Looking for some advice on small spend amounts from people running projects with Activity Plans please. I'm not allowed to claim any money unless it's £50 or more; but a lot of my spend is under £50.00.
I work for a small, council-run heritage site. Our HNLF project is a partnership with a larger council, who are leading the project. At the moment my only budget is the activity plan budget. The project ends in Dec this year, when I will then have a council budget to work with. I've worked on smaller Lottery projects of a few thousand and never met a challenge from the organisation running the project about amounts of money spent. This minimum £50 per spend is new to me, and the Project started in 2015, so it's new in this Project.
I'm the community engagement officer and deliver a lot of the Activity Plan. It's a new, permanent post which began at the start of the Project and part of the Activity Plan is to set up new opportunities that the post offers - for example, I'm creating a menu of led workshops for schools; I'm training to be a Forest School leader to use our outdoor spaces; a youth panel.
There has never been anyone running any kind of offer for schools or families here before. I'm busy creating workshops for schools, setting up our Forest School offer, creating a series of resources to use with families etc. Sometimes I spend small amounts of money. Some examples: I bought a throw rope for Forest School as we're by water; I buy pizzas, squash, sweets, baking materials for our youth panel now and again; I bought some toys in a charity shop and some from the Pound Store to use in the wood for Forest School; I ordered some peelers for Forest School; I bought ground sheets from a shop where they were cheaper than buying in a large order I raised for Forest School equipment. These are all small amounts under £10.
We've been advised by the council who are leading the Project that we can't spend less than £50.00; if we do, it has to come from our council's budgets, even though I'm spending money on work that's in the Activity Plan. And I currently don't have a council budget as I'm still delivering the Activity Plan. The project leads say that it's too expensive to spend time recording small amounts of money and their staff don't have time to do it. My challenge is that in order to get the various things I need from one place will take me time to find somewhere that sells them all; and I won't be necessarily getting the best value for our spend. In fact it looks like in some cases I'll be spending more money on items purely in order to be able to use the Activity Plan budget when I buy; to me that's going to be a waste of money. For example, my tutors have advised me to buy second hand gloves and snow suits from charity shops so that I have a small stock as back-up for Forest School; they're usually relatively unworn as children outgrow them so quickly. In order to spend £50+ I'll be buying fewer items, at more cost.
Has anyone had a similar challenge? Any advice? Many thanks in advance.