Rachel Mather’s Guide to Alternative Sources of Funding and Support

April 6, 2020 10:35 am | Published by | Leave your thoughts


After an intense week, I was starting to feel a little subdued as I settled into our new reality. Midweek I had a call scheduled with a new Everyday People Member, Leeds-based Freelance Bid Writer, Rachel Mather. Our conversation was exactly what I needed, Rachel reminded me why I started Everyday People and what keeps me going through difficult times. 

Rachel genuinely cares about and wants to help the people she works with and her knowledge and passion are infectious. Rachel is 100% the type of person I had in mind as I set out on this journey.


I don’t publicly share Everyday People Member references enough (I must do this more). Here are just a few things previous clients said about Rachel. 


Rachel is off the scale bright!


Hard working and very trustworthy


Rachel has a strategic brain and is able to scan the political, economic and social horizons to seek and identify funding opportunities.


She is driven by a strong set of social values and helped the college enormously in securing funding and support to meets its strategic objectives.


She is smart, professional, hard working and has an excellent sense of humour.


I’ll hand over to Rachel who has generously written a guide to alternative sources of funding and support. 


A Guide to Alternative Sources of Funding and Support


The spread of COVID-19 is causing unprecedented worries for the small business and freelance community.

The support financial and business measures the UK Government has put in place to support employers and the self-employed has been well documented and shared by many to ensure information can reach those who can benefit from the packages available.

There’s also been a huge swathe of Support Services, Membership Bodies and Community Foundations that have responded to the crisis by launching funding, grants and related programmes of support to help individuals, employers and communities through this difficult period.

As someone who has been involved in identifying, bidding for, and securing over £90m funding from a range of EU/UK funding and grant giving bodies for the last decade, I’d like to share with you some alternative sources of funding and support you may want consider. As a Consultant and Bid Writer, I work with small businesses and freelancers to help match appropriate funding and tender opportunities with their growth plans, and business needs.

As such, I’ve a good working knowledge of what’s out there, and how you can benefit from the interventions available. Here are just a few: 

A great starting point is to see what’s available in your area would be via the Gov.UK website, which includes a full breakdown of programmes detailing which areas they operate, eligibility criteria, and what you can use the funding for.

The Government’s Business support website also contains useful information and resources for starting and growing a business.

For those looking to enhance their digital connectivity, there’s the Gigabit Broadband Voucher Scheme whereby vouchers can be used by small businesses and the local communities surrounding them to contribute to the installation cost of a gigabit-capable connection.  Businesses can claim up to £2,500 against the cost of connection either individually or as part of a group project, by boosting the voucher value through joining together with other businesses.

For freelancers and sole traders looking to develop new products and services, Innovate UK, offers support and funding to help businesses bring them closer to market, this may be to bring people together to share ideas, tackle challenges and make new technological advances.

For companies and individuals with pioneering research which may require significant funding, there is also Horizon 2020.

Depending on the sector or industry you’re working in, there will additional programmes of support, for example, Arts Council England recently made £20 million available to individuals working in the cultural sector, including artists, creative practitioners and freelancers.

Similarly, The BBC Talent Cloud is aimed at off-air freelancers seeking bookings or short-term contract work with the BBC in the UK. This includes all of BBC public service and BBC Studios.

Various other grants and bursaries are available for freelances, from Trusts, Foundations, Sector Skills Councils and Membership organisations.

At a regional and local level, Local Enterprise Partnerships (LEPs) provide a range of funding and support measures for business at all stages, from pre-start, micro businesses to multinationals. There are 38 LEPs across the UK. Find details of your local LEP here. 

For example, delivering across the Leeds City Region LEP, the AD:VENTURE programme offers a comprehensive and innovative mix of tailored business support to boost growth and develop businesses in their first 3 years of trading.

The programme offers practical advice, coaching, outcome focused events, academic support, incubation space, finance brokerage, low rate loans and start up or growth grants.

Digital Enterprise is a business support programme which helps eligible, growth focused businesses, based in the Leeds city region, to scale up and achieve digital transformation. There are 3 strands to the programme, including:

> A Digital Growth Voucher worth between £2,000-£10,000 to help eligible businesses invest in digital technology to achieve business growth and digital transformation.

> A Connectivity Voucher to help eligible to upgrade their digital connection – worth between £500-£1,000.

> Free workshops, masterclasses, digital conferences and mentoring support via a new Digital Knowledge Exchange service.

Details of the York North Yorkshire and East Riding LEP can be found here, and the Sheffield City Region LEP here.

Whilst some programmes and projects will have inevitably altered, in the wake of the recent COVID-19 outbreak, many continue to operate having adapted their delivery model in response to the crisis.

For projects that have paused applications, there is a wealth of information, resources, and teams available to provide further guidance and support to help respond to any enquiries.

If you’d like signposting to any business support programmes, or would like to chat more about identifying funding for capital/core costs, digitalisation, skills and training, or contract and tendering opportunities, feel free to reach out via email: hello@rachel-mather.com or call me on 07854822331.



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