Support and Grant Policy
The purpose of this policy is to set out the principles, criteria and processes that govern how Tavistock Locals Help Trust (TLH Trust) makes grants.
A grant is defined as support or financial award made by TLH Trust to support the relief of poverty or financial hardship in Tavistock and the surrounding area which results from crisis or traumatic change of life circumstances. Grants are made to individuals, in line with specific fund criteria. At the present time the trust is supporting applications for relief from crisis originating during the coronavirus crisis.
This policy explains:
· How we are structured and governed
· The principles underlying our grant-making decisions
· Our grant-making policy
· The grant application process
· The assessment and decision-making process
· How successful grant awards are monitored
Supporting individuals in Tavistock to survive and recover from crisis or traumatic changes in life circumstances so they can meet their immediate needs.
TLH Trust promotes community wellness through well targeted grants that make a genuine difference to the lives of people in Tavistock.
Tavistock Locals Help Trust (Charity Number 1190103) is a CIO Foundation established in 2020 as an independent grant-making charity in response to the Coronavirus crisis. The charity originated from an informal local community group, Tavistock Locals Help, which helps individuals in Tavistock and the surrounding community connect with volunteers willing to deliver groceries, prescriptions and source other services during the crisis.
During March through June, the growing need for financial assistance for individuals to weather the financial hardship arising from the coronavirus crisis became apparent. TLH Trust hopes to provide much needed financial help through well-targeted grants to make a genuine difference to the lives of local people. TLH Trust is managed by Trustees drawn from the community and with diverse backgrounds in the business, charity and care sectors.
The TLH Trust’s charitable object is:
The prevention or relief of poverty or financial hardship in Tavistock and the surrounding area which results from crisis or traumatic change of life circumstances, by providing: grants, items and services to individuals in need and/or charities, or other organisations working to prevent or relieve poverty or financial hardship.
All money managed by TLH Trust must comply with the above objects.
Our Grant-making Principles
When awarding grants, TLH Trust aims to be fair, professional, effective, and pro-active. In doing so, TLH Trust demonstrates that any grant-making policy is robust, transparent and accessible. We endeavour to ensure all criteria are clear and consistent.
At this time, TLH Trust is only awarding grants to individuals referred to TLH Trust through the Tavistock Citizens Advice. TLH Trust and Citizens Advice will agree the checks required to ensure that monies are distributed safely and accountably.
Repeat and multiple applications
An applicant can apply to TLH Trust at the discretion of the trustees but a maximum financial benefit may be applied (1st January to 31st December). Grants are for small amounts of less than £500.
TLH Trust grant eligibility criteria include:
· Residency in Tavistock. The full list of eligible post codes is listed on our website.
· Referral from the Tavistock Citizens Advice.
· Expenses must be for essential living costs that cannot be sourced from social benefits or a direct grant.
· The financial hardship must have arisen from a recent change in circumstances, in particular, change in circumstances and hardship caused by the coronavirus crisis.
· Grants to individuals will be made via third parties where possible or direct to the applicant upon submitting a receipt for cost incurred after being awarded a grant.
TLH Trust will support the following:
· The purchase of individual items essential to daily living, such as an oven, refrigerator, or basic furniture. (NOT dishwashers)
· Equipment needed to support a sudden change in circumstances such as the birth of a new child or adapted furnishings due to illness or expenditure linked to unexpected need to move to new accommodation. (But NOT equipment and adaptations that should be funded by statutory services.)
· Purchases related to gaining employment, such as tools, uniforms or other related employment costs (including payments to bridge the period before receipt of salary for those who might be prevented from taking up employment).
· Contributions towards work related certification that would allow the applicant to access employment for example a CSCS card.
· Travel expenses for hospital visits.
· Contribution towards certain funeral expenses.
· Clothing, including school uniforms.
· Contribution towards household repairs arising from traumatic circumstances.
· Contribution towards food and subsistence expenses to bridge the period before receipt of Universal Credit.
TLH Trust will NOT support the following:
· Deficit or retrospective funding (i.e. grants for costs which have been paid prior to the award of a grant.)
· Repayment of debts incurred (except in the case of council tax arrears where the payment is necessary for the applicant to access housing support)
· Tuition fees or maintenance costs for students.
