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We are the umbrella body for the voluntary and community sector in Southwark. We support charities, community groups and individuals through capacity building, networks and training.

Update on grant pilot – Funding Differently: Neighbourhood health grants

In May, Community Southwark, United St Saviour’s Charity and Partnership Southwark launched a grant pilot that had been designed and implemented with voluntary and community groups in Southwark.

Its aims are to break down barriers to funding that voluntary and community organisations experience in Southwark as highlighted in Community Southwark’s recent State of the Sector research.

The grant is a pilot with VCS groups making decisions about how funds are distributed. It is a learning opportunity for all involved and following the first round of funding, there will be opportunities to look at the learning and further develop the pilot for the second round of funding.  We want to share our learning with those who make decisions about funding in Southwark.


The key features of the pilot are:

  • Voluntary and community (VCS) groups helped design the pilot and fed into decisions around the grants process and grant criteria.
  • A simple application process (one question) with a 6-week timeframe for groups to submit their application.
  • Groups could submit their application via a video clip if they preferred.
  • Unrestricted and flexible funding.
  • Due diligence processes were simple and based on trusting VCS groups in Southwark.
  • Any type of not-for-profit organisation operating in Southwark could apply including unincorporated groups and CICs.
  • The VCS made decisions about who was awarded grants.
  • Monitoring will be light-touch.
  • We will have a reflection session to look at what worked well and what could be better before the 2nd round of funding which will take place before the end of the year.

Grants of £5,000 each have now been awarded to 11 voluntary and community groups in Southwark.

The groups who have been awarded grants are:

  • Angels Community Hub
  • Cherry Garden Centre
  • MSL
  • Peace Ballers
  • Peckham Soup Kitchen
  • Skills development training
  • South London Urban Growers
  • Southwark Independent Voice (SIV)
  • Southwark Refugee Communities Forum
  • Southwark Stars Disability Football Club
  • Sporting Recovery CIC

Find out more about the grant – where we’re at, the learning so far and plans for the future HERE.

If you have any questions, comments or feedback, please contact Katherine at katherine@communitysouthwark.org