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