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Hopeful Towns: BID-BUILDER

3. Establish strong relationships with the third sector and other partners

Central to the process of accessing funding is a focus on helping the place to get more money – not on helping the council to get more.

The risk, if a council ends up thinking about funds in terms of their own organisational revenue, is that they are not alive to the needs of residents. If the bid is open to other types of organisation then there is even a chance that you set yourself in opposition to the third sector in your area, by applying for the same fund.

The reality is that organisations outside the council are often rooted in the community in ways that the council itself cannot be. Partners know the place and its exact needs. They should be seen as vital collaborators in any bid which has a community focus. You can view a map of potential partners by clicking here.

There is a follow-up question about how much responsibility is given to partners of this kind, when it comes to the actual bid-writing process. Think about who is best placed to deliver, and even about whether a partner wants to be the primary lead in the bidding process.

Getting the balance right here involves thinking about how much capacity the respective organisations have, and where skills lie. Try to clearly identify the strengths, weaknesses, flexibility of approach and ability to be a possible partner organisation, when it comes to people/ and agencies.


The local authority will often be able to help with data, with financial questions or with things like risk assessments. But partners beyond your organisation will have a particular feel for what the community needs. Hence, each can do things which the other cannot. By working with the third sector you can access a much wider pool of potential opportunities than if you are limited to schemes which local government can apply for.

It will sometimes be that central government funds arise which are not open to authorities. Likewise, there are various smaller grants (see the Grant Schemes page) which are only available to smaller organisations. Councils can signpost to these, support with bid-writing elements, or even match-fund, bringing extra resource into the area. But each of these things rely on the initial strength of external relationships.


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