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From small beginnings to transformational grants

Why Newent Association for the Disabled approached Orchard Fundraising

Newent Association for the Disabled (NAD) is a well-established charity in Newent, rural Gloucestershire. It has been providing support for vulnerable people including the elderly and people with disabilities for more than 20 years. Newent runs a day and therapy centre, Sheppard House, which provides a range of activities and services for people with disabilities and the elderly. This includes accessible bathing facilities for beneficiaries with support from carers, games, exercise classes, arts and crafts and home-cooked meals.

The Association also offers free community transport to take people to and from the centre providing an essential lifeline for those who are lonely and isolated, to get the support they need and meet and socialise with others. NAD also runs a Dial-a-Ride and a community transport service enabling people who don’t have their own transport to attend hospital and GP appointments, meet up with family and friends and go shopping.

Sheppard House is also a lifeline for carers, as it provides a venue for them to meet and socialise with other carers. The Association’s work has many benefits including reducing isolation and loneliness and improving physical activity and cognitive ability as those who attend take part in arts and crafts, memory games, fitness classes and socialising. To enable the charity to continue to provide existing and expand its services, Newent Association knew that it had to diversify its income streams and increase funding from trusts and foundations.

The charity experienced a decrease in income prior to the Covid-19 pandemic in 2019. Support from the local councils, while an important income source together with income from its charity shop, was not sufficient for the running costs of Sheppard House. The Covid-19 pandemic highlighted the current and future need for the services provided by the day centre and galvanised the trustees to explore other funding sources to secure its long-term sustainability. Newent Association approached Orchard Fundraising to develop a fundraising strategy and tasked us with developing relationships with and making applications to trusts and foundations.

Trust and foundation application strategy

Orchard Fundraising reviewed Newent’s business plan and the source and type of funding that it had received to date. Utilising their knowledge of the trust and foundation funding environment, it recommended that initially, the focus should be on building relationships with smaller trusts and foundations by applying for relatively small amounts of funding between £2,000 and £5,000. These applications were a way of ‘introducing’ Newent and its work to a wide range of funders, and where applications were successful, enabled Newent to demonstrate good governance of the funding that it had received.

This was highlighted in the first impact report that Orchard Fundraising developed for the charity and sent to funders and was also used when reporting back to trusts and foundations. These early successful applications paved the way for applying for larger amounts including multiyear funding. This approach, over a three-year period, resulted in an increase in funding from trusts and foundations of on average £60k a year more between late 2019 to 2022.

Increase in income and long-term sustainability

Since Orchard Fundraising started supporting Newent Association for the Disabled with fundraising, their income from trusts and foundations has increased from approximately £14k a year to over £100k this financial year. In addition, they have formed relationships with several new trusts, that provide multiyear funding, which is important for ensuring the charity’s long-term sustainability. Multiyear funding for three years was received from two large funders, one of them being the National Lottery Community Fund. This multiyear funding will help ensure that elderly and disabled people who are rurally isolated in the surrounding area, will be able to access a range of services, participate in activities and meet others.

The benefits of having access to centres such as Sheppard House are many, including reduced isolation and loneliness, improved mental health and wellbeing and improved community cohesion. This is supported by research carried out at day centres in England, which found that attendance at a day centre enhanced the quality of life for socially isolated people with mobility restrictions, and who were at risk of declining independence and well-being. In addition, the positive impact on attenders’ social participation and involvement and on meaningful occupation was significant.

Lyndon Biddle, CEO says:

"We have been delighted with the results that Orchard Fundraising have and continue to achieve with funding from trusts and foundations. At first we wanted to apply for large amounts, but we took on board the advice from Orchard Fundraising about starting small, which has proved very successful. The grant from the National Lottery Community Fund took time but was a great result and helps us to plan for the future to ensure that our services and the community transport can continue to support vulnerable, lonely and isolated people in the years to come".

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