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Impact and Learning report for Funding Differently 2023-24

Inclusive, unrestricted and light-touch – how an innovative grant model has addressed challenges with funding.

Inclusive, unrestricted and light-touch – how an innovative grant model has addressed challenges with funding.

In 2023/24, Community Southwark, Partnership Southwark and United St Saviour’s Charity worked with voluntary and community sector (VCS) groups, the statutory sector, and funders to develop a grant process that aims to break down barriers to funding that VCS organisations experience in Southwark as highlighted in Community Southwark’s recent State of the Sector research.  The main challenges highlighted were complicated application processes, unclear decision-making, and not enough constructive feedback.

Twenty-one grants of £5,000 were distributed to VCS groups in Southwark via two rounds of funding, with the voluntary and community sector making decisions about the grants process and who was awarded grants.

We collected feedback and learning throughout the pilot.  You can read more about it in our final impact and learning report HERE.

What happens next?

  • Community Southwark is keen to share the learning from the pilot with organisations that distribute funds to the VCS in Southwark.  We have already started talking to funders and the statutory sector about the pilot and how its processes and principles can be incorporated into other grant programmes.
  • Funding differently 2024/25 will launch on 13th May 2024. Partnership Southwark have allocated £200,000 to the fund and there will be grants of £5,000 and £10,000 available.  Once again, there will be a simple application process and groups will have six weeks to complete an application.  We will be running an online workshop to support groups with applications as well as offering one-to-one support with reviewing applications.  We will publish further information closer to the launch date.

A huge thank you to voluntary and community groups in Southwark whose feedback and input have shaped the pilot and helped develop a grants model that promotes trusting relationships and efficient grant processes.

For further information, please contact Katherine de Kretser, Projects Team Manager: katherine@communitysouthwark.org