Q1. Does the social mobility theme extend to projects not specifically related to the legal sector but investing in people who are otherwise socially and financially excluded to help them develop valuable life and work skills?
A1. Yes. We are interested in receiving applications which have social mobility outcomes both related to the legal sector, and across the UK.
Q2. Is this application only open to projects advancing social mobility in the legal sector?
A2. No. Our focus in this funding round is to advance social mobility in the legal sector, and across the UK. So, we are hoping to receive applications that fit either of those; either a project which relates to the legal sector, or a project that relates to social mobility outcomes more broadly.
Q3. Can you define what you mean by social mobility? We work with disadvantaged people with a history of homelessness, social mobility for them may mean helping them to develop transferable skills to improve their employability. Would this count?
A3. Within Shoosmiths’ approach to social mobility, and definition of socio-economic background, we typically consider factors such as parental qualifications and occupation, state school education, and eligibility for free school meals (and their potential impact on a person’s opportunities in work and life). However, we also appreciate that definitions of social mobility can be nuanced, and so are happy to receive applications which may define social mobility in other ways.
Q4. What is being done to encourage BAME or women-led charities to apply?
A4. We are using our networks, and social media, to advertise the Shoosmiths Foundation and this includes highlighting the opportunity to organisations which are led by, for example, a high quotient of women, or have ethnically diverse leadership teams.
We are keen to see projects which clearly define their social mobility ambitions, and projects which focus on particularly underrepresented groups.
Q5. Would supporting young people originally from lower income households to become charity trustees be something you would be interested in supporting?
A5. We would need to see the details of the project in the application process but creating opportunities for young people from lower income households is something we would consider under the social mobility theme.
Q6. Will grants be open to established charities only, or will there be an opportunity to support people who want to set up a charity with a grant or to support other organisations progressing the Shoosmiths Foundation priorities?
A6. Only UK registered charities will be able to apply to the Shoosmiths Foundation.
Q7. As charity projects develop will Shoosmiths provide support to help navigate problems or risks that arise?
A7. No. The role of the Shoosmiths Foundation is to act as a grant making body and so it will be seeking to provide grants to support robust and sustainable project applications and will not be providing additional assistance.
Q8. What size of charities are you aiming to support?
A8. The Shoosmiths Foundation has not set size boundaries, but in offering grants of between £5,000 and £50,000 in this round it is hoped this will encourage applications from charities of any size.
Q9. What sized grants can be applied for?
A9. In this current grant application round the Shoosmiths Foundation is seeking applications of between £5,000 and £50,000.
Q10. Could the grant be used to pay for core services?
A10. Applications must relate to a specific project and are not permitted for unrestricted funding requests.
Q11. Will each charity have a defined timeframe where Shoosmiths will be engaging with its progress?
A11. Yes, it will be dependent on the specific project supported in terms of the funding period requested by the charity.
Q12. Is this a UK wide partnership? Or just particular nations or regions?
A12. We encourage local and national applications. So, applications may cover England, Scotland and/or Northern Ireland, or the application may be local to one or more of our locations. Likewise, we encourage applications from charities that are local, regional, national or UK in scope.
Q13. Would an application be viewed more favourably if it was national or local in nature?
A13. We encourage local and national applications. So, applications may cover England, Scotland and/or Northern Ireland, or the application may be local to one or more of our locations.
Q14. When is the closing date for applications?
A14. The closing date for this round of applications is close of business Friday 23 July 2021. Dates of further rounds will be confirmed once the first round of grants have been awarded.
Q15. The Shoosmiths Community Investment Policy states that donations are not made to religious organisations. Does that mean a religious organisation running a social mobility project cannot apply for funding?
A15. Yes it can apply for funding. Any awarded funding cannot be used, however, for religious purposes. Applications need to clearly detail purpose of project and what funds would be used for.
Q16. Could an application consider any of the three funding priorities?
A16. All applications will be assessed against the social mobility funding priority, so whilst an application might also show how it relates to the carbon net zero or access to justice priorities if it does not relate to the social mobility priority the application will be rejected in this round of grant giving.
