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Funding Bolton’s Future Bolton Community and Voluntary Services Grants Performance and Impact Report November 2007

Author: Saskia Ritchie

Grants Performance and Impact Report 2007

Local Grants for a Vibrant Local Community

Bolton Community and Voluntary Services (Bolton CVS), the umbrella support organisation for local voluntary and community organisations, is now in its seventeenth year and continues to go from strength to strength in its support of the local voluntary and community sectors in the Borough. Our vision at Bolton CVS is of “a sufficiently resourced and sustainable voluntary and community sector which successfully meets the diverse and changing needs of the people of Bolton” Local grant funding plays a vital role in creating and supporting our healthy local voluntary and community sector. In turn, the work of our local groups contributes significantly to a healthy and active community. Whilst the size, type and focus of our local groups may vary, one constant remains: the need for funding that is accessible, flexible and low cost to arrange and deliver and that is linked to the delivery of strategic outcomes that matter here in Bolton.

The grants have helped us to encourage new members to get involved

The process is much less bureaucratic than it would be if administered by another organisation

We’re very happy with the staff at Bolton CVS

Both locally and nationally there is a recognition that alternative sources of funding need to be found for the voluntary and community sector. There is a government drive for voluntary and community groups to take up contracts and service level agreements with statutory providers, but this will only apply to a small minority of larger organisations. The vast majority of community and voluntary groups are smaller organisations that need to access small amounts of grant aid on a regular basis. With our successful track record of supporting and engaging local voluntary and community organizations, Bolton CVS is in a unique position to administer grants in the Borough. Our local knowledge and contacts are second to none and we are well placed to deliver grants that will make an impact on local priorities through our existing and effective grants administration framework. We are committed to continuing our work of funding Bolton’s future.


Grants Performance and Impact Report 2007

Overview of Grant History

Because the course encourages young people to talk with their parent…we have noticed a real improvement in family life quality

Since 2000 Bolton CVS has awarded grants to local groups totalling £2,417,428 to 1,546 local groups. In the last twelve months alone 158 groups have received a grant through Bolton CVS. Every group applying for a grant through Bolton CVS has immediate access to the high quality advice, support and training available throughout both Bolton CVS and our partner organisations based within The Bolton Hub. In 20062007 92% of groups making an application for funding received support or advice from a member of Bolton CVS staff. Working closely with local partners, our grants administration focuses on locally identified needs and ensures that the impact of every grant is beyond its initial scale. In 2006-2007 65% of grants had beneficiaries in areas designated as Neighbourhood Renewal priority areas and 23% of grant awards were classified during monitoring as having benefited people across the entire Borough. Almost 71% of grant recipients could be described as meeting one or more priorities from within the LAA. The spread of grant awards is evidence of Bolton CVS’ unique ability to target grant making at areas of high local priority needs whilst continuing to work effectively with groups meeting Borough-wide needs or working with specific communities or need groups.

When a child has lived with We are currently planning the development of impact Domestic Violence for all of assessment tools to enable us to further analyse the their lives, or most of it, geographic spread and impact. they become very isolated and insecure… Friendships were made Geographic Spread of Grants and phone numbers swapped which was a first for some of them! 12% NRF Areas 23%

Borough Wide Other Areas 65%


Grants Performance and Impact Report 2007 We have been able to increase attendance at our weekly meetings from 6 to 20

The funding we received was for start up costs and equipment. Because we are run by volunteers our actual running costs will be very low meaning we will be running the project way beyond the grant funding term

We’ve been able to do new activities because of the grant through CVS. We have also gained new members and volunteers

Bolton CVS delivers a range of Grant Programmes to local groups for a number of different donors. In 2006-2007 Bolton CVS delivered £232,826.93 through the following Programmes: £96,798.00

Bolton Vision Grants Funded through the Bolton Local Area Agreement


Creating Cleaner Greener Communities Grants Funded through Bolton Environmental Services


