The Fore and Havering Council Launch a Pioneering Participatory Grants Programme

February 13, 2020

The Fore is excited to announce the launch of a new participatory, place-based grants programme for the borough of Havering.

The pilot programme, run by the Fore in partnership with the London Borough of Havering, Havering Compact,  the Mayor’s Fund for London, London Funders and The Badur Foundation, will provide unrestricted development grants and wrap-around skills support to a number of small charities and social enterprises based in Havering. The partners are all seeking to target funding into areas viewed by the community as those of greatest need, so, after a shortlist is created by The Fore’s skilled assessors, individuals from Havering will be making the final decisions.

There is a growing realisation that our civil sector is weakest precisely in the areas where it is needed most. NPC’s recent paper showed how the most deprived areas frequently have the fewest charities, and are also the places where existing charities find it hardest to survive.

Havering is one of the ‘coldest spots’ for charitable funding in London. Research in 2018 by London Funders found that Havering is underserved by the city’s foundations, and The Centre for London shows that Havering has fewer charities per head than almost any other borough. Per person, Havering receives less than a third of the charitable funding that goes to Redbridge or Barking and Dagenham.

Havering faces a uniquely challenging combination of social problems. Havering has the oldest population of any London borough, but is also one of the most rapidly changing places in the city, as a new, young, diverse and relatively disadvantaged population moves in.

To overcome these challenges, Havering must have a well-resourced, upskilled, stable and resilient civil sector.  This not only means providing more funding, but also offering a particular kind of funding. The Fore offers grants that enable organisations to invest in their capacity and resilience. We also offer access to the skills and training that can enhance organisations and ensure strong governance and impact management. Our research shows that these types of support help organisations grow their incomes and become more sustainable. If local charities can grow their revenues, the UK’s ‘cold spots’ will warm up.

It’s also just as important that our funding processes do not construct inadvertent barriers to access. Complex and arduous processes with narrow criteria can be extremely challenging to navigate for organisations with limited fundraising experience, time and resources.  We are therefore working on the ground in Havering to help charities apply and learn about their needs so when we start connecting them to new business skills and expertise, we will have the best chance of getting it right.

Finally, communities themselves need to be invited into the grant-making process. No one understands their areas better than them. This is why grants shouldn’t just be made in conjunction with the local authorities, but with the local people too.

We believe that open-access, charity-led funding can help civil society thrive. This is why we are excited to launch our programme in Havering. If successful, we will explore how we might use the programme as a template for working with other partners to strengthen civil society in other ‘cold spots’ across the country.

How to apply

To be eligible for the ring-fenced Havering funding, organisations must be a charity, CIC, CIO, CBS or constituted group and have an income below £500,000 based in Havering. Successful organisations will receive up to £30,000 which can be spent on developing their organisations, as well as paid places on an impact measurement programme and access to extensive networks of skilled volunteers. If you would like to apply for funding (and to learn more about how to write a great funding pitch) please register online for one of our application-preparation workshops at the following times:

Wednesday 4th March, 11:30am at MyPlace Youth and Community Centre

Wednesday 4th March, 3:00pm at Royals Youth Centre

Friday 6th March, 10:30am at the Council Chamber, Town Hall

Alternatively, you can reserve a place by calling Sinmi at The Fore on 020 7240 6192.