GCVS recently hosted a series of discussions on the Glasgow Communities Fund, bringing together voluntary sector organisations and the Council Grants team.
Our members and those we support greatly benefit from the Glasgow Communities Fund, the Council’s most significant investment in the city’s third sector. The Fund is now in its second round and succeeds an earlier programme called the Integrated Grants Fund.
GCVS works closely with Glasgow City Council’s Economic Development service, who told us they are keen to hear from organisations about their experience of the Glasgow Communities Fund and discuss principles that could apply to future grant funding programmes.
The events, therefore, focused on four key aspects: programme design, the application process, communication and gathering feedback on timescales.
The discussions took place across three separate sessions to allow as many organisations to participate as possible. We were delighted by the attendance each day, with over 70 attendees, and we’re really grateful to all who participated. 75% of attendees were current Community Fund grant holders, but hearing from previous grant holders, those who had been unsuccessful and new applicants also provided helpful insight for the team.
Summary of Feedback
The full discussions would be too long to report in detail, but here is a short sample of the types of insights gathered:
- Participants felt that communication had generally improved, with primarily timely responses to queries, and many welcomed the opportunity to host funding officers for in-person visits. The website could be improved, and a funding portal would be welcomed for participants to access information and forms, track application progress, etc.
- Broad application criteria are welcome since this allows a greater variety of projects to apply and is less restrictive. However, more guidance is needed to enable organisations to understand where they can best fit and how to target their application. Sharing details of community priorities would be helpful.
- The application form has improved, and the support provided was welcome. Providing more relevant examples was suggested with further clarity around all assessment criteria and the rationale used where reduced funds are awarded.
- Consideration for applications to be made using multimedia formats, such as video, was requested.
- Views on whether consortium bids should be allowed were mixed.
- It is crucial to those who attended that the timescales for the fund are smooth, with no slippage.
Full feedback has been provided to the council for their review and analysis.
At GCVS, we welcome the Council’s commitment to funding voluntary organisations’ work to improve lives in the city, and we are keen to facilitate conversations and opportunities for continued improvement.
A survey of organisations will follow to capture further views and allow input from those interested in the Fund, including those unable to attend the feedback events. We also look forward to sharing additional engagement sessions we plan to host with the Council team next year. Please subscribe to our bulletin for all news and updates.