** The Small Grants Programme is now closed.
No new applications will be accepted **
Our Big Deal- in Our Words - a celebration of the achievements of young people who developed and delivered their own projects through The Big Deal Small Grants Programme.
The Big Deal Small Grants Programme was all about increasing children and young people's participation as decision makers through projects which they planned and decided what they wanted to do, when, where and how!
The programme was designed to complement and underpin the development of the wider initiative and supported children and young people to:
play an active role in the design, delivery and management of their own project
learn and practice new skills and examine relevant issues
gain a better understanding of their own and other communities
demonstrate their contribution to active communities.
As well as increasing children and young people's participation as decision makers, proposed project also had to have outcomes such as:
a) Increased health and well-being, and/or
b) Increased achievement and learning.
The programme was targeted at individuals and groups of children and young people from 0 to 25 living in Northern Ireland. An individual child or young person could apply for an award of £500 and a group could apply for an award of between £500 and £2,500. The programme was unique in that it had to be a young person or group of young people who made the application.
The small grants programme was launched in September 2006 with the goal of distributing £1million over 3 years. In the summer of 2009, extra money became available from The Big Lottery and a further £500,000 was made available to extend spending to the end of September 2010.
Applications were made via a 2 stage process - the young person first completed a short outline proposal form which was checked by the Project Officer. This gave the officer the chance to identify applications which did not meet the criteria and allowed the project officer to give the applicant information and guidance on how they could make their application more likely to succeed. Once this stage had been completed, a longer full application form was submitted.
Each group or individual which applied had to be linked to a host organisation, which could be a youth club, sports group, school etc. The role of the host organisation was to receive the money and help the applicant with the running of the project. In addition, each project had a project sponsor, who took on a mentoring and support role for the young applicants.
All of the full application forms which were received were initially assessed via a phone interview by an adult assessor. The Assessors report as well as the application were then considered by a grant making panel.
The grant Making Panels consisted of children and young people aged 7-25 from the Children and Young People's Forum (CYPF). The CYPF Officer created a training pack and ran confidence raising sessions which enabled the young people to take part in the grants panel meetings and express their views. Recruitment to the Forum was ongoing, with the Participation Officers across the 5 Education and Library Boards encouraging young people to get involved. At first, the panel met once a month, but this increased to twice per month, as the number of applications to the programme increased. By the end of 2009, there were 10 locations for panel meetings - Belfast, Park, Belleek, Omagh, Strabane, Macosquin, Crossmaglen, Newry, Colin, Glenavy and Lisburn.
By the end of the programme in December 2010, 723 projects had been funded, with a total of £1.5 million awarded.