For many community, charity and voluntary organisations it is a familiar tale; a clamber for cash from shrinking pots, increased competition and lots of form filling.
It needn’t be so disheartening.
The first Smarter Funding: Better Outcomes conference is to take place later this summer, aimed at helping community, charity and voluntary groups gain a greater understanding into what grant bodies are looking for.
Many funding bodies are now looking more closely at how money is made available to charities and organisation to help achieve their own targets in terms of social impact. That in turn means that in order to be more successful in their grant applications, charities and voluntary organisations are having to shift their focus to identify need and what measurable outcomes they will achieve in return for the money.
The conference, which will take place at The Apex in Bury St Edmunds, has been organised by the West Suffolk councils’ partnership of Forest Heath District Council and St Edmundsbury Borough Council, working alongside Suffolk County Council, Community Action Suffolk and the Suffolk Community Foundation.
Cllr Robin Millar, Cabinet Member for Families and Communities at Forest Heath District Council said: “The work of 'social sector' organisations with families and communities here in Suffolk is growing in importance every year. As national and local funding mechanisms change, so do the demands and expectations of commissioners. We need to be shaping this change, not playing catch up. This conference is a free event, is designed to help charities, community and voluntary organisations understand the thinking behind this new way of working and how they can maximise the success of their grant applications from a wide range of organisations, and to explain some of the new forms of funding now available.”
Cllr Robert Everitt, St Edmundsbury Borough Council’s Cabinet Member for Families and Communities, said: “It will give them a better understanding of the expectations of funding bodies, which will help with the success of grant applications. For the grants bodies, it will provide a chance to find out the frustrations for potential applicants when it comes to making their bid.”
Guest speakers at the summit will include Craig Dearden-Phillips from Stepping Out, who will talk about how social enterprises have a role to play in the delivery of some services traditionally delivered by local authorities.
Other speakers will include Ann Griffiths from the Early Intervention Foundation, and Jamie Conway from the Big Lottery who will outline the various funding pots available from the Big Lottery.
Staff from local funding organisations will be on hand to answer queries on specific funding streams.
Cllr Colin Noble, leader of Suffolk County Council said: "The reforms we have seen in local government will continue over the next five years. The social sector in Suffolk plays a vital role, not least looking after the weakest and most vulnerable in our communities. I welcome this move to strengthen and support our good society."
Suffolk Police and Crime Commissioner Tim Passmore said: "The work of the voluntary and charitable sectors in Suffolk is simply outstanding. I am a very keen supporter of what they achieve and am convinced that by working together in genuine partnership we will provide better outcomes and deliver even more for our county.
"Looking after the disadvantaged and vulnerable members of society is something Suffolk is particularly good at."
The event takes place at The Apex in Bury St Edmunds on 15 July from 9.30am. To book a place phone Kirsty Downes on 01284 757040 or email firstname.lastname@example.org