Frequently asked questions
Below are some of the FAQs we have received since launching the Cost-of-living Grants Fund. We have put them into categories to help you find the answers you are looking for. We will be updating this section regularly as more questions come through.
1. The application form
Q We are interested in applying for funding. Where can we find the application form?
A The application process is now closed for new applicants. Phase 2 of the process is by invitation only, based on submissions in Phase 1. Please do keep an eye on our website for future funding opportunities.
Q We have multiple documents that we want to upload but there is only one upload slot for that question, what should we do?A Please combine multiple documents into one PDF and provide a cover sheet detailing the documents included.
Q Can we apply in Phase 2 if we were rejected in Phase 1?
A We are sorry, but only organisations successful in Phase 1 will be invited to apply in Phase 2. Any Phase 2 applications submitted by organisations not shortlisted in Phase 1 will be deleted and not assessed.
Q We have received some additional templates with the link to the application form, should we email those to you?
A No, these templates should be attached to the online application form and not emailed separately, we will not be able to accept documents submitted in this way.
2. Can we make changes in Phase 2?
Q We would like to significantly change the work we proposed in the Phase 1 application, is this possible?
A No – we have progressed your application to Phase 2 based on the project you proposed in Phase 1, so we cannot accept significant changes (by significant change we mean a change to the overall aim of the work, the target area, method of delivery or stated priority groups that you plan to work with) to the proposed work as this would be unfair to other organisations who were unsuccessful in their applications. We will cross check your Phase 1 and 2 applications during the assessment. We would agree to the addition of a formal partner to support more effective engagement / targeting of your proposed work to one or more of the groups of older people at highest risk of financial hardship.
Q We are no longer able to complete the work as set out in our Phase 1 application, what can we do?
A If you are no longer able to deliver the work you set out during Phase 1, please contact us immediately as we may have to withdraw your application from the process.
3. Eligibility and due diligence criteria
Q What time period do you want to know our turnover for?
A Please provide turnover for the last complete financial year.
Q Our organisational turnover is generally over the £100,000 threshold but last year it was impacted by Covid, meaning it was slightly less, can I provide evidence of the proceeding years?
A We acknowledge that Covid had an impact on the turnover of a number of organisations. Therefore, if you have evidence that your organisation’s turnover was consistently higher that £100,000 prior to the 2021/22 financial year, please state this in your application and provide us with evidence of the above. Ideally, we would like to see evidence of at least two years of accounts above the threshold prior to 2021/22.
Q We normally employ a paid member of staff; however, the position is currently vacant. do we still meet the eligibility criteria?
A We would allow an application provided you intend to fill the post and are confident you can do the work while this is happening.
Q Is property included in our reserves? Would the unrestricted funds of our charity be deemed to include two properties owned by the charity? Both are vested in the Charity Commission and neither is accessible as a direct means of funding our work.
A No. Unrestricted funds don’t usually include fixed assets (properties) because, although technically you could sell the properties and release cash, if you did you wouldn’t have anywhere from which to run the services. So, no, we don’t include properties in the calculations.
Q You’ve asked for details of our organisations governance processes, what exactly do you need?
A All charities should have a constituting document. Your charity’s governing document is a legal document. It works as a rulebook, and should set out:
- its charitable purposes (‘objects’)what it can do to carry out its purposes (‘powers’), such as borrowing money etc.
- who runs it (‘trustees’) and who can be a member
- how meetings will be held and trustees appointed
- any rules about paying trustees, investments and holding land
- whether the trustees can change the governing document, including its charitable objects (‘amendment provisions’)
- how to close the charity (‘dissolution provisions’)
Please attach this to your application.
If you are not a charity, we would still expect to see a similar document as a matter of good practice.
If you are providing links to where this information is available publicly, please add all of the relevant links to a Word document, label this “governance document links” and attach it to the online application.
We also want to understand the make-up of your Board/Trustees, so please provide a document that details this or provide a link to the relevant pages on your website. You must have at least 3 unrelated trustees.
Q Do we need to provide our annual accounts with a physical signature shown in it when submitting supporting documents?
A You need to provide us with a PDF (or alternative easily accessible electronic file format) of your annual accounts, including appropriate signatures. We will also accept documents that have clearly been digitally signed by relevant individuals. We will not be able to follow up incorrect or incomplete documentation, so please make sure that the file you upload contains all the necessary information and is legible on screen at normal magnification.
Q What do you want to see in our safeguarding policy?
A Safeguarding policies usually include definitions of abuse, processes for reporting concerns, named people in the organisation responsible for safeguarding, training requirements and how decisions on DBS or Police Scotland requirements are made. There are lots of model policies that could be a useful starting point – for example, the NCVO has guidance at ncvo.org.uk/help-and-guidance/safeguarding/. The Charity Commission also has information that may be of use at gov.uk/guidance/safeguarding-duties-for-charity-trustees.