Great Lever Grants Funded through Great Lever Neighbourhood Management


Health For Bolton Grants Funded through Bolton Primary Care Trust


Breaks for Carers Grants Funded through Bolton Adult Services Department

Each fund has its own distinct priorities and Bolton CVS is very experienced and effective at targeting publicity about grants to the groups best able to meet the specific criteria. JUMBO, the Bolton CVS Newsletter is distributed to approximately 1500 groups each issue and our development workers and community ambassadors are in regular direct contact with many of these groups. The Creating Cleaner Greener Communities grant fund has been particularly effective in successfully supporting applicant groups through the dedicated Development Worker. Funds Distributed by Bolton CVS


£15,727 £96,798




Cleaner Greener Great Lever

Health for Bolton



Grants Performance and Impact Report 2007

Benefits of Bolton CVS Grants Administration

We helped him (local man) contact the Race Equality Council Harassment Project and the Police following an incident. He wouldn’t have spoken to them without our help

A Healthy and Independent Voluntary Sector Local grant funding, such as that offered through the Bolton CVS grant administration structure, plays a vital role in supporting and maintaining a healthy local voluntary sector. Distributing grants in this way allows funders to recognise the importance for local groups of retaining their independence whilst supporting a range of initiatives in regeneration and community development work. This represents a true commitment to partnership working at a very local level.

Value for Money Bolton CVS grants distribution is flexible, cost effective and in proportion to the size of each grants fund and maximum award. Bolton CVS carefully monitors each grant award to ensure good value for money and appropriate use. Because Bolton CVS Development Workers are available for one-to-one support, every applicant group has access to effective and quality advice, support and information.

Stronger Local Partnerships Delivering a grants fund through Bolton CVS offers a unique ability for a funder to build and strengthen local links and relationships and to develop new opportunities for innovative work at a local level through contacts who would often be uncomfortable with direct involvement with statutory agencies. The grant has encouraged parents to get involved in healthy play with their children and to share healthy food that they wouldn’t normally eat

Combating Isolation Many of the grants distributed through Bolton CVS are awarded to groups who work with some of the most disadvantaged and isolated individuals in the Borough. Often these are people who would simply be missed by more traditional approaches.

Maximised Impact We delivered a healthy lifestyle project combined with a crime prevention workshop to allow young people an opportunity to look at how crime affects local people

It is interesting to note that the impact of each fund is far wider than the fund total would suggest. For example Health for Bolton Grants were given to 17 groups, almost 27% of distributed funds are Health for Bolton Grants, whilst over 70% of groups stated that there was an improvement in physical or mental wellbeing as a result of receiving a grant through Bolton CVS. The range and breadth of programmes we deliver can directly contribute to the outcomes of one another therefore maximising impact and outcomes. 4

Grants Performance and Impact Report 2007

Impact of Grants through Bolton CVS

One gentleman felt very frustrated at the response to his personal attempts to highlight disabled issues. Now as part of our group he feels he can highlight these issues more positively‌ he has gained new friends with similar interests and feels less isolated.

Every grant awarded through Bolton CVS is rigorously monitored to ensure that it complies with the terms of the award and that the outputs set have been met. Groups have access to staff support to aid them in completing monitoring and there is regular training available through Bolton CVS that helps groups to look at the way they assess their own performance and impact. In addition to our stringent financial monitoring of grants, Bolton CVS have recently undertaken an assessment of the general impact of grants awarded on both the groups that receive them and the wider community. This allows us to look at the developments in Bolton’s voluntary and community sector infrastructure and the benefits to the wider community. Every group who has received a grant in the last two years is invited to take part in our comprehensive grants evaluation. This year the process included both a questionnaire and a series of focus groups during which participants were invited to reflect on their experiences of the grants process and to examine the way their grant award has affected both the group and its beneficiaries. 100% of the groups attending the focus groups identified monitoring as the strongest feature of Bolton CVS grants administration.

