Building Better Opportunities – EU Funding

I am pleased to share some information with you on a series of events we are co-hosting with Simon Hall from the Black Country Consortium. These events will help you to learn more about the funding opportunities that will become available through European funding in the future.

The Big Lottery Fund is making available £220M against a similar figure from the European Social Fund (ESF). These funds are available to support communities and people most in need with the following priority areas:

  1. Targeted community support
  2. Digital and financial inclusion
  3. Troubled families/families in focus
  4. Employment support for the over 25s

Funding will be delivered through Local Enterprise Partnerships (LEPs) paying particular attention to the above local priorities. Examples of work that could qualify for support are:

  • Improving employability for the most disadvantaged
  • Helping those with multiple and complex needs
  • Improving financial literacy

The briefing will outline both the ESF/Big Lottery priorities and the expectations of the Black Country LEP around each of these themes and how you could potentially get involved.

The same briefing will be run on three different occasions as follows:

To book please click on the appropriate link above.

State of the sector – key findings from survey and discussions

In December 2014, Dudley CVS carried out a state of the sector online survey. The time felt right for Dudley CVS to explore:

  • The contribution being made by the voluntary and community sector
  • The future support needs and priorities of voluntary and community sector organisations
  • The impact of the financial economy on the voluntary sector

Once the findings were collected, NAVCA, our National body, helped Dudley CVS to analyse the results. Caroline Beavon then helped us to produce a colourful infographic poster as a creative way to share the findings with the voluntary sector and partners across Dudley borough. You can view the infographic report here:

On 24th March, a CoLab enquiry session was held to explore further the results with voluntary sector groups and to dig deeper into the findings.

The survey was divided into the following three categories:

  • Demographic data of respondents
  • The state of the sector today in terms of demand for services, income, funding, impact, quality and difference
  • Focus on the future in terms of priorities, support needs, challenges, hopes and fears

This report presents more detail on findings from our survey and outcomes from discussions held on 24th March with voluntary and community sector organisations and partners. To view the report click on the link below:

Missed opportunities? Demonstrating our worth online

Photo credit: mkhmarketing / Foter / CC BY

Photo credit: mkhmarketing / Foter / CC BY

A study published by Lloyds Bank has reported that more than half of charities lack ‘basic digital skills’, especially compared with small business. You can read the full report here.

The study particularly focuses on the lack of understanding about how a web presence can increase donations and other forms of finance, but it also chimes with one of Dudley CVS’s priorities for the forthcoming year and one of the key findings of our recent state of the sector survey –  voluntary and community organisations would like some support with telling their stories online.

Being able to demonstrate your impact online, at a time when organisations cannot solely rely on grant-funding alone to survive, might expose your organisation to new sponsors, supporters, crowd-funders, investors, donors, businesses looking to fulfil their corporate social responsibility principles. But the reasons may not be purely financial. Having a web presence can be empowering for your organisation and the people you support; you can run campaigns, dispel myths, inspire people, connect, share and learn.

But what do you think? What do you think about the report? What has an online presence allowed you to do more easily? What are the barriers to getting your organisation on the web? Is it resources, skills in tech and design or anything else? How could we all support each other to grasp new opportunities that the digital world might offer?