Q Our 2021/2022 accounts will not be finalised and signed by our trustees until after the application date, what shall we do?
A Please provide accounts for the last complete financial year where signed and trustee-ratified accounts are available; if not 2021/22 then 2020/21.
4. Monitoring data
Q When you ask, “is your organisation older people led?” what do you mean?
A With this question, we want you to tell us if your governing trustees or Board are made up predominantly of older people. By predominantly we mean roughly 70% or more.
Q We don’t currently collect all of the monitoring data you are asking for around the people we reach, what shall we do?
A For your application, fill in the percentages that you can and use the “don’t know” option to provide the remaining percent.
Q What data will we be expected to collect if successful in our application?
A It is really important that we are about the reach and outcomes for this funding. The data outlined in this section of the guidance and application form will be the level of data we will expect to collect in your monitoring reports. We will need to know the details of who you reach including geographical local, age and ethnicity, alongside which of the priority groups listed in the guidance that they fit into, so for example, are they social or private renters, are they in receipt of a private pension, do they live alone etc..
Q In the guidance, it says that you will also need information on impact and outcomes at the end of the project, what do you mean and what will you require?
A Like any funder, we want to understand the difference this work has made. However, we do acknowledge that some impact and changes to individuals’ lives will not be measurable in the short-term. Where possible we would like you to collect information in any impacts within the lifetime of the programme. So, for example, if you are providing benefit advice as part of your funded work, how many of those helped went on to claim additional benefits, and how has their quality of life improved as a result? Or if you are providing grants for emergency boiler repairs, what difference have those boiler repairs made to the household, are bills cheaper for example? We are interested in the stories and as well as the numbersand can provide further support to help you tell such stories using photo and video material if this would be helpful.
Q The funding guidance states that all activity needs to be delivered by December 2023; however, we would struggle to recruit and train a skilled case worker on a contract that short. Is there an option to extend the funding timetable?
A We cannot extend the funding timetable. Because this fund is a response to the current cost-of-living crisis, we really want to encourage organisations to think creatively about how they might deliver meaningful impact within the stated time period. We understand that hiring and training staff can be time consuming, so you should consider other ways to secure the required resource, such as using already trained volunteers or working in partnership with an organisation that might have the staff capacity you need. As mentioned in the guidance, we will consider readiness to start work quickly when we assess Phase 2 applications.
5. Supporting documents
Q We are a Welsh organisation so our supporting documents are in Welsh. Can we apply with these documents, or do we need to translate them into English?
A We’re particularly keen to receive applications from organisations in Wales and Northern Ireland, because most of our applications have come from – and so our awards go to–organisations based in England and Scotland. We do ask for all documents to be sent in English because our assessors aren’t able to assess applications in any other language.
6. Technical issues
Q I am having difficulty attaching supporting documents to the online application form. What do I do?
A You will be asked to upload your supporting documents on the penultimate page of the online application form. Single PDF files are preferred, where possible. If you have difficulties, please check the file type and size – you may need to compress your document to upload it successfully. For any other problems, please email firstname.lastname@example.org and we will help you as best we can.
Q We are trying to upload our documents and keep encountering errors. Can we email these documents to you instead?
A We are sorry to hear that you are having difficulties uploading documents. If you have tried a few times to upload documents and it has still failed, we suggest that you next try using a different web browser – Google Chrome or Mozilla Firefox, for example – because this can often make a difference. If you are still encountering difficulties, please email us at email@example.com with your supporting documents and we will try to help you.
Q We are trying to submit our application but we keep encountering error messages. How can we submit our application?
A We are sorry to hear that you are having difficulties submitting your application. The live application form will only allow you to submit once all the documentation needed for assessment is included. If there is a document missing, or you are not eligible for this programme, you will be unable to submit your application. To confirm the supporting documentation we need and to check eligibility requirements, visit independentage.org/community/our-grants-fund/cost-of-living-grants-fund. If you are still experiencing issues, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
7. Outcome of applications
Q We have applied for the fund and have not heard back about the decision. Does this mean we have not been offered the grant?
A Our team has limited capacity and we want to give each Phase 2 application the attention it deserves. We are aiming to notify all organisations of our funding decisions by the end of the week commencing 14 November 2022, so please do be patient and we will contact you as soon as we are able to. If you have still not heard from us by 30 November 2022, please email email@example.com with information about your application.
Q We want to discuss the fund with someone. Is there a phone number we can call?
A Given our limited capacity, we need to focus on processing applications as quickly as we can while also supporting existing grant-holders and planning for the future. If you have a question, please read this FAQ document and, if your question isn’t answered there, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we will update the FAQ document with an answer as soon as we can.
COVID-19 Grants Fund
How we supported organisations working with older people during the pandemic
How we promote development and sharing of insight, good practice and capacity building for organisations working with older people
Documents relating to our grant-making approach