Nurturing caring, vibrant and caring communities – A snapshot of our story over the last year

We are really pleased to share the work that our Dudley CVS team have been doing over the past year in our most recent annual review. The 2016-17 review is a snapshot of the work we’ve done between April 2016 and March 2017 to support individuals, communities and organisations across Dudley borough.

Take a look at our annual review website and read about how we’ve been connecting and inspiring people and organisations to achieve positive change and championing their work.

Visit www.dudleycvsreview.org

Or, if you would like to read a short snapshot of our story, you can download our pdf version by clicking on the image below:

I hope you enjoy learning about the work we’ve been doing over the past year. If you’ve any feedback please feel free to leave a comment!

Be part of our collective story and share how you’ve been involved in our work or how you would like to get more involved! #dcvstory

Being part of our story and sharing the love

Crowdsource image

A couple of weeks ago, I thought I’d start an experiment. I’d been working on collating all the data, stats, facts, figures and stories for our annual report – yes, it’s that time of year again! We always like to include some of the feedback we’ve received over the year, because we recognise that it brings our work to life.

This year’s annual report will be a story of the exciting stuff we’ve been involved in over the past year; it’ll show how we’ve helped people make connections, how we’ve tried to inspire others and how we’ve championed great things going on across Dudley borough. But it’s not only our staff who’ve been characters in this story; our story simply wouldn’t be as rich without others – the people, groups, communities, partners and places that are crucial ingredients for nurturing caring, vibrant and strong communities in Dudley borough.

So, I took a chance and posted an invitation on Twitter, asking people to let us know how we’ve 1) helped them to connect; 2) inspired them; 3) championed great work. This is essentially crowdsourcing an element of our annual report to get some authentic voices to demonstrate what we’ve done together.

I’ve been staggered by the responses we’ve received so far. Here are a few of them:

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

The people who responded were:

Thank you so much to all of you for so readily responding!

If you’d like to share how you’ve been part of our story you still can! Simply comment below or use the #dcvsstory hashtag on Twitter or Facebook and join in!

Feelgood Choir has plenty to sing about: Grant funding success!

The Feelgood Choir really does have something to sing about, after being awarded a grant from Awards for All!

I’m really pleased to have been able to help the Feelgood Choir to get established and to access some funding to give it a great kick start!

The Feelgood Choir originally started as Dudley Mind Feelgood Choir, with the idea that group singing could be a wonderful aid to mental health. The choir regularly sang at shows and events, including at two Dudley Volunteer Awards where they really revved up our attendees.

Late last year, two choir members contacted me to explore the idea of setting the choir up as an independent group that might be able to manage itself and make it more sustainable. Due to cuts to the voluntary sector, Dudley Mind could offer the choir limited support and a free venue for rehearsals, but could no longer cover all the costs involved with running the choir.

I got together with Jan and Val and talked them through setting up as a voluntary group. I helped the group get set up on a firm footing by explaining the role of the committee and helping to develop the constitution.

The next step was to think about planning the group’s work so that we could identify what difference the group wanted to make to people’s lives and how it would do that. This also involved thinking about what costs were involved so that any funding application we worked on would be as detailed and specific as possible. We came out with a simple plan and I recommended Awards for All as an appropriate funder to approach.

Jan worked incredibly hard on the funding application, putting in research, stories from members and learning from running the choir with help from Dudley Mind. I was on hand to review the application and make some suggestions for improving it so that it was completely clear. It was a great application; you can always spot a good application but these days the competition is so tough that there’s never any guarantee.

feelgoodAfter a few months of waiting and nailbiting, we finally heard the great news! Jan popped into our July DY1 drop in, with a beautiful orchid and a beaming smile to say thank you for the support. It really was a pleasure to help them and Jan should get great credit for all of the commitment she’s put into making it happen.

While working on the bid, Dudley Mind had to close Dove House where the Feelgood Choir rehearse because of further cuts to its funding. Thankfully, the Feelgood Choir was able to secure another venue – DY1 itself! – to continue rehearsing and now it has room for many more members. So if you’d like to join a fun, welcoming group, you can go along at 6.15pm on Wednesday evenings (except in August). It’s £4 per week and no experience is necessary. They don’t do auditions either; everyone is welcome.

The Feelgood Choir is also holding a summer fundraiser on Friday 21 July, 6.30-9pm at the Carlisle Centre in Stourbridge. Admission is £5 and you’ll enjoy homemade cakes, a quiz and of course performances from the choir itself. For more information on this event and to learn more about the Feelgood Choir, visit its lovely website: feelgoodchoir.co.uk

A snapshot of our work supporting people, communities and organisations over the last year

1

I’m really pleased to share the work that my colleagues and I have been doing over the past year in a our most recent annual report. So new, it’s not yet hot off the press, the 2015-16 annual report is a snapshot of the work we’ve done between April 2015 and March 2016 to support individuals, communities and organisations across Dudley borough.

