Focusing our funding

This year, as we did in 2021, we have three key themes that we are particularly interested in supporting. We will fund projects that are outside of these themes, but these areas are the ones we really hope to see applications targeted towards.

Our Themes

  • Greener Stratford

Focusing on smaller, grassroot projects, we want to support activities and ideas that educate and engage the community, supporting both big and small changes to lifestyles and approaches that are focused on sustainability,

We do not expect our funding to go towards larger capital or infrastructure projects. For instance, we are very unlikely to fund electric vehicles, charging point installation or solar panel installation on buildings etc.

We would encourage and expect the majority of projects in this theme to apply via the Fast Track smaller grants theme, but of course, we welcome conversations and applications for larger community-focused projects through our main funding programme.

 

  • Mental Health – Men and/or Boys

We encourage ideas from organisations working with men and/or boys and those who identify as male, around positive mental health and wellbeing. We know from conversations with partners that there are added barriers to engaging and supporting men and boys. We hope that by providing funding we can support them to narrow and overcome these barriers.

 

  • Stronger Organisations

We know that to build in new approaches thoughtfully and sustainably requires investment of time and money. Our funding can be used to explore and develop such areas as organisational capacity, skill-building, resilience and succession planning etc.

 

Why have we chosen these themes?

All three themes come directly from our published Strategic Plan as well as learning and feedback over the past 18 months – from the community, key stakeholders, and other funders locally and further afield.

One of the recurring threads throughout our conversations, meetings, and reading is the topic of Resilience: of individuals and community and of the fantastic community organisations that serve and support them.

We know, as a funder, we have a responsibility towards tackling the climate crisis.  We have an opportunity, through our grant making, to provide funding for organisations to deliver grassroots, impactful programmes and activities that will engage and educate the community – leading to positive outcomes now and in the future.

We also hope to encourage and support mental health projects that target men and boys. The Mental Health Foundation have some great resources around mental health, and state: Men are often expected to be the breadwinners and to be strong, dominant and in control. While these aren’t inherently bad things, they can make it harder for men to reach out for help and open up.

Some research also suggests that men who can’t speak openly about their emotions may be less able to recognise symptoms of mental health problems in themselves, and less likely to reach out for support.

By prioritising this through our grant making this year, we can support fantastic community groups to continue to deliver vital outreach and activities to support better health and wellbeing. Of course, this does not mean we won’t fund amazing projects that engage and support women and girls. Our theme is designed to simply highlight that we are open to projects engaging men and/or boys.

Our third theme focuses on supporting organisations to build capacity and resilience. We know that, over the past two years in particular, organisations have had to rapidly adapt, evolve and rethink their approach to engaging their communities.

Through core funding, we aspire to support organisations to strengthen and innovate their structures, systems (HR, IT etc), and processes in order to provide a stronger, more resilient foundation to continue to deliver amazing programmes and activities to the community locally.

What’s next?

Our three themes are designed to give you, as a community, a clear framework for what we care about through 2022, and why we believe they’re the right things for us to focus on this year.

We know that the community have the passion and skills to develop new and impactful ideas or are already delivering fantastic projects that are making a difference to people every day, in sometimes extremely challenging circumstances. We’re excited to hear more and see how our funding can play a role in helping fantastic  community organisations continue their vital work.

We promise to make the process of applying for our funding as simple, smooth and frustration-free as we can – and will continue to improve our approach to serving our community as we go forward. We acknowledge that applying for funding can be resource intensive, stressful, and sometimes feel overwhelming, so we will work with you and only ask you for the information we really need to assess your application, and only when we need it.

And to help make sure that, as early as possible, you can understand how well your idea aligns to our themes and goals for the year, we would love to have a conversation with you before you submit your Expression of Interest to understand more about your work, the people you engage and support, and what matters to you. More details of the application process can be found here.

If you have a fantastic idea that will make a real positive difference to the local community, we look forward to chatting it through with you.

 

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