Friends Programme seeks projects to fund

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Lancaster University’s Friends Programme is currently accepting applications for the funding it allocates annually to a variety of projects.

The Friends Programme is a fund raiser for improvements around the University campus that “fall outside statutory funding but are vital to the life of the University”, according to it’s official website. It relies on donations from alumni as well as friends and contacts of the University in order to make the improvements that current students are witnessing. In the past, up to £160,000 has been donated, and the Programme is hoping to improve on this for this year’s applicants.

The donating alumni and friends of the University are contacted by a team of approximately 25-30 current students, who work evenings for three weeks a year, to telephone around and keep all donors up to date. As a part of working for the Programme, these students also get the chance to talk to graduates from Lancaster University, which provides a possibly useful connection for future progress in their degree.
The website further states that “The Friends Programme is a major part of Lancaster University’s development venture, which aims to generate funds to enable the University to achieve its long-term objectives.”

Some of the developments made on campus that the Programme has helped to fund include improvements to all the colleges, such as the provision of live entertainment equipment for Cartmel’s Comedy Nights; the introduction of The New Ideas Festival for Graduate College, which integrates everyday campus life and the city and how to present ideas for research students; and improved bar and seating areas and student provisions for all the colleges.

Several sports societies have also benefitted from coaching courses that the Friends Programme has funded, and the Theatre Society has been given the ability to take performances to the Edinburgh Fringe Festival through the Friends Programme, with a particular small group called The Offshoots given £5,000 in May 2010 to perform their adaptation of Dr Faustus. Other projects supported by the Friends Programme include the upcoming Roses Tournament with York University.

The 2010/2011 application window has opened and for those interested in applying for funding, forms can be picked up from the Alumni and Development Office. Applicants can vary from individuals to departments and colleges, most of whom will fall into the category to receive £2,000-£5,000. Applications should normally fall under one of the categories specified, according to details on how to apply online; Priority Fund, Student Support Fund, or Research and Academic Excellence Fund.

The deadline for authorisation by the Disbursement Committee is Friday, March 25. The Committee is made up of around 15 individuals who deliberate over applications before funding can be distributed by May 2011.

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