Continue reading

2014/15 a year of change and challenge

Following four very successful years (funding wise) 2014/15 proved to be a year where funding successes were much reduced however other opportunities came to the fore.

In the 4 years previous over 100 successful funding applications generated above £5M in new money into Dudley to support the great work of the voluntary, community and faith sector. However in 2014/15 there were just 13 successful applications resulting in new funding for organisations in Dudley totalling just over £700,000.

2 Big Lottery successes for Dudley Advocacy (£296,892) and Summit House Support (£288,287) were the grant funding highlights of the year. Lynda Nock from Dudley Advocacy said:

Martin was always ready to answer questions as soon as he could and his response whether by phone or email was prompt and efficient. I knew straight away that I could rely on him and his knowledge

A friendly, approachable method of working and always professional, in meetings and over the phone and email

Nothing changed in my usual approach to supporting the sector; I worked with 30 organisations, having over 60 meetings during which funding opportunities were identified and applications discussed.

What did change though was being involved in different approaches to securing support for organisations in our sector and to help them in becoming safer financially and more sustainable. During the year I attended various workshops/training courses around Social Finance and European funding.

As a result a series of articles on Social Finance have appeared in the Echo newsletter during 2015. The Building Better Opportunities funding initiative financed through the Big Lottery and EU funding has been launched in the Black Country and we are very much involved in Dudley.

Alongside all this activity I am continually discussing with organisations other ways of being more effective and efficient in these days of funding cuts and austerity. Suggestions include expanding services and bringing in a charging structure where appropriate (trading) as well as working more collaboratively and sometimes in partnership to achieve economies of scale, reducing costs etc.

Whilst the aim of this short blog is to show our involvement and successes at the front line of funding it is also here to reassure the sector that we are very much at the forefront of change and always keen and willing to support organisations as we move forward in these often challenging and exciting times that we currently live in. Lynda sums this up well by saying:

With the impact of statutory funding cuts within the voluntary sector, I believe that the funding information/advice/support that DCVS offers is vital for voluntary organisation to obtain funding in the future

 

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.

Completing your Awards for All application

Here’s a useful post from the Big Lottery Fund on the mistakes to avoid when completing your Awards for All application. As incomplete applications can’t be assessed, it’s really worthwhile doublechecking your application before submitting it, to avoid unnecessary delays to your project. Have a read and learn more below.

You can always get help with your Awards for All application from Dudley CVS and we have loads of experience with building good quality projects and applications. And remember, Dudley borough is currently under-subscribed to Awards for All (see our last post on this here: http://wp.me/p4qxlT-5m), so it might be a good time to get planning your application!

We’re busy planning our Awards for All event with staff from Big Lottery Fund and Dudley Council where you will be able to work on some of the most important questions on the application form. The event will be in April and we’ll post details very soon.

The Big Lottery Fund Blog

When we announced our latest round of Awards for All grants this January, we took a look at some of the most common mistakes made when applying for our small grant funding, and how you can avoid them.Application-blog-image

It seems obvious, but you’d be amazed by the number of application forms we receive that are incomplete. If your application is not complete then it can’t be assessed. Make sure you thoroughly read through the application guidance first and ensure you answer all the questions in the form.

Again, it might sound simple but please double check that all of your personal information, such as names and addresses are spelled correctly.

The most common application mistakes we see are:

  • Contacts not being suitable; ensure your senior contact is able to be legally responsible for any grant we may offer.
  • The main and senior contact being the same person.
  • Home addresses, dates of birth and landlines not included…

View original post 214 more words

Dudley borough projects can get their hands on Awards for All funding

We’ve recently learned that Dudley projects are missing out on funding from Awards for All, a Big Lottery Fund programme that offers grants of between £300 and £10,000 for activities that run for 12 months or less.

You can learn more about Awards for All by watching this short video:

Continue reading

Notes from our latest funding workshop: Developing your community facility

Dudley CVS has always worked to broker relationships between funders and the groups we support, through working with big and small funders on their programmes and helping to promote them, searching for funders for our groups and supporting them with applications and bringing funders together with groups at regular ‘meet the funder’ events.  But last week, we ran a ‘meet the funder’ event with a difference, focussing on a theme which is becoming ever more popular in Dudley – developing community facilities and asset transfer.

In this post, you’ll find details of the event and the presentations that funders and others gave.

Continue reading