Q17. If our charity is already in receipt of funding from Shoosmiths are we still able to apply for grant funding?
A17. Yes, we encourage charities to apply even where for instance they are our current office charity partners, or where we have pro bono relationships. The connection with Shoosmiths needs to be explained in the application, however. This would include a Shoosmiths colleague volunteering for the charity or being a trustee member.
Q18. Does the Shoosmiths Foundation accept unsolicited applications for grant funding?
A18. No. Opportunities to apply for funding are restricted to calls for applications made by the Shoosmiths Foundation, published on the Shoosmiths Foundation website. To check out our wider community investment strategy see: https://www.shoosmiths.co.uk/our-responsibility/corporate-responsibility
Q19. Will unsuccessful applications receive feedback?
A19. It will not be possible to respond to individual applications.
Q20. Who makes the decision about which applications are successful?
A20. The Shoosmiths Foundations Grants Committee (SFGC), chaired by the Head of Corporate Responsibility, reviews applications and determines which applications will be awarded grants. The SFGC is made up of representatives from across the Shoosmiths Divisions and Directorates.
Q21. Do you have an appeals process?
A21. No. There is no appeals process. The decision of the SFGC is final.
Q22. Does the Shoosmiths Foundation fund projects that are longer than one year in duration?
A22. Yes, but if the requested funding is for a project of more than one year’s duration, a breakdown must be provided of the amounts required each year.
Q23. Does the Shoosmiths Foundation fund running costs or salaries?
A23. Such requests need to be detailed as part of the application to explain how they are relevant to the project for which funding is being sought.
Q24. There is only a week in between the webinar briefing on 14 July 2021 and the application deadline 23 July 2021. Will more information be sent in advance?
A24. We also provide Questions and Answers information on the website which we will keep updated. Please notify [email protected] if any other information would be helpful.
Q25. What will you consider funding?
A25. We are open to a wide range of projects, providing they can clearly articulate how they will advance social mobility. That might be at a local level, or a national level - examples might include provision of employability programmes, access projects, upskilling, or mentoring – but we are not prioritising one type of project over another.
Q26. To what extent is scale a major focus of the application?
A26. When reviewing applications, the Shoosmiths Foundation Grants Committee will be looking at a number of factors in relation to beneficiaries of the project. It may be that a project with a smaller number of potential beneficiaries has greater alignment with our geographies, has a more clearly defined commitment to social mobility, or better demonstrates a focus on particularly underrepresented groups.
Q27. Are you interested in employee involvement and volunteering linked to the project?
A27. Yes, we would be interested. Although it would not be a requirement of the application it could open up opportunities for wider engagement with Shoosmiths and therefore alignment with our wider responsible business programme, which includes employee volunteering, for instance.
Q28. How and when can charities apply for funding related to the access to justice category?
A28. Our funding priority in 2021 is the social mobility theme but that would not stop relevant funding applications being submitted in this round that also address access to justice. The SFGC will determine when calls for funding will be announced for our two other priorities and the website will be updated accordingly.
Q29. Is it essential for beneficiaries to have legal aspirations or is it suitable for them to just want to improve their future opportunities?
A29. The call for funding is not restricted to assisting beneficiaries with legal aspirations but to improve beneficiaries’ future opportunities more generally.
Q30. Is the Shoosmiths Foundation interested in supporting children and families out of destitution?
A30. We would need to see the details of the project in the application process but creating opportunities to support children and families out of destitution is something we would consider under the social mobility theme.
Q31. What is the value of grants typically awarded?
A31. The Shoosmiths Foundation was launched in June 2021 and for our first call for grant applications we are aiming to issue grants of between £5,000 and £50,000 to UK registered charities.
Q32. Do you like to support direct work, systems change work or both?
A32. We are open to a wide range of projects, providing they can clearly articulate how they will advance social mobility.
Q33. We are a charity that advocates for homeless people, meeting a need now that Legal Aid for homelessness cases is nigh on impossible to access. Would we be eligible?
