Can you tell us about your experience working with the charity sector and what attracted you to the role of Grants Manager at HIWCF?

I joined HIWCF as Grants Manager in January 2023 having come from a background of 25 years working in the charity sector for a range of other charitable funders, infrastructure organisations and frontline services. My main areas of focus have been mental health, domestic and sexual abuse, and collaborative community-led funding.

HIWCF was an interesting step for me because it reconnected me with local, grassroots community action. By helping grant funding to go to community organisations, led by local people who are connected to everything going on in their communities, we can be part of creating real magic.

Tell us more about what your work entails and what feels important to you in your role as Grants Manager

Since joining HIWCF in January 2023 I have had a couple of key goals.

I want us to be a supportive grant maker that listens to and works as a partner to our Grantees. The first steps towards this in 2023 have included our new grant application forms providing accessible guidance and pre-application eligibility advice, online webinars for each of our open programmes, and lots of outreach at funding fairs and events.

I also want us to learn about and champion the changes that HIWCF funding makes.

What do you think makes an effective grant application?

There are some essential things to consider when you’re looking to make a great grant application. Here are my three top tips:

1. When writing your bid make sure you read the criteria carefully. If you’re uncertain about whether your funding idea fits the criteria you can always phone us for a chat before you submit your application.

2. When telling us about what you will use the funding for, don’t assume that the person reading your bid knows about your organisation and your delivery as well as you do… make sure you tell us the basics – what you do, who you help etc.

3. Please make sure you submit all the supporting documents we ask for (e.g. a safeguarding policy); these form an important part of your application.

What are you looking forward to doing more of in 2024? 

2024 is going to be an exciting year for the HIWCF Grants team, we plan to have a greater focus on being active in our communities seeing funded work in action. We will also launch our new Grants Policy – our public facing guide to how we make grants and our grant making values and commitments.

What do you enjoy doing outside of work?

When I’m not at work I enjoy dog walks in the New Forest, yoga and getting involved in local eco-projects. 

Joanne works closely with Catherine Gardner, who joined HIWCF in December 2022 as Grants Administrator.

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