Hi everyone – we are very pleased to be able to officially announce today that we have been successful in gaining a 2 year continuation grant from the Big Lottery for which we are deeply grateful and about which we are hugely relieved!!
This grant will cover 67% of our running costs for the next 2 yrs.
HOWEVER this grant comes after much negotiation and a grant ‘resubmission’ as our original 4 year grant was turned down. So it is VITALLY IMPORTANT that everyone understands the piece of work which now lies ahead of us!!
One of the key conditions and required outcomes of this 2 year grant is that during the next 24 months we move towards financial sustainability. We have been fortunate enough to have been supported by the Big Lottery since 2002 and in reality cannot expect them to fund us forever.
To ‘make our case’ and boost our chances of success with the resubmitted grant bid, we produced a sustainability plan to show just how we plan to achieve this over the two years.
I have always vowed that we would NEVER charge families for the support we provide. The very foundation on which Ups and Downs Southwest was built, was the provision of support and information to parents of children who have DS. We have delivered that support and are very proud to know of the positive impact our now many and varied services have had on so many families. From support at birth and around diagnosis to youth clubs and activity days for teenagers, and Specialist Advisory Teacher input at pre-schools, primary schools, secondary schools and now colleges too.
However – in essence – unless we can bring in £170,000 a year, Ups and Downs Southwest will have to fold – and we CAN’T LET THAT HAPPEN!!
We have done lots of calculating and planning and this is what we have worked out!!
As part of the re-submitted bid we will be able to appoint a 17hr per week post of “Project Evaluation and sustainability officer” This will enable us to have the ‘man hours’ to dedicate towards organising, co-ordinating, and supporting, fundraising events, activities and initiatives.
We will be approaching local businesses and organisations as well as seeking small grants from smaller funders and grant providers
We will be organising one off sponsored events, eg for 2014 we intend to organise a skydive and a fire-walk so let us know and sign up now if you’re up for that!!
If every family we support did ONE THING every year which brought in an average of £250 eg taking part in one of our sponsored events, holding a coffee morning and cake sale, having a ‘girls night in’, asking your school to do a non-uniform day for us, Ann Summers Party (!), asking workplaces to maybe make donations instead of exchanging Christmas cards, or if you’re athletic, running a marathon or half marathon (!) then between these things
WE CAN DO IT!!!
To be completely honest with you all, I was on my own in the office when I received the initial call from the Lottery people to say that the panel had turned down our four year application but invited us to adapt and re-submit our grant for a two year project which would include our being able to move towards financial sustainability within those two years.
And I just sat and wept.
In that moment I couldn’t imagine how on earth we could achieve that and for a few minutes I considered giving up, throwing in the towel, and consoled myself with the idea of finding a nice 9-5 job which wouldn’t require a lifetime’s commitment, endless hours of overtime and would probably give me my life back! However, I also thought of all the situations where families have really struggled for one reason or another and have said that without our support they simply don’t know what they would have done, I thought of the school placements that our Schools advisory service has saved, and the huge numbers of DLA forms we fill in for parents every year, and I thought of our amazing teenagers at youth club and their disappointment if we couldn’t have them anymore. So then after allowing myself a short time to ‘wallow’ I decided (as I have at several points in my life) that the answer was NOT “Oh no we’ll never be able to do that” but rather, “Right! So HOW are we going to do THAT then!!”
And we CAN do this people!
So everyone – what do you think?
We want to be here for you – do you want us to be here for you too?
Lots of Love and Best wishes to you all
Wendy O’Carroll, Founder and Chief Executive Officer, Ups and Downs Southwest Reg Charity 1116381