Find those funds – Nursery World magazine

With nurseries currently under pressure to pursue new areas of funding, consultancy and software company Pebble believes it can be of practical assistance.  Its School Fund Finder is a paid-for, subscriber web service providing up-to-the-minute information about grants, funding and any free resources from businesses, organisations, foundations and trusts.


Julia Sharman, senior relationship co-ordinator, describes the company as a small family business which has been supporting nurseries and schools for 16 years. A year’s subscription to its School Fund Finder will cost a nursery between £120 – 150 a year, depending on how many children it has on roll. The company does not take any additional fee from successful fund applications.

‘Although times are tight there are still opportunities to access grants, funding and free equipment but often nurseries and schools miss out because they don’t have time to do the necessary research,’ says Ms Sharman. ‘Our online information pulls all this together and is kept bang up to date, so no-one’s time is ever wasted.’


Ms Sharman cites 02’s current award programme as an example of funding that nurseries may not be aware of; it is currently offering a substantial cash prize to a teacher who is nominated for their good practice.

The School Fund Finder also allows nurseries to search for funding for specific projects which could be around subjects such as nature or science. ‘There is a customised search facility and alerts to see only relevant funds, and users can store searches and receive email alerts when new funds become available,’ she says.  ‘Alternatively our subscribers can set us a challenge to source funding for a particular project and we will try and find someone who can provide the support,’ she says.


Subscribers also receive help with writing competitive applications for grants. ‘There are document templates and online advice on how to write these,’ says Ms Sharman. ‘We have a phone advice line which our subscribers can use on a daily basis if they feel they need it. They can receive feedback on any applications and advice on how an application can be progressed effectively.’


Pebble also offers School Fund Manager software which enables the online processing of voluntary payments, such as those for outings or resources, while School Fund Lite is designed to help schools and nurseries to make the transition from ledgers and spreadsheets to online management of funds.

Ms Sharman says Pebble likes to meet its subscribers face-to-face. ‘We offer free workshops to help them derive the maximum benefit from our Fund Finder site and we also offer paid-for sessions around fund raising strategies. These provide a useful opportunity to get feedback from our users so we can continue to take our services forward.’


“This was the first time we used School Fund Finder and they made the whole process very simple. Once we had decided where to apply they checked our application and suggested improvements which obviously worked as we were delighted to be awarded £1000. I shall be using their service again and would recommend them to any school needing help raising funds for projects.”
 – Nicki Shaw

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