Set up by my good friend Tim Moss, The Next Challenge Expedition Grant has just opened for applications. Up to £1,300 of funding is available for a big adventure, whether by bicycle or otherwise. The deadline for applications is Wednesday 26th August 2015. I caught up with Tim to ask about the grant and why he set it up.
1. What is your main reason for setting up the grant?
Six years ago I started a website to encourage and help other people have adventures. I’ve written lots of articles and responded to lots of emails but sometimes what people really need is a wad of cash.
I’ve never made much money from my website but last year it turned a small profit and, since I’m about to start a normal job, I decided to give away the cash I made in advertising revenue in 2014. That’s how the grant was born.
2. What exactly is on offer, and how do you think it’ll benefit the recipient?
The tangible benefits are as follows:
- Cash – £1,300 made up of donations from me, six other adventurers and 100 members of the public.
- Kit – from sponsors like Primus, Berghaus, Exped, Ortlieb and BAM.
- Advice – from me, if you want it.
Obviously being given money and a shiny Goretex jacket should help anyone with their expedition plans. But when I was awarded my first expedition grant, it wasn’t just about the money (which only covered a third of the cost), it was a huge confidence boost to have experienced expeditioners tell me that they liked my idea, thought it was possible and wanted me to do it.
3. Can you try and describe the ideal kind of application you’d receive?
I’m keen to get slightly novel projects – rather than just cycling from A to B or doing something many people have done before – but prefer simple ideas to anything too contrived.
I’d like the grant to make a real difference to someone and their expedition, which is to say that it’s aimed at someone who would struggle to complete their adventure without our support and who has not done much of this sort of stuff before.
Unlike most grants and sponsorship applications, you do not need prior experience to apply. As long as your idea’s realistic, being new to the adventure world will probably be an advantage rather than a hindrance.
4. Some would argue that adventures are whimsical and self-indulgent – why put cash into this as opposed to something more ‘worthy’?
Adventures can indeed be whimsical and self-indulgent and that’s one of the reasons I no longer dedicate all of my time to them. However, I decided to offer this money for a grant rather than to something ‘more worthy’ for two main reasons:
- Adventures changed my life. I would not be the person I am today without having the privilege of going on some fantastic expeditions. By finding someone new to the adventure world who needs a helping hand, I hope we can have a real impact.
- I have an adventure website so can have a far greater effect in this industry. If I gave £200 to a worthy charity, it would be put to good use but it would be no better than anyone else’s £200. But by offering a £200 grant on my blog, I’ve received £1,100 in matched funding from other adventurers and members of the public, reached thousands of people, and received hundreds of applications already.
5. Going forward, what do you hope that the grant will achieve in the grand scheme of things?
Everything I do with my website is aimed at encouraging people to have adventures and helping them to do so. If we give two, three or four people a few hundred quid and some bamboo t‑shirts then that’s two, three or four people we’ve helped.
But I’d also hope that of the several hundred applications that aren’t successful in getting money, some will be motivated to do their adventures anyway. Plus, yet more people will hear about the grant and read about all the great ideas, and perhaps some of those will be inspired to head off into the sunset too.
The grant will be annual and I hope its impact will go far beyond the small number of winners.
Thanks Tim! Visit thenextchallenge.org/grant to find out more. I’d encourage you to spread the word about the grant by sharing this article on social media – the more potential applicants it can reach, the better.