· Expenses incurred for a Commercial venture.
· Expenses to cover the costs of maintaining an animal or household pet.
· Medical expenses.
· Building or buying premises (we may support with part of a rent deposit).
· Purchase of car or vehicle or mobility scooters or similar mobility aids for use outside the home (we may support urgent running costs associated with vehicles).
· Funeral expenses except in exceptional circumstances (including associated expenses, such as headstones).
· gifts (such as toys for birthdays, Christmas or other festivals).
· repayment of Social Fund or other loans.
· bankruptcy or insolvency costs.
· items already purchased.
· driving lessons.
· ICT equipment.
· citizenship applications.
· legal fees or fines.
· passport applications.
The Grant Application Process
Applicants are encouraged to read the eligibility criteria before starting an application. To apply, there is an online application form on our website or the applicant may contact or be referred to contact Tavistock Citizens Advice.
The application form is designed to gain essential information about the applicant and their eligibility for funding. This will include information about the residency of the individual, the cause of the financial hardship leading to the need for the grant, and how the money will be used.
Copies of quotes or receipts as required may need to be emailed by individuals along with their application.
Applicants will be sent an email to confirm that their application has been submitted successfully.
Applications will need to include a financial statement and letter of recommendation from Citizens Advice.
On receipt of completed applications, TLH Trust trustees will make basic checks to ensure the applicant meets due diligence checks and eligibility criteria. In assessing an application for a grant, TLH Trust will consider such matters as evidence of a clear need, availability of alternative funding, and the information provided from the referring agency.
Applicants may be contacted by TLH Trust Trustee as part of our assessment process to discuss the application and reserve the right to ask applicants to submit further information in support of their application.
A short factual report about the application will be produced and circulated to trustees who will then consider the request and make a decision.
TLH Trust Trustees (the Trustees) have ultimate responsibility for all grant-making decisions in line with TLH Trust’s charitable purposes and the grant eligibility criteria.
TLH Trust aims to make decisions on applications on an ongoing-basis as long as funds are available. TLH Trust must receive an application referral and recommendation from Citizens Advice along with a basic financial statement. Applications will be considered in the order they are received, although the Trustees reserve the right to prioritise time-sensitive applications. TLH Trust aims to make decisions within two weeks of receiving an application.
The Trustees remain accountable for ensuring that grants are awarded for charitable purposes and meet the eligibility criteria. The trustees may delegate authority for TLH Trust’s grant-making to sub-committees of trustees. The Trustees reserve the right not to approve any application or nomination if, through its decision- making, it determines that the resulting grant would not be charitable or would conflict with TLH Trust’s policies or damage its reputation.
TLH Trust Trustees will contact successful applicants as soon as possible upon awarding a grant to discuss the award and the process for payment.
The online completion and return of a report form by the given deadline is a requirement set out with the grant offer letter. It helps us to understand community need, enables us to learn from our grant-making and inform future strategies; it also enables us to show donors the impact of their funding and hopefully encourage further donations.
Mitigating the Risk of Fraud
TLH Trust takes fraud very seriously and we are committed to ensuring that appropriate checks are undertaken during the assessment process for any application to mitigate the risk of fraud at every opportunity.
We are aware that fraud could take place in all stages of the grant-making process and will use the following indicators when checking and assessing grant applications:
· applicant only having a mobile phone number and/or PO Box address
· discrepancies between information provided on the application and that supplied by Citizens Advice
· discrepancies between the named applicant and the name on any bill, receipt, lease, or third-party payment document.
The list above is not an exhaustive; such indicators may lead the Trustees to carry out more rigorous investigation of a particular applicant. In the event that the Trustees considers that a grant has been used fraudulently, we will seek to recover the full grant and any associated costs. We will inform the relevant regulatory authorities, which will include the police, and legal action will be considered.
This policy is a working document and as such is used to guide and clarify the grant-making activity of TLH Trust. The policy will be developed over time and looks to reflect the needs and requirements of our beneficiaries.
The policy will be reviewed every three years and ratified by the Trustees to ensure that it continues to meet the needs of our beneficiaries as well as any changes in regulation or legislation. Any intermediate changes to the policy will be agreed with the trustees.
Please contact the Trustees for further information about this policy.
Version: Sept 9, 2020