The Bristol Impact Fund - Funding available for community groups: LWCommGarden BlaiseWeston 03.07.19 Mountford(28)

12 Jul 2019

Economy, Enterprise, Business and Jobs

The Bristol Impact Fund - Funding available for community groups

Bristol the last of the Core Cities to offer such grants

Grants are being made available to support life improving projects which empower some of the city’s most disadvantaged people.

Community groups in Bristol are now able to bid for a new round of small grant funding from Bristol City Council’s Bristol Impact Fund (BIF).

The BIF was formed in 2017 when a number of the council’s grant funds were brought together into one place. The aim of the fund is to tackle disadvantage and inequality, improve health and wellbeing and increase resilience.

The only one of the Core Cities to maintain its impact fund despite reductions in central government funding, Bristol’s grant awards have sought to address inequality challenges such as reducing financial, food and fuel poverty, tackling unemployment, improving access to information, services and opportunities in the city and reducing social isolation.

So far, more than 4,200 citizens have benefitted from 20 small grant BIF funded projects.  Previous projects have included helping B&ME woman to start their own business or get back into work; a theatre group working with people with learning difficulties to build confidence and social networks; and peer support groups for people with a mental health issues.

Because of this success Bristol City Council is inviting applications to a second round of grant funding. The total funding available will be £313,020 and grants will run from December 2019 - November 2021.

Councillor Asher Craig, Deputy Mayor and Cabinet member for Communities, Equality and Public Health said: “We want to empower communities.  We know that with modest amounts of funding, a group of committed citizens with a good idea can make a really big difference.

“The Bristol Impact Fund was created because we know that there are people in our city who face multiple, complex and often deep seated issues and that disadvantage impacts on individuals, geographic communities and communities of interest.

“The Fund is a great success story for the city with the first round of small grants having made a real impact by empowering communities to take action on the things that will make a difference to them. We are pleased to be able to commit to a further round of small grant funding, demonstrating our belief in the VCSE sector and the power of communities to make a difference.’’

Previous BIF small grant recipients in the 2017-19 funding round can apply for a significantly different or new project or for one further year of funding for their original project, providing they make a strong case that an extra year’s funding will make their project sustainable.

To find out more about how to apply please visit: https://www.bristol.gov.uk/people-communities/grants-for-voluntary-and-community-organisations

CASE STUDY:

Step Together work to support disadvantaged young people to take positive action to change their lives, and the lives of others, through community volunteering. They were given a two year grant for £20,000 (£10,00 per annum).

Spencer’s Story:

Spencer has always struggled to stay in employment or further education because of his anxiety. He finds social situations and meeting new people extremely difficult. Having been passed from one support service to another, Spencer saw his friends from school moving on with their lives whilst he felt trapped in a cycle where he wasn’t achieving what he wanted.

When Spencer met Lucinda from Step Together, he had never thought about volunteering or the benefits it can have. He wasn’t sure what he could do. After chatting about his interests and getting to know him, Lucinda found several opportunities that they could visit together.

At his first volunteering session at a local community café, Spencer experienced a panic attack. Lucinda was there to support him and helped him calm down.

This became a turning point for Spencer and since then he has attended an ‘earn a bike’ workshop, where he was able to refurbish a donated bike, learning basic mechanical skills in the process and has begun the initial volunteer training with 1625ip for a role supporting young people on money advice workshops.

Although Spencer still struggles with his anxiety, he is now clearer on what we would like to do and has been able to meet people and start new friendships. He has even started to look again at applying for jobs.

"I feel a lot happier having volunteered. I feel like I've finally done something. I need to be able to do stuff on my own, so I just had to do it.”