Who Benefits from the Money?

83% of groups participating in the questionnaire felt that their group had been strengthened by the support received through Bolton CVS. The focus groups identified the Bolton Vision Grants as being more difficult to access due to lack of development worker with a success rate of just 37% compared with that of the Cleaner, Greener Grants success rate of 98% Who Benefited From Your Grant?

People from Minority Communities People with Mental Health Problems

We used the grant for volunteer training

People on Low Incomes Disabled People Unemployed People Older People Children Young People 0% 10% 20% 30% 40% 50% 60% 70% 80% 90% 100%


Grants Performance and Impact Report 2007

Impact on Groups We have done loads of new activities because of the grant through CVS and we have new members and volunteers!

Bolton has a strong, healthy and vibrant voluntary and community sector with new groups emerging and existing groups developing all the time. Through our development work, support services, information and training work, we offer a comprehensive one-stop-shop approach to strengthening local groups. The grants awarded to groups through Bolton CVS link seamlessly to our developmental activities to enable local groups to continue to develop their services and in turn to benefit the wider community. This developmental emphasis is critical to supporting grant recipients to have a more sustainable future. This is emphasised by some of the difficulties encountered by groups making applications to the Vision Fund where there is no development worker in place to support applicant groups. Impact on Groups

We have been able to promote our courses to new people and many have now started ‘first step’ courses


Improve Volunteering Opportunities


Gain Volunteers


Promote Activities more Widely 51%

Get New Members 23%

Increase Sustainability


Develop our Organisation

We have been able to offer an excellent add-on to our existing service


Improve Networking


Support Core Activities Improve Current Service


Extend Current Service 62%

Offer New Service

Without this grant we would not have been able to set up this new service




Offer New Activity



30% 40%






Grants administered through Bolton CVS not only benefit the recipient groups and the beneficiaries but can also help the funders to meet their own obligations and deliver against their own local targets, for example through the Local Area Agreement. Funders gain instantly from the enriched relationships with local groups and local priorities are met in a far more meaningful way. 6

Impact on Bolton

We used our grant to work with young people that had issues around anger and socialising with peers

Grants Performance and Impact Report 2007 Local voluntary and community groups are experts at stretching funding and making even the smallest grants go a long way. They are also particularly effective at reaching individuals who do not engage with mainstream activities for a variety of reasons. The small size of local groups makes them closer to their members and better placed to identify their needs. This impact beyond the scale of individual grants gives Bolton CVS, as a local grants administration body, another edge over other grants funders covering a wider geographical area. Making their community a better place to live is the reason that many local groups come into existence. Improving quality of life for a specific group of people, be they in a geographic area or a community of interest offers a wide range of positive benefits. Bolton CVS monitoring and impact assessment allows us to map this benefit. In 2006-2007 local groups in Bolton identified the following benefits as a result of grants through Bolton CVS. Impact on Beneficiaries 56%

Involve People who Wouldn't Normally get Involved


Improve Mental Wellbeing 37%

Raise Awareness of Specific Issues

Benefits to carers from attending outings‌ feeling less isolated, feeling less stressed, forming friendships with other carers


Promote Healthy Eating


Promote Sport


Promote Play 49%

Reduced Stress


Improved Family Life Develop Life Skills

28% 63%

Develop Social Skills Promote Safety

24% 41%

Improved Employment Opportunities Improved Educational Prospects

26% 81%

Reduced Isolation New Learning Opportunities

32% 72%

Improved Health


Improved Confidence/Self esteem 67%

Offered Social Activities Improved Local Volunteering Opportunities


0% 10% 20% 30% 40% 50% 60% 70% 80% 90%


Grants Performance and Impact Report 2007

Funding Bolton’s Future

Continuing to support our vibrant local voluntary and community sector through the provision of local grants is a key priority for Bolton CVS. We are well placed to reach the groups that statutory partners may miss and to develop relationships that partner agencies may be unable to foster.

