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    Rodley Nature Reserve Fish Pass

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Category Archives: News

Sometimes the cost is too high – refusing a grant

Refusing money
Sometimes the cost is too high

I have just done something rather unusual for a charity. I have turned down the offer of a £23,766 grant.

Why would I do that? Firstly because the grant awarding body was not prepared to pay the cost of the work required. Secondly because they would not contribute to our corporate overheads (Full Cost Recovery). Thirdly because the contractual conditions were such as to expose a small charity to unacceptable risk.

For months now we have been working in partnership with Yorkshire Wildlife Trust and The Wild Trout Trust to develop a bid to the Water Environment Grant (I won’t link there because you really do not want to know about it!). We have spent days, probably weeks, working out the finest detail of the scheme in order to satisfy the somewhat onerous requirements of the submission. Anyone familiar with the Rural PaymentsAgency (who ultimately ‘own’ this fund), or who has heard tales from farmers of the inefficiency, nitpicking and intransigence of RPA, may know how difficult a process it has been. Anyway, we put together our partnership project valued at ca. £170,000 and sent it off. Detailed queries were responded to and we waited, then waited, then waited some more. Indeed, we waited over three months after the decisions were expected and were delighted when we got an offer. Until we opened the letter that is, when we found that we had been offered only £100,000 between us. One partner, us, were offered only 35% of our bid with a requirement to deliver 75% of the required outputs!

To say that I am outraged, annoyed and frustrated is being polite. VERY polite!

So why am I upset?

Part, £250, of our bid was rejected because we did not have competitive quotations for refreshments for volunteers.

Part, £8,500, was intended to provide for social media and other advertising, promotion to aid volunteer recruitment and recognise the contribution of the funder. ZIP. We don’t need to do this apparently ,even though volunteers were core to our bid and they WERE prepared to pay for brand development (but where would we then use the brand?)!

Some of the contractual terms were outrageous:

  1. You will accept unlimited liability in perpetuity for your work
  2. If we run out of money we do not have to pay you
  3. You must do exactly what you said you would and any variation, even in an emergency, needs approval in advance.

Would you accept such an offer? Do these people have any understanding of the impact of their decisions on small charities? Who hold them to account for the consequences of their action?

I would like to pay tribute to the several colleagues in YWT, WTT and the EA who helped us through a challenging time. I won’t name them because this is my rant not theirs, they know who they are and they know how much I value their help.

The only upside – we now have some well developed projects in respect of which we can apply for funding elsewhere.

Spawning Season for Trout

If you build it, they will come…. The ‘Field of Dreams’ hypothesis often used by conservationists is certainly bearing fruit on our river. According to members of Bradford City Angling Association (http://www.bradfordcityaa.co.uk/fly-fishing/), who have been doing lots of sterling work to improve habitat in both the river and along the banks of the Aire near… Continue Reading

River Aire inspires poets

In the lead-up to Saltaire Festival, our River Aire has been inspiring poets. The competition, with the theme of ‘The World in Saltaire’, attracted entries from across the country and from poets of all ages. The winning poems have been published in the latest edition of the Saltaire Review and will be on the BBC Big Screen… Continue Reading

Is water company pollution getting worse?

The recent publication of the Environment Agency’s summary of the environmental performance of the 9 English water companies has led to the usual scary headlines about increasing pollution in our rivers. Let’s explore the topic. Those headlines come not least from The Angling Trust who claim that: The Environment Agency has published a report this week has highlighted… Continue Reading

River Aire Cleanup 15 April 2018

Join Wild Society and Leeds and District Amalgamated Society of Anglers as we team up to remove trash from the River Aire. The Aire Rivers Trust is delighted to see the cleanup of the Aire spreading even further afield and to support this new venture. This is a Land and Banks cleanup event: we’re looking… Continue Reading

Higher charges for environmental work?

The Environment Agency recently published a consultation on future charges for many of the topics they regulate. Whilst many of the proposals are uncontentious, some threaten to seriously undermine the good work of Trusts, anglers and may others who do small or medium scale environmental works. In particular, some of the charges for small in-stream… Continue Reading