I didn't want to have to write this blog post - but I always knew it was a possibility. The HLF met on September 20th and decided not to approve our application re No 14. I received the news in a phone call the following day, and then had the task of informing all the people who have worked so hard on this project, those who have backed us, and the public in general. Not an enviable task really, but I kept reminding myself that it would have been even worse not to have tried to do anything at all about Norman's old house. At least we were in there fighting, and bearing in mind that 50% of HLF applications are thrown out at the application stage, and only a third of those that reach the panel are approved, we were always up against it.
That phone call was hard to digest but it's important to take on board the positives. Those are very positive indeed - 1, the feedback indicates that the substantive elements of our application attracted no negative comments; 2, the HLF believe our project has the potential to succeed; and 3, they told us we are welcome to apply again. Equally encouraging has been the response of my fellow members of the Working Group who are unanimous in their determination to keep going and apply again next year, and indeed the response from the many members and others who have urged us to keep going.
We will take on board the HLF feedback, examine all other ways in which we can strengthen our application, and do all we can to follow in the footsteps of the many organisations who have succeeded at the second attempt.
Charlie Lambert, chair of the Norman Nicholson Society