Funding and Support for the VCS
Southwark Council is the largest funder of the voluntary and community sector in the borough, and offers a number of different funding types from grants to contracts.
The Council has stated their commitment to working with, and supporting, the VCS in Southwark, and you can find more more detail about how they will do this, and what their strategic plans are, on their website.
This includes details of the recent reviews of their funding programmes that were carried out, and news of the changes made as a result – particularly around the barriers Black, Asian and minority ethnic groups face when applying for these funds. These reviews were presented to Community Southwark members at the recent Funding Conference, and you can view a recording or read the report highlights on our website.
A key resource from the Council is the Forward Plan of funding opportunities, both grants and contracts. This shows what grant programmes are currently active, or are upcoming, as well as details of their current contracts and what will be available to bid for soon. This was last updated in March 2022.
All Southwark Council grants are administered via their online grants portal – Southwark Grants. This lists all currently active grants programmes, and will be updated in line with the Forward Plan above. We will also update our Funding Database with all the latest opportunities, and circulate them via the regular Funding Bulletins.
Contracts and Procurement
Southwark Council spends over £650million a year on supplies, services and works, which includes a large amount going to voluntary and community organisations who run key services in the borough. For example, you can see details of the current contracts held by VCS groups to deliver things like employment support and child services in the Forward Plan above.
When these contracts end they will either be renewed or put out to tender, and other organisations will have the chance to bid and take the work on. All contracts over £25,000 are advertised via the Pro-Contract portal.
The Council is aware that procurement is a complicated process and can be very difficult for VCS groups to take part in, and so have developed some new guidance and advice on tendering.
Community Southwark will be working with them and the VCS to arrange more training, guidance and support, to ensure this is a level playing field for all involved.
Properties and premises
The Council owns and manages a large number of properties in the borough, and makes details of properties that are available to let via their website.
Community Southwark is aware that a lack of premises and space to carry out activities is a major issue for VCS organisations, and are working to provide more information and support on this.