evidence have you gathered to illustrate it?

LBHF aims to fund services that are open to all residents. If your service is targeting a specific group, community or location, we need to know why such a service is considered necessary. Describe the specific needs of the individuals, groups or communities that the service proposes to support (i.e. a service for women seeking refuge from domestic violence should be open to women from all socio-economic or cultural backgrounds but would not be available to men).

Question 12: Outcomes are the differences or changes that your service will make to its users. They are not the specific activities or services you provide but rather what happens as a result of your work. For example, if you are seeking funding for a befriending scheme, the activity might be regular telephone calls between the scheme and the resident, but the outcome would be that the resident feels less lonely.

If you are unsure about outcomes please attend a Fast Track Small Grants training workshop or contact the Community Investment Team or Sobus (020 7952 1230),  for further support.

Question 13: Please explain how you will monitor the outcomes your service has achieved (you will be expected to submit a monitoring report at the end of your project). For example, if you are seeking funding for a befriending scheme – the outcome for a resident might be that they feel less lonely and you could evidence this from a questionnaire or survey of service users.

Question 14: Please tell us about the people who will benefit from the service. Tell us how many people will benefit and tick the relevant boxes – are they from Hammersmith and Fulham, older or younger people, disabled people, people from a particular area or ethnic group etc? You may have to give estimates.

Question 15: Explain how you will ensure that those with particular needs, residents of different ages and those from different backgrounds and cultures will be able to access the service you are seeking to provide.

Question 16: As well as delivering benefits to people actually using the service, there are also wider benefits to the local community that your service or activity could deliver. It will assist our assessment if you can also consider whether for example:

  • The service or activity would provide training or employment opportunities for local residents
  • The service would make fuller use of existing resources you have (e.g. making more use of a hall or venue you already have)
  • The service would provide volunteering opportunities for local residents
  • The service would enable your organisation to attract additional funding
  • The service would help bring different communities together

Question 17: Please tell us how you will involve people who use your service, for example in the planning process or volunteering at an event and how you might use their feedback to influence any future services.

Question 18: Officers will assess the value for money of your service or activity from the information included in your application. It would be helpful if you could explain how you have costed your service to ensure good value for money. This might include where you have compared prices and sourced the best option or worked out how much per head your service or activity will cost.

Question 19: Please include as much detail as possible in the delivery plan. This information will help assessing officers to get a full picture of your service and assist with monitoring.

Question 20 & 21: Assessing officers need to see the total cost of your service and how you anticipate spending the grant. Different services have different expenses, but the more information you can provide, the better we can assess value for money. 

Listed below are some of the more common areas of expenditure, and the sort of information we need to gauge value for money. This is just a guide, and your service might include some, all or none of these, and/or other sorts of expenditure.

Sessional workers or performers costs

Please detail the hourly rate, total hours to be delivered, and number of sessions/performances

Venue Hire

Please include hourly rate, number of hours and sessions

Volunteers expenses

Please detail the number of volunteers at each activity/session and the level of expenses to be met.

Refreshments

For how many people

Equipment

Cost of books, toys, sports equipment etc.

Publicity and stationery

Cost of flyers, posters, adverts etc. 

Materials/labour

Please provide any quotes you have been given

Transport

Number of trips, number of users and estimated cost of minibus/coach/fuel or parking costs/Community Transport

Please note that FTSGs cannot be used to pay for ongoing salary costs. 

If FTSG funding is being used to fund or part-fund ongoing salary costs, please note that there is no guarantee of future applications being successful, and any impact this is likely on have on the postholder. 

Many groups seek a FTSG to pay for part of a service or activity they wish to deliver. If this is the case for your organisation, please tell us what other funding sources you are applying for, and whether your bid has been successful.

We ask for your bank details at the end of the application form – please ensure they are correct and up to date. All payments to successful applicants will be made by transfer into the organisations’ bank accounts. There will be no cheque payments.

Some final advice from the assessors: The council needs to administer these grants fairly as well as sensibly and is accountable for all spending under FTSG. This means that organisations able to demonstrate competence are more likely to get recommended for funding. The following problems have regularly occurred in previous funding rounds and do not show an organisation in a positive light:

  • submitting an incomplete application form
  • not submitting the requested monitoring forms for previously awarded grants in time
  • submitting an application less than 6 weeks before the proposed services are supposed to start
  • stressing how onerous the application process is, and that there is only one already very overworked person available to deal with the application and/or service provision: this causes assessors to question how the proposed service can be delivered should that one person become ill or not be available for other unavoidable reasons – having a backup or fall-back position is considered good
  • practice.

The budget for fast track small grants is usually oversubscribed. Therefore, it will not be possible to allocate funding to all applicants, and in many cases, only part of the requested sum will be awarded. Officers may prioritise a specific aspect of your project and award funding to reflect this.

The budget for fast track is limited and it may not be possible to allocate funding to all applicants. In many cases, only part of the requested sum will be awarded. The council reserves the right not to allocate the full fast track small grants budget if sufficient good quality applications are received.

What happens next?

  • You can hand in your application to Community Investment any time.
  • Officers aim to assess your application within two months of receiving it. You may be contacted if further information is required.
  • Organisations will be notified about the outcome of their applications, usually two months after submitting it.
  • Successful applicants will receive their funding soon after notification.
  • Organisations will be required to submit a monitoring report, detailing how your fast track small grants has been spent (e.g. providing receipts) together with the outcomes of the service or activity. Failure to provide this information will affect any future applications for funding.
  • All funding must be spent within 12 months (starting with payment date). Any community events funded by this scheme must take place in Hammersmith & Fulham within those 12 months.  
  • The council’s decision on your application will be final. Should your application not be successful, you will be given a reason why, but there is no procedure for appeal. You are welcome to re-apply any time with a new or improved service proposal!

Good luck with your application!