Planning for success

People round a table success

Guest Bloggers | 25 May 2016

Over the past few years I've worked with hundreds of groups and individuals, I’ve helped them to build their confidence, to seek out the right fit in terms of sources of funding, to turn doubts into concepts, ideas into projects, and projects into sustainable services.

I utilise a 'Checklist' approach as a foundation upon which to build effective relationships and achieve successful results.                           

A Great Giving Funder

A prime series of case study examples can be found in The London Community Foundation - Building Communities in Coldharbour (BCC) where I was the Community Development Manager up until December 2014. We were voted Runners Up in the Directory of Social Change Great Giving Funders Award 2014. We gained widespread acknowledgement, and were cited as an exemplar by the local authority – Lambeth Councils Scrutiny Committee in 2015. 

The ambition - to secure further investment for the unique blend of corporate programme, foundation, individual and health funding mix supporting the BCC approach to resourcing grass roots social action. With thanks to J.P. Morgan for contributing the lions share. 

Although BCC is no longer a live grant making programme, the initiative still offers up a cornucopia of community engagement and fundraising case studies.


The Community Challenge Funds

The BCC Community Challenge Fund provided grants for resident led projects and local initiatives in 3 core themes: resident led proposals; young people; support for enterprise. During 6 funding rounds, many resident led projects, and initiatives founded and delivered by residents working with local organizations came to fruition, including:

  • health awareness  and well being events
  • tackling the impact of welfare reform
  • training and accrediting money management mentors
  • providing seed funding for local enterprises
  • supporting and promoting women’s work and business development
  • creating exhibition opportunities for local creatives
  • promotion of time banking as way of creating local social capital.


Three of my favourites

1. Loughborough Women’s Group: funded to provide personal development workshops, health and wellbeing events, and business start up support for local women.

2. Reducing the Stress of Money: funded to design, accredit and deliver money mentor training, and to develop local money management champions.

3. Loughborough Junction Action Group: funded to formalise and set up their charity, and to deliver health awareness events and community consultation initiatives. 


Dynamic potential

These are only the highlights, many more local residents brought forwards ideas, worked with me and their ‘nurture organisation’ to develop ideas into proposals, submitted successful applications for funding, and eventually delivered ground breaking projