Ofcom's Community Radio Fund Panel met on Tuesday 23 June 2015 to consider applications in the first round of grant awards for 2015/16.
The Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) confirmed the total of £377,000 for the Community Radio Fund for 2015. The amount awarded in this first round of grants was £160,782, which leaves £216,218 for the second round of funding later this year.
In summary, at the meeting:
- 42 applications for grants were considered
- The total amount of funding requested in these applications was £822,034
- 12 applicants were awarded grants which totalled £160,782
- 30 applicants were not awarded a grant
The Panel reviewed each application and awarded funding based on the information provided, and with reference to the Community Radio Fund guidance notes. The Panel’s decisions were to make a full award, a partial award or not to award any funding.
The average grant in this round was £13,398; the size of award ranged from £4,500 to £21,150. A table setting out the awards is at the end of this statement.
Issues of note arising from the Panel meeting
In the current financial climate the Panel felt strongly that, as much as possible, grants from the Community Radio Fund should help further a station’s financial stability and future sustainability. Therefore proposals for posts to promote long-term financial security and which could become self-sustaining were favoured by the Panel over applications for other support posts, even if they were considered by the applicants to be core station functions.
With regard to the applications considered in this funding round, the Panel would like to make the following points:
- The Panel has a limited amount of funding available, and so it cannot make grants to all applicant stations.
- The panel would like to emphasise the importance of section 2 of the application form which gives the panel members an insight into the station’s output and its target community. Applicants should also aim to quantify their impact, for example, by supplying numbers of volunteers, people trained, awards won etc.
- With regard to roles specifically to raise funds for stations the Panel considers that as an absolute minimum the post holder should aim to raise the equivalent of their own salary in the course of the grant spend, as well as securing funding towards station costs. This makes the role self-sustaining and likely to continue once the grant has been spent. The Panel likes to see clear financial targets set for such posts. When a station reports back on how the grant was spent, the Panel would like to know how much money the postholder raised.
- Applicants should explain how the role or project that is the subject of a grant application will contribute to the financial sustainability of the station.
- Some applicants did not include sufficient information, job descriptions and/or work plans in their submissions for staff funding.
- If a station is asking for funding for more than one item and/or post, then these should be prioritised in the application. This will help the Panel should it not be in a position to give a grant for everything requested.
- It is important to provide up-to-date and accurate financial information. At the very minimum applicants should supply their most recent statutory accounts (or equivalent). In the application form the panel would also welcome a summary of income and expenditure for the current year (but excluding the Fund grant being applied for). Some applicants do not provide sufficient information to enable the Panel members to judge a station’s financial situation or to demonstrate its need for funding.
- In the Panel’s experience, newly licensed stations sometimes apply too early and before they have properly worked out what their station needs. As a result applications often lack sufficient evidence that the grant will aid the future financial sustainability of the project. New stations should understand that a grant from the Fund is not guaranteed for all licensees.
- A number of applicants requested funding for items that the Fund will not support. Please read the guidance notes and ‘exclusions list’ (annex A).
- The panel would like to draw applicants’ attention to HMRC’s guidance on determining the employment status of workers, when they are preparing (and costing) job descriptions. (This has implications for the way tax and National Insurance contributions are calculated and whether or not PAYE (Pay As You Earn) is operated on their earnings.)
Summary of grants awarded in June 2015 (first round for 2015/16)
||Beverley, East Yorkshire
||Specialist Funding Application Trainer
||Isle of Sheppey
||Business & Development Officer
||Cambuslang and Rutherglen
||Project Worker and Business Development Manager
||Sales Person / Fundraiser
||Digital Manager for an online advertising project involving a number of stations around the UK
||Media and Development Officer
||Station Fundraising Co-ordinator
|Pure Radio 107.8
||Training and Development Co-ordinator
||Business Development Manager (salary contribution)
||Fundraising and Events Officer
|Westside 89.6 FM
||Business Development Manager
Information for future applicants
The Panel considers promoting long-term sustainability a critical, core activity.
Applicants should try to quantify the impact of the post (for which they are applying for funding) on the future sustainability of the station.
The panel recognises that, in the current economic climate, grant funding has declined. The panel would therefore encourage innovative fundraising ideas which may offer future funding models for the community radio sector.
The Panel continues to believe there is scope for collaborative working or joint applications from stations, where appropriate.
Applications for the second round of funding in 2015/16
- Applications will be invited on Wednesday 14 October with a closing date of 5pm on Wednesday 11 November 2015.
- The Panel will meet to make decisions on these applications in January 2016.