Further to our announcement last week that we had sadly been unsuccessful with our Big Lottery bid, we wanted to share more information about the contingency plans we are working on and the possible effect on AWOC.
On 5th May we will meet with the organisations that partnered with us in the bid at the Centre for Ageing Better to see if we can find a way that the work of AWOC can be sustained goring forward. We are looking at a range of options including seeing whether any funding can be found, support in kind, sponsorship and deriving income from training and consultancy. Ideally, we would like AWOC to remain as an independent organisation but that may not be possible.
We therefore feel it is important to let you know that, if a way cannot be found for AWOC to survive as an independent organisation then, sadly and with enormous regret, AWOC will cease trading on 25th May and close. We really hope that it does not come to that and we are working hard to ensure that it doesn’t, but we feel we ought to let you know that it is a possibility.
Below are answers to questions that people have asked us which we hope will explain things in more detail:
- Why would AWOC have to close?
Since it was set up in 2014, AWOC has run on very little money and Kirsty has worked full time largely for free. It’s no longer possible for her to continue to do this which leaves AWOC with no one to run it on a day-to-day basis as well as having no income.
- Are there no other funders AWOC can go too?
There are other grant funders we could approach, but to apply for and go through a grants process takes 4-6 months and, without any income for the organisation, we do not have the time to do that. Also, the amounts of money available compared to Big Lottery are quite small and wouldn’t solve the funding gap unless we had 3 or 4 together.
- What about crowdfunding?
We have considered this, but previous AWOC crowdfunding attempts have not been that successful. To set up and run a successful crowdfunding campaign takes time and without anyone to run the organisation, the time and resources are not there.
- What about membership?
We tried membership previously but not enough people signed up to make it viable.
- What will happen to the local groups if AWOC closes?
We hope that people will continue to run their own groups if they want too and part of the conversations we will be having are about whether it’s possible for any other organisation to offer support in this area.
- What will happen to the facebook group if AWOC closes?
It’s possible that it could continue if the organisation closes, but it would need to become self administering.
We will update you again after the meeting on 5th May
with all good wishes and thanks for your kind messages of support
Update: This is what we had wanted to do
- Establish a secure online community where people ageing without children can share experiences, ideas and get support from each other themed around key practical help areas – led by people ageing without children themselves – so there can be self generated and self sustaining information/advice and support.
- Provide a range of information resources to help individuals ageing without children set up local AWOC Networks
- Explore ways in which individuals ageing without children can come together offline
- Establish a partnership with a local information & advice provider to
- Research the understanding/knowledge of the issues affecting people ageing without children amongst information & advice staff and volunteers
- Pilot training for information & advice staff and volunteers in the organisation about the issues affecting people ageing without children
- Identify where there are gaps in information & advice materials for people ageing without children and develop bespoke materials if needed
- Target work in 3 pilot areas to raise awareness of ageing without children
- Provide workshops for organisations in the 3 pilot areas to help them better understand the issues around ageing without children and what they can do to ameliorate them
- Pilot an AWOC ambassador programme to raise awareness of the issues affecting people ageing without children in their local area and how organisations and communities can ensure they are included in plans and discussions.
- Develop a series of briefings for organisations on particular aspects of ageing without children e.g. men ageing without children, terminology, people estranged from their children.
- Form an advisory group for the project to contribute expertise, review progress towards outcomes and to help share the learning
AWOC Big Lottery bid unsuccessful
It is with great sadness that we have to tell you that AWOC will not be receiving a grant from the Big Lottery Fund. Our bid focused on a hitherto overlooked segment of the population and received recognition for putting people ageing without children in the lead, for its equality approach and partnership model. However, it was felt that the bid would not be able to achieve the level of transformation required by the new criteria of BLF’s Accelerating Ideas programme and therefore would not be funded.
The Board of AWOC are working on a contingency plan to see how the work AWOC has begun can be continued. We are extremely saddened at this turn of events. It is not at all what we hoped for and we know that you will feel the same. We will, of course, keep you updated with our plans and thank you for all your support.
With all good wishes,
The AWOC Board