Funding for the New ‘Normal’

Since March we have witnessed our clients and wider sector adapt to the impact of COVID19 and related lockdown and social distancing measures.  We are happy to say that we have been able to support clients to successfully secure much needed emergency funding from the Third Sector Resilience Fund and the Wellbeing Fund.  As part of our commitment to a sector we have worked in for nearly two decades (yes, hard to believe) we decided to reach out and give our time free of charge and provide bespoke advice for members of Aberdeen Council for Voluntary Organisations (AVCO) and CVS Inverclyde. 

From April, our team have delivered funding surgeries by telephone which have enabled organisations to access support and advice specific to their individual circumstances with the aim of helping them navigate immediate and urgent funding and service delivery challenges.    We have since heard from a range of organisations, with diverse aims and supported a variety of groups in Aberdeen City and across Inverclyde including Absafe, Team Jack Foundation, Westburn Development Trust and Kidron Project.

Organisations have undoubtedly been impacted by loss of trading and grant income, and in many cases, this is compounded by existing client groups requiring additional support to manage daily life.    The flexibility of grant funders alongside the availability of emergency funds has been a lifeline for many however some find that their existing funding strategy cannot be delivered as funders suspend their standard grant programme until further notice.

Our experience of fundraising, project development, business planning and project management has been critical in offering organisations insight and practical solutions which have involved:

  • identifying funds for specific projects/items of expenditure,
  • helping to identify short term and medium-term funding strategies,
  • establishing how to diversify income in the new ‘normal’,
  • providing advice on eligibility of support from specific funders,
  • help with editing a funding application,
  • advising on funding opportunities to safeguard the future of an A Listed building,
  • discussing new ways of delivering services.

We have also learned a lot too, talked to some very inspiring people and hopefully made a practical difference to third sector organisations so that they can continue to support some of those in greatest need within our communities.

Shiny Keys Bright Future

Hens Lay Blue Eggs

Chickens lay blue eggs and you can decipher the sex of a chicken by examining their feathers – just two of the facts we learned on a trip to Gateshead to visit the Henpower project.

Our work for Craigsfarm Community Development Project in Livingston led us south of the border to learn more about how they might introduce hen-keeping as an aspect of plans to develop outdoor community space.   Our visit took us to meet the Hensioners at Wood Green where we learned first-hand about the impact of henkeeping on the residents of this sheltered housing complex which has resulted in some of them appearing on TV and radio, not to mention undertaking regular Hen Roadshows with their feathered friends to spread the word.  Not bad for a group where the oldest is 92!

It’s evident that that Henpower isn’t just about hens.  Established by Equal Arts in Gateshead, the project aims to creatively engage older people in the arts and hen-keeping in order to bring about positive health and wellbeing benefits and to reduce loneliness, and it certainly achieves this.

Henkeeping is the catalyst to bring people together, giving them a purpose, a talking point, a route to other arts activities and also the opportunity to engage with local school children.  Engagement with one local school has allowed intergenerational friendships to form and children the opportunity to learn from the Hensioners about all manner of hen related information and also food provenance.   The second part of our visit led us to Harlow Green Primary School where our eyes were opened to impact of the hen keeping in the school environment with children not only taking responsibility for the care of their 13 chickens, but developing their literacy and numeracy and social skills at the same time.

We’ve returned to home, inspired and henthusiastic to bring this worthwhile concept to Scotland.