Voscur supports grassroots groups to share in Bristol’s flagship community development programme

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9 August, 2021


Bristol City Council’s Impact Fund invests £5.8m into community-led initiatives for a more equitable city 

40 local charities and social enterprises will receive £5.8m over the next four years targeted towards making Bristol a more inclusive and equitable city. The funding will help many of the communities hardest hit by COVID-19 continue to address the inequalities it highlighted, with equalities-led groups and resilient partnerships a key focus. 

Councillor Asher Craig, Deputy Mayor with responsibility for Communities, Equalities and Public Health, said: “The funding we’re announcing will build strong connections between people, encourage them to get involved in their community and to take action on things that are important to them. We want to strengthen the voice of our communities so people feel able to influence decisions and make positive difference long term. We are proud of our grant funding programme for VCSE organisations as we know the legacy of this funding is reducing inequality and improving the lives of citizens. COVID-19 has demonstrated how vital our voluntary, community and social enterprise sector is to the city.” 

Voscur provided targeted and tailored advice to many of the smallest groups applying to the fund (61% of applicants utilising support). Organisations successful in securing a grant will be invited to join Voscur’s BIF peer network to support their delivery and share their learning with each other and the wider voluntary sector. Groups that were unsuccessful will be invited to take up a range of Voscur support to help them identify other funding sources and develop their services and systems. 

Claire Wickham explained how support helped the Centre for Deaf in the short and longer-term: “As a micro-charity with a small number of trustees, Voscur’s bid review support was so valuable. There is no one on the staff who can proof read or do a higher level check on bids so [Voscur Associate] Monique's comments helped me refine the bid and increase my confidence. Rather than engage a professional bid writer, I knew that we are the people who know our communities and can write with a deep experience and passion. Monique's feedback enabled me to channel the experience of our staff and trustees into a format that demonstrated the difference we make clearly.”

The fund received applications for six times more funding than was available in grants, demonstrating the vitality and ambition of voluntary, community and social enterprise (VCSE) organisations in the city. This level of demand also demonstrates the further potential for community-led work to address long-term inequalities.  

Voscur’s Chief Executive, Sandra Meadows, reflected both the immediate success and work still to do: “Voscur is delighted the Bristol Impact Fund received such a strong and diverse range of applications, and we’re pleased we were able to support some of the city’s smallest and most innovative groups secure funding in this round. As we work to build new citywide partnerships and mechanisms for inclusion, it’s inspiring to see local organisations working so closely with their communities to tackle inequalities. Of course, many groups were unsuccessful too, and we’ll continue to help them find alternative investment and, where relevant, to bid for Bristol Impact Fund’s next round of small grants in 2022.” 

The new Bristol Impact Fund grants will run from 1 October 2021 to 30 September 2025. The next round of small BIF grants will open in June 2022. More information about the fund is available on the council's website.

The 40 funded organisations are: Ambition Lawrence Weston, Lawrence Weston Community Farm, Southmead  Development Trust, Community in Partnership Knowle West, Knowle West Health Park Company, Knowle West Media Centre, Windmill Hill City Farm, Heart of BS13, Full Circle @ Docklands, Talo Community CIC, Bristol Horn Youth Concern CIC, Vocalise Bristol CIC, Eastside Community Trust, Trinity Community Arts, Somali Kitchen CIC, African Voices Forum, Ujima Radio CIC, Bristol Somali Resource Centre, Step Together Volunteering Ltd, 1625 Independent People Ltd, Bristol Older Peoples Forum CIO, Bristol Women’s Voice, Bristol Disability Equality Forum, Centre for Deaf & Hard of Hearing People, Changes Bristol, Autism Independence CIC, Wellspring Settlement, Talking Money, CHAS Bristol, Bristol Refugee Rights, Refugee Women of Bristol, Borderlands, Bristol Hospitality Network, Project MAMA, The Brandon Trust, Bristol Law Centre, Resolve West, Stand Against Racism & Inequality, Off the Record (Bristol) and Bristol Mind.