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Update on funding differently: neighbourhood health grants

Find out how our grant pilot that seeks to make funding processes more accessible and transparent has progressed and find out how you can apply to the next round.

In May, we launched the first round of a grant pilot that we are coordinating with Partnership Southwark and United St Saviour’s Charity.

The pilot seeks to break down barriers to funding that VCS organisations experience in Southwark, as highlighted in Community Southwark’s recent State of the Sector research.

In August, 11 voluntary and community groups received grants of £5,000 each – you can find out more here.

In September, we met with groups to agree the grant-making process for the 2nd round which is due to launch on the 30th October.

Community Southwark identified 3 key areas for discussion based on the data and feedback that we had collected so far. 16 representatives from VCS groups met and through fruitful discussions agreed to make 3 key changes for the next round of funding. You can find out more here: Funding differently – decisions made at reflection session

Learning so far:

“This pilot supports UStSC ambitions to challenge the power-dynamics surrounding grant-making processes and we’re learning so much from the programme about how to do this.” 

Sarah Thurman, United St Saviour’s Charity

So far, we have learnt that the process itself of agreeing the pilot is useful for both VCS groups involved as well as funders.  Groups are learning from each other as well as giving valuable feedback and insights that has shaped the pilot.

It’s clear that groups have found a simple application process beneficial as it allowed them to say what they do without spending lots of time away from their work of supporting people in their communities.  Transparent decision making has been important for groups.  Groups who were part of the decision-making have also learnt from this as they were able to see what other groups were doing in Southwark and how they tell their story – as well as practical examples of what makes a good funding pitch, this has created opportunities for collaboration .

We’re talking to groups who have received funding in the next few months and will be taking a closer look at how the funding and the process they have been involved in has benefitted their organisation and impacted the communities they support.

“The workshop was really helpful to understand the reasons for the funding differently approach.”  ​

Upfront written confirmation of the process including timescales was excellent.  Having sight of all the 2nd stage applications was fantastic as we got to see the amazing work going on in Southwark and to put our own work into context.

Felt empowered by the process and was happy for our application to be judged by our peers.”


Next steps:

Applications open for the 2nd round on Monday 30th October 2023 and close on Monday 13th December 2023.

You can apply if you meet the following eligibility criteria:

  • A not-for-profit organisation (including unincorporated groups, CICs, CIOs and more) operating in Southwark.
  • Supporting people in at least 1 of the following wards: Camberwell Green, Faraday, Old Kent Road, Nunhead and Queen’s Road, Peckham. You can find ward names and areas on our website.
  • An annual income of £40,000 or less.
  • A group that supports people with disabilities and/or mental health needs. This can be preventative work and doesn’t have to the main focus of an organisation’s work.
  • Your organisation will need to confirm they have the following: A safeguarding policy, a governing document such as a constitution, a bank account in the name of your organisation.
  • Groups who have received funding in the 1st round are not eligible to apply for this round.

You will be able to apply via a link on our website and we will promote the opportunity widely.

If you have any questions, feedback or any ideas, please contact Katherine de Kretser, Projects Manager at Katherine@communitysouthwark.org or 07599 653 488.