Sources of Help
Third Sector organisations who can support you in your application
Community Council for Somerset (county-wide)
An important part of the application process to the HPC Community Fund is providing evidence of the HPC impacts your community is experiencing. There may already be evidence available that you could use in your application. Some places you could look for this are:
- Somerset Intelligence
- Your Town or Parish Council
- Neighbourhood or Community Plan
- EDF – Hinkley Community Hub
- HPC Community Research (2017) carried out by Community Council for Somerset and Clarity CIC
As well as using existing evidence of the impact HPC is having on your community, we do recommend that you also look for specific evidence in your own community of how you are being impacted. You can do this through community engagement, for example:
- Interviews with community members
- Community questionnaire survey
- Community focus group discussion
The information below gives guidance on what these community engagement tools are and how to use them.
Who should you contact to gather information?
What is a community?
While we traditionally think of a community as the people in a given geographical location, the word can really refer to any group sharing something in common. This may refer to smaller geographic areas: a neighbourhood, a housing project or development, a rural area, or to a number of other possible communities within a larger, geographically-defined community.
Who to contact?
Much of the best and most interesting information may come from community members with no particular credentials except that they’re part of the community. It’s especially important to get the perspective of those who often don’t have a voice in community decisions and politics, such as low-income people, immigrants, and others who are often kept out of the community discussion. In addition, however, there are some specific people to whom it might be important to speak too. They’re the individuals in key positions or those who are trusted by a large part of the community or by a particular population. In a typical community, they might include:
- Local councillors or MPs
- Community planners or development officers
- Health professionals, including mental health
- Community activists
- Charity workers
- Chairs of community groups
- People without titles, but identified by others as “community leaders”
- Businesses Owners or CEOs
Using the tools
Tips for Designing and Conducting a Good Interview
- Identify your target respondents. Whose opinions are you interested in understanding? Will you identify specific people to interview, or will you solicit random participants in a public place?
- Prepare your interview questions. Keep your questions as simple and concise as possible. If you have complex questions to ask, ask them towards the end of the interview. If you have sensitive questions to ask, be sure to conduct your interview in a private place.
- Conduct some mock interviews and ask for feedback.
- Establish rapport. Make your participants feel comfortable before you dive into your questions.
- Conduct your interview like a real conversation. It’s best to have your questions committed to memory so you can ask them naturally, switching up the order and adding impromptu follow-up questions as needed.
- Take accurate notes. If you’re recording your conversation instead, get the respondent’s consent beforehand.
- Be an active listener. Show your respondent that you’re engaged and interested. Be considerate of their time.
- Ask respondents to elaborate. Simple yes/no answers often won’t yield much useful information. Probe further with follow-up questions and ask respondents to clarify if you don’t understand. You may want to prepare specific prompts for drawing out additional information.
Tips for Designing a Good Questionnaire Survey
- Ensure you have a good number of respondents. While we cannot recommend a ‘correct’ number of participants for your specific survey, the number of people you ask should be proportionate to the number of people effected by the issue you are investigating. It may help to think about this from an outsider’s perspective; if someone were illustrating a situation to you, how many people would you think is sufficient to provide evidence that a community is feeling a particular impact?
- Explain why you’re asking the questions. Participants are more likely to respond if they feel there will be a valuable outcome, like the possibility of a future project that will attempt to address their needs.
- Keep it short and simple. If your survey is too long, respondents may rush their responses or even drop out of the survey before completing it. Make sure your questions are brief and specific.
- Make sure your questions are unbiased. Avoid leading questions like “Would you like to see a new library in the vacant lot instead of a playground?” in favour of a more neutral form: “What would you like to see developed on the disused land? A) library B) playground C) other (please describe)”
- Conduct a small pilot of the survey. Testing your survey can reveal whether your questions are clear and specific.
Tips for Conducting a Focus Group
Q: What is a focus group?
A: A focus group is a gathering of deliberately selected people who participate in a planned discussion that is intended to bring out perceptions and opinions about a topic. The environment is friendly and informal. There is usually a facilitator and a note taker. Questions should be prepared beforehand to guide the group discussion.
- Select a location that’s convenient, private and comfortable for a small-group discussion and at a time that participants can attend.
- Take notes and periodically ask participants if the notes accurately capture the group’s input.
- A group of 6-12 is an ideal size. Make sure the participants are representative of the community, relevant to the topic and interested and willing to provide feedback.
- Explain the purpose of the focus group and state your goals openly. Establish simple ground rules to promote positive interaction and confidence in the process.
- Introduce the main topic of discussion, and guide the discussion using your prepared questions. Establish a schedule beforehand, such as 10-15 minutes per question.
- Allow each person time to answer. Listen carefully to the ideas expressed and ask for clarification if needed but avoid confrontations or debates.
- Allow participants to respond to comments but make sure the discussion and comments stay on topic.
For more in-depth guidance on community engagement see: Community Planning Toolkit – Community Engagement
Writing Successful Funding Applications
Before you begin the application form, here are some tips:
Put yourself in our shoes – before you put pen to paper – or finger to keyboard – it is important to understand the aims of the Hinkley Point C Community Fund. Ask yourself if your project is in line with the criteria of the Fund? Please contact us before you start to talk through your idea. We are very happy to provide advice, support and feedback on draft applications.
Check and confirm eligibility – make sure you are not wasting your time. If you are unsure whether or not you are eligible, contact us first rather than spending time on the application.
Choose the appropriate writing style – funders are used to receiving applications for funding that are to the point, persuasive and factual – this is the best way to convince us. A balance should be found between including too much information and not giving enough. Aim for concise and clear statements.
Prepare your project’s reference material – have to hand all the information about your project you will need to complete the form. Some of the documents you will need are your governing document, your annual accounts, your project plan and any relevant policies. Support letters from local authorities or other local organisations are strongly recommended for all applications.
Check forms and guidance notes – please read the guidelines before starting an application and make sure you have checked the website for any recent updates. Double check you are using the right application form for the funding stream you want to apply for.
Recruit helpers – don’t complete the form on your own unless you have to. Get someone to assist, whether that is a friend, relative or colleague.
Schedule time – set aside time when you won’t be interrupted and when you can focus your attention on making the application. Don’t feel you have to complete the whole form in one session, you have the option to save it as draft and come back to it later.