Last week (7 March 2017) Bristol City Council’s Cabinet approved the allocation of grants worth £3.29m from the Bristol Impact Fund to 49-life improving projects to help the city’s most disadvantaged people.
The local voluntary sector helped to design the process to make awards from the fund. It brings together many existing city council grants into one place, allowing money to be allocated in a fairer, well planned way to achieve maximum benefit for local people.
Voluntary sector organisations which will benefit are working in areas including mental health and social isolation, hate crime, refugees and asylum seekers, employment and skills, HIV support, digital access and community hubs.
Marvin Rees, Mayor of Bristol, said: “The Bristol Impact Fund puts our money where our mouth is. We’ve been talking about the need for other players in the city to take on the shared city challenges enabled by the council. This is a prime example of this being brought to life.”
Councillor Asher Craig, Cabinet Member for Neighbourhoods, said: “We recognise that voluntary organisations are vital to many people’s lives and this is why we’re continuing to invest in them through this fund. We are grateful to the organisations that have helped with this process as their insight ensures the fund can really work for the voluntary sector.”
A number of organisations sat alongside the council on a panel which assessed the medium and large bids worth more than £10,000. These included Quartet Community Foundation, Locality, Bristol Ageing Better, the Big Lottery Fund and Wylde Meadows Consultancy. Smaller grants were also assessed by a panel with an independent member.
Adam Rees, Programme Director at Bristol Ageing Better, said: “The city’s voluntary and community sector are vital partners in addressing the challenges facing Bristol. It was important that they have been involved in the design of the fund as well as in this decision-making.”
Sandra Meadows, independent advisor on the BME voluntary sector from Wylde Meadows Consultancy, said: "Bristol City Council and partners worked extremely hard to ensure funding remains available through the Bristol Impact Fund to support the vital work of our voluntary and community organisations. I am pleased to have played a role in such an innovative, well managed process that so clearly demonstrates the benefits of good partnership work and diversity of thought."
In recommending which organisations to fund, the panel looked at how bids addressed key challenges; which groups would profit; which part of the city they’d benefit and what other projects were already being funded in the city. Organisations bidding for grants were asked to demonstrate how they could use their skills and experience to address five key challenges which affect disadvantage including:
improving access to information
reducing social isolation and improving mental health and wellbeing
enabling influence and participation in the community
There was also a requirement to show how they could provide timely support to help people to live independently, whilst supporting and connecting communities.
Through the Impact Fund, 70 organisations will be funded to deliver 49 proposals – 31 organisations are new to the streamlined funds and 23 of these have not benefitted from any council funding previously. Many of the projects are partnerships, with voluntary sector organisations working together to benefit local people. £140,000 has also been reserved to commission organisations to deliver voice and influence for equalities groups.
There will be some organisations which will no longer receive grants from the council and where possible, the council would connect these organisations to other potential funders. The Bristol Impact Fund will also make it easier for other funders in the city to recognise where they may be able to complement the council’s grants, effectively pooling money to address common issues if they wish.
The Cabinet-approved list organisations recommended for funding:
Medium - Large grants:
Avonmouth Community Centre
Bristol Poverty Action Group
Filwood Hope Ltd
Hartcliffe Health and Environment Action Group (known as HHEAG)
Knowle West Media Centre
Lawrence Weston Community Farm
Off The Record
St Werburghs Community Association
Borderlands (South West) Ltd, Bristol Refugee Rights, RWoB HUB
Avon & Bristol Law Centre, LGBTBristol, Bristol Mediation, Bristol Mind, SARI, Brandon Trust
The Brigstowe Project, The Terrence Higgins Trust
Bristol Community Transport Limited, Social Access Limited (known as Bristol Diala- Ride)
Knowle West Health Park Company, Southmead Development Trust Ltd, The
Wellspring Healthy Living Centre
Boundless Futures CIC, Easton and Lawrence Hill Neighbourhood Management (known as Up Our Street)
Barton Hill Settlement, Bristol Somali Resource Centre, St Werburghs City Farm, Wellspring Healthy Living Centre
Barton Hill Settlement (with Talking Money, Bristol Somali Resource Centre)
Dhek Bhal (with Bristol Black Carers, Evergreens, Golden Agers, Malcolm X Elders).
Centre for Sustainable Energy (with Talking Money, WE Care & Repair Ltd)
The Green House Bristol (with Womankind Bristol Women's Therapy Centre Ltd)
Hartcliffe & Withywood Community Partnership (with Lawrence Weston
Community Transport, The Inns Court Community and Family Centre)
Bristol Women's Voice
Windmill Hill City Farm
Independent Sex-workers Against Violence
Vanquish Internet Exploitation
Cruse Bereavement Care
Bristol Organisation for Sickle Cell and
Thalassaemia Research (OSCAR)
Henbury and Brentry Community Council
Step Together Volunteering
RSVP West Region (Retired & Senior
African-Caribbean Men’s Wholistic Health
The Misfits Theatre Company UK
Oasis Community Hub North Bristol
Bristol City of Sanctuary
Network Bristol Hearing Voices Network
Growing Support CIC
Rising Arts Agency CIC
Bristol Zimbabwe Association
Growing Futures UK C.I.C.
Trinity Community Garden
Hype Dance Company
R elevant Cabinet papers can be viewed here and supporting information here .