First BIG grants to help VCS groups plan for more sustainable future
Over 90 Voluntary and Community Sector (VCS) projects in England will be able to better plan for their future in the uncertain economic environment after receiving Big Lottery Fund (BIG) grants today.
The 93 grants of up to £10,000 come from BIG’s £50m Supporting Change & Impact initiative – launched last year in response to concerns from the VCS about the effects of the public funding cuts and the future sustainability of existing projects and services.
The money announced today will give existing BIG projects in the last 18 months of their funding some vital time to review the way they work and explore ways of becoming more sustainable. Activities include developing more effective operating models, partnership working, or finding new ways to deliver activities in future.
Further announcements will be made before the end of March including an additional year’s worth of funding for some projects that can show they are having particularly significant impact to continue their project and carry out plans to make their projects more sustainable in the long term.
Receiving funding today, the National Association for People Abused in Childhood will use £10,000 to research data taken from the increasing number of calls they receive and document their expertise and learning through a survivor’s manual for their beneficiaries.
Chief Executive Peter Saunders, said: “We have such a success story here. This £10,000 will enable us to promote and consolidate our work to share with others and look towards the future. We receive thousands of calls and the data we gather from them will provide the basis for a research project, which will prove an invaluable resource to attract further funding and raise awareness.”
Manchester Care and Repair, which supports older people, has lost vital match funding and will use the £10,000 to develop a new strategic direction and identify new ways of working.
Chief Executive Maggie Walker said: “This grant buys us some time and is a welcome boost in our struggle to find new funders and to help older people in a very deprived area. We are coming to the end of four years funding from BIG, which helped local people to develop skills to be ‘champions’, getting accurate information to local older people. We will use the supporting change funding to retain some aspects of the project while we keep working on proving its value to get continuing income.”
Through the Supporting Change & Impact scheme, BIG is also making a total of £6.5million available to four Big Lottery Fund Award Partners – organisations that distribute funding on behalf of BIG – to enable them to offer further support to their grant holders.
MIND, RSWT, Natural England and Groundwork, all Award Partners from BIG’s Changing Spaces programme, will receive funding.
The full impact on the VCS of cutbacks is still to come according to the National Council for Voluntary Organisations (NCVO) which estimates that voluntary and community groups will face a reduction in public funding of over £900 million a year by 2016, losing a total of £2.8 billion in that period.
Nat Sloane, Chair of BIG’s England Committee, said: “The projects being funded today highlight the need for existing projects to be given the time and space to consider their future and how they need to adapt the way they are working to be more in tune with the fast changing environment. We have responded swiftly to the intelligence we have gathered to effectively get this funding to our projects when they need it most to help them make their projects future proof.”