To address the following point1 : the role of philanthropy, social investment and business and what forms of finance can be used to support communities in order to make it easier for small, level community groups (groups) to improve the services they provide by enabling more capital investment.
Small groups, at the coal face, are mostly and rightly focussed on the next task. Often times longer term improvements or small scale investment is of lower priority that the task at hand. Fundraising in these groups is used for both current spending and capital expenditure. By providing support for the latter (whilst also retaining a focus on the former in some circumstances) groups can be encouraged to grow and be more effective in supporting their local communities.
The formation of a Community Small Grant Scheme (CSGS), administered by local authorities, to support expansion activities of community focused organisations that are currently funded through self-fundraising or stakeholder donations.
A grant from central Government, ring-fenced for the sole purpose of providing support for groups will be issued to each council.
Each Community Small Grant (CSG) will deliver £500-£1,000 to community groups for small, low level initiatives primarily to support investment in facilities and secondly to support current spending (if deemed appropriate) to improve their organisation or deliver on their aims such examples could include:
– Installing or upgrading communication equipment (internet/broadband)
– Redecorating public or community areas (church halls, skate parks, soup kitchens)
– Restoring or replacing equipment (sports equipment, cooking equipment)
There is currently provision for small business grants, as a result of coronavirus, administered by local governments. The infrastructure of this could be translated to the CSGS, alongside related oversight. Additionally applications where the community group matches the grant from the Council should be afforded a higher priority to encourage self-fundraising to continue.
1) Relatively small amount of money for the maximum of impact at the micro level.
2) By donation matching small groups are encouraged to continue to fundraise and they can double their impact.
3) Low administrative burdens with a lot of the processes in place (e.g. from existing business grant schemes).
1) Groups may no longer be encouraged to self-fundraise.
Mitigant: Encourage donation matching.
Mitigant: Ongoing relationship with the council and councillors to ensure aims are being met.
3) Inability to meet applications from all groups.
Mitigant: Only allow one application per group every three years. Independent decisions committee made up of an equal representation of councillors or apolitical officials.