A33. Yes potentially, although it would be dependent on a review of the social mobility related detail provided in the application.
Q34. Is there a timescale for use of funds?
A34. We are open to proposals of varying timescales, but a clear breakdown must be provided of the amounts required each year as well as a comprehensive explanation of how the project would be managed and delivered.
Q35. The form says in several places up to 2,500 characters. Could you confirm whether this is with or without spaces?
A35. Includes spaces. Applicants are encouraged to be concise in their responses, however, to ensure the key points made to support applications are clearly understood by the assessors.
Q36. Please can you advise the date that funding will be awarded to successful applicants?
A36. This is the first time we have issued a call for applications having launched the Shoosmiths Foundation 7 June 2021. Assuming we receive suitable applications, we will then be reviewing in the coming weeks with a view to awarding as soon as possible.
Q37. Is it possible to be sent the application form in Word document format?
A37. The application was created in our design software and so unfortunately a Word version is not available. Adobe Reader can be downloaded at: Adobe Acrobat Reader DC, free PDF viewer download
Q38. Would access to justice include family justice, via family law – or is it aimed at the criminal justice system?
A38. The areas of law practiced by Shoosmiths, so that any proposed social mobility project is aligned, can be viewed at: https://www.shoosmiths.co.uk/a-to-z
Q39. Could the funding be used to support destitute asylum seekers in rented accommodation as our main need is continuing funding for rent, utilities and some living expenses which we offer each person?
A39. This would be out of scope (under the current funding round), unless there were some longer-term outcomes associated with social mobility involved.
Q40. The application form asks for our 'Year-end balance' and our 'Savings (reserves, cash, investments)'. By year-end balance we are not clear whether you mean cash balance or funds/reserves balance?
A40. We ask for both gross income and expenditure to establish whether charities have a surplus/deficit. We also wish to understand funds/reserve balance which will equal the charity net assets in the balance sheet. Savings would be the total of any liquid assets (cash, investments) to meet any of the charity’s short-term cash needs.
Q41. The pandemic has highlighted the need for green fields. Could support be given to help retain our facilities?
A41. This round is looking to advance our social mobility aim and that aim would need to be made clear in any application.
Q42. We support children with their literacy and confidence - they are aged 9 - 12 years. The knock-on effect of improved literacy is huge. Does this fall within Shoosmiths’ remit of social mobility?
A42. Yes, we are open to programmes aimed at younger audiences, if the intended outcomes are social mobility focused.
Q43. Will food poverty projects for people with 'No Recourse to Public Funds' qualify for this grant?
A43. Any application would need to make clear how it would be advancing our social mobility aim so for example providing funding for food donations would not be applicable.
Q44. What are the timings for the decision making? We have a project that will go live this summer so understanding when the grants will be given is important.
A44. It is difficult at this stage to provide a timeline as it will be dependent on the number of applications received and if any further information is required of charities by the Shoosmiths Foundation Grants Committee when the applications are reviewed.
Q45. When would the funding be available from? Would a project taking place between October and December 2021 be too soon?
A45. See answer 44.
Q46. What is the Shoosmiths Foundation looking for in terms of geographical alignment?
A46. By geographical alignment, we mean a considered rationale as to why you’re focusing on particular audiences, or geography, in your application. For example, in the Shoosmiths Social Mobility Action Plan, we have aligned socio-economic research with localised recommendations for our offices.
Q47. Would you consider a project working with male sex offenders?
A47. Potentially, but it would be dependent on a review of the social mobility related detail provided in the application.
Q48. What does success look like for the Shoosmiths Foundation in working towards its social mobility priority?
A48. Success for us is tangible impact in advancing social mobility in the UK; but we are open to what the supporting measures are to achieve that depending on the project.
Q49. Where a charity is not national, does it need to operate in a geographical area local to your offices, in order to apply to the Shoosmiths Foundation?
A49. No, a charity would not necessarily need to operate in a geographical area local to our offices to be able to apply to the Shoosmiths Foundation for this social mobility focused round.
Q50. Would it be possible to split an application over three projects please or would an alternative option be to submit for one project?