Benefits to carers from attending outings… feeling less isolated, feeling less stressed, forming friendships with other carers

Because we have a good understanding of local needs we are able to develop opportunities and support initiatives that would otherwise not happen. This is far more effective than the one-size-fits all approach to grant making that is offered by some regional and national funders. We are able to offer a lifeline for new and smaller groups whilst at the same time encouraging more established groups to develop their organisation or try innovative new approaches to local problems. Unfortunately most of the funding administered through Bolton CVS comes in the form of time limited grants programmes from larger partners and government agencies. An example of this is the Community Chest Grants that Bolton CVS administered until 2006. In one round alone over 55 groups were awarded a grant total of £155,000. The impact of these grants was astounding in terms of local benefit. Volunteering and employment opportunities were created, healthy living projects flourished and a number of brand new local initiatives were created. Sadly, in the absence of this funding, many groups have struggled to continue their activities. In March 2008 when the Bolton Vision Grants come to an end we will be in the same situation again. With the exception of the PCT’s Health For Bolton and Adult Services Breaks for Carers grants, every grants programme that Bolton CVS has administered to date has been a time-limited fund offering little in the way of long-term, sustainable benefit to our Borough.

One carer, who has never before visited the theatre, thoroughly enjoyed the performance and was very de-stressed by the end of the evening!

Local groups want a local grants fund that they can rely on. They need a local fund they know will be available and that will recognise and support the excellent examples of good practice we see regularly in our grants monitoring. During the series of focus groups we ran as part of this review, groups identified the development of a sustainable funding source as the number one priority for Bolton CVS as an infrastructure support organisation. All the groups agree that Bolton needs a sustainable fund of its own.


Grants Performance and Impact Report 2007

Recommendations Keep up the good work!

Grants administration through Bolton CVS delivers effective, efficient and high impact benefits to the groups, the end beneficiaries and the funders themselves. Delivering a fund through Bolton CVS is a cost effective and practical way for a funder to reach local groups, offering a low cost alternative to creating a grants team or employing new development staff. For the groups, Bolton CVS is the best option for grants applications because we are local, accessible, friendly and supportive.

Monitoring of our grant was right on target. Mark picked up on a small discrepancy and we’re really happy with that. You know you aren’t doing it for nothing when someone is going through it like that!

It is clear that Bolton CVS has an excellent track record and a well established and organised grants delivery team. It is important to build on this and not lose any momentum but there are a number of recommendations for future development: 1. The development of a more comprehensive impact assessment process as part of the current monitoring process. This should include a full grants review each quarter enabling Bolton CVS to ensure that it meets the priorities set in the best way possible. Priorities reviewed

Grant impact monitored & assessed

Big Bolton advisory group & FAD team

Grants Assessment Framework

Identify local priorities

Launch fund priorities

Grant awards publicised

Local, trained assessment panel

Support work with groups


Grants Performance and Impact Report 2007 2. Move towards every fund having dedicated development time. This is vital for the sustainability of each group. Groups with strong, trained and well supported members deliver far more effectively than those that are struggling with little or no support. 3. Plan the development of a sustainable, long term fund for the Borough to be delivered through the grants team. The benefits of such a fund will have lasting impact on groups in the Borough and enable Bolton CVS to meet locally identified priorities. 4. Work with the development and support roles to develop a communication strategy for internal and external communication. Continue to focus on work-plan based structure and improve casework approach to group work. With the implementation of these key recommendations, We would like to know why Bolton CVS could be looking at an exciting future delivering a we have to make up a new sustainable source of local grant funding in an even more effective framework with improved internal and external project to get a grant communication when our last project was so successful and benefited the local community by reducing anti social behaviour


Bolton Community and Voluntary Services Grants Performance and Impact Report November 2007 Author: Saskia Ritchie