Proposals for a new approach to voluntary and community sector grants

Closed 23 Feb 2016

Opened 16 Nov 2015

Feedback Updated 22 Jun 2016

We Asked

We asked voluntary and community sector (VCS) organisations what they thought about our co-designed proposals for a new approach to grant funding.

You Said

We asked a local VCS organisation, Voscur, to help us to consult with over 150 VCS organisations and they did this through existing events, organising specific consultation events and organising a discussion programme about our proposals on Ujima radio.  We also held a number of events specifically for equalities-led organisations and ran a survey.  In total we talked to and received feedback from 225 people who were from over 170 VCS organisations (as well as from individuals and people from statutory organisations).  There was positive broad support for the proposals but people told us how the details could be improved and what their concerns were.  Voscur wrote a report with their headline findings.

We Did

We collated all the feedback from Voscur, our own consultation sessions, the survey and from letters and telephone calls.  We shared this feedback with the Prospectus co-design working group in March and we used it to shape our design of the final VCS Grants Prospectus.  We had two co-design working group meetings to talk about the consultation feedback and the changes that we needed to make.  The last co-design working group meeting was in May and since then the council has worked to make those changes and write the final prospectus.

We have made many changes as a result of the consultation and these are the main ones:

  • People liked our aim to reduce disadvantage but some people seemed confused about our aims and values.  We have now agreed three impacts for the fund: reducing disadvantage and inequality, improving health and wellbeing, increasing resilience.
  • People thought the values were too aspirational, were not clear enough and were not really values.  We have revisited our approach and have now agreed four clear ‘ways of working’ for organisations funded through the prospectus pooled grant.
  • People thought some of the 7 challenges were very prescriptive, some were very loose and people suggested more and different challenges.  We have decided to focus the prospectus on 5 challenges which are broad and interlinked.
  • We asked people what grant cycles would work best in a four-year prospectus and how we could make savings if needed.  As a result we have decided to offer 2-year small grants so that we can respond flexibly to changing or new need and 4-year medium and large grants.  We will be introducing tapers in years 3 and 4 for the medium and large grants.

Results Updated 30 Jun 2016



The Council currently invests £18m in the voluntary and community sector (VCS) each year through grants, rate relief and reduced rents on council-owned buildings.  

People from the council and the VCS have agreed that we need to focus the council’s grant investment on tackling disadvantage in the city, believing that by having a clear focus and working better together, we can use this money more strategically and effectively. 

Together we have designed a new approach to grant funding that will align up to £5m of revenue grant funding to make it work better for the people who need it most. 

VCS Grants Prospectus consultation events
There are a number of consultation events taking place for organisations that primarily serve equalities groups so we can better understand the likely impact of the prospectus on those communities.  See the document below wil full information on the events and how to book.

Why We Are Consulting

We now want to consult with voluntary and community sector organisations and other interested parties to find out what they think about our proposals.  We will use the feedback we get to help us shape and co-design a final prospectus and the grants processes we will need to implement it.

What Happens Next

The VCS grants prospectus co-design group will look at the feedback received and will use this to shape the development of the prospectus by June 2016.  We will then publish a document about the consultation feedback and what we did or changed as a result.


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