A50. Either option would be feasible i.e. split between several or one project. Your charity would need to determine which option you submit however based on the amount of funding, scale of impact etc. Bear in mind too, the size of grants being offered.
Q51. Would you consider funding a multi-year project (e.g. up to £50,000 per year, for two-three years?
A51. For this round of applications the maximum fund available is £50,000. If the requested funding is for a project of more than one year’s duration, a breakdown must be provided of the amounts required each year to a total maximum of £50,000.
Q52. Do you undertake pro-bono or volunteering?
A52. The Shoosmiths Foundation is a grant-making body only but yes Shoosmiths provides legal advice pro bono and everyone is able to volunteer a day a year every year in the community. Check out our pro bono and volunteering policies here.
Q53. Would you look favourably on charities who can offer the opportunity to promote Shoosmiths' support publicly? What will your expectations be from grantees to highlight the support from Shoosmiths?
A53. The reason for the application form asking for such detail is to understand the charity’s approach and in order that appropriate outcome and impact information can be disseminated to a wider audience to advance social mobility in the UK.
Q54. Our 'project' would be recruitment of an additional member of staff, albeit doing similar work to existing positions. How do you define a project, and would this proposal meet your requirements?
A54. See questions 23, 25.
Q55. Will you accept an application for Primary programmes?
A55. Yes, we are open to programmes aimed at younger audiences, if the intended outcomes are social mobility focused.
Q56. Is there an age limit or restriction on people you would support?
Q57. Would you consider applications from charities that operate in the same areas of law that Shoosmiths practice in?
A57. Yes, we would.
Q58. Is Shoosmiths happy to fund pilots? Are you concerned about beneficiary numbers - i.e. are you looking for the highest number of young people as possible to be supported with the grant awarded?
A58. We would be interested in pilot projects and in understanding plans to make projects sustainable. In terms of numbers of beneficiaries, we are interested in the outcomes and impacts for the beneficiaries irrespective of numbers assisted.
Q59. Would Shoosmiths like to be the principle funder for a project?
A59. Shoosmiths could be the sole, principle or one of a number of funders of a project but would need to understand the part any Shoosmiths Foundation funding would play.
Q60. Does the outcome need to lead to employment, or is it about the individual/people reaching their own potential?
A60. It could potentially be either, but we would need to see the detail in any application.
Q61. Can you include a contribution to the charity's core costs as part of the project budget? We are a charity that works in prisons. We provide training opportunities to support rehabilitation, building better futures for people in the criminal justice system. Would you support this kind of project?
A61. We would need to see a breakdown of how requested costs would be spent and how such a project would advance social mobility.
Q62. When will the funding stream reopen?
A62. The Shoosmiths Foundation will issue further calls for grants, but the timing is to be determined.
Q63. We are set up as a Community Interest Company, not a charity. Can we also apply?
A63. No, at the moment only registered UK charities may apply for funding.
Q64. Can the project be used to create social enterprises working with young people who are refugees and migrants?
A64. Yes potentially, however any application and project would need to be led and managed by a registered charity.
Q65. Can we apply for ongoing long-term projects as long as they align with the aims of the Shoosmiths Foundation? Or are you looking to fund new projects?
A65. It could be either, but any application would need to clearly articulate the difference that Shoosmiths funding would make over and above any existing support.
Q66. Would charities be penalised if they chose a project start date that was before a funding decision was made?
A66. No, charities would not be penalised.
Q67. In terms of impact, do you have a preference for projects focusing on educational or employment outcomes?
A67. It could potentially be either, but we would need to see the detail in any application.
Q68. How quickly do you require the grant to be 'spent'. We have a project that fits the criteria, but it won't take place until early 2022.
A68. This would be appropriate timing.
Q69. Do you have a specific number of grants you plan to give?
A69. The number of grants we issue will be dependent on the size of donation allocated to each successful project.
Q70. Would you fund research?
A70. Potentially, we would need to see the detail in the application and how it would advance the social mobility aim.
Updated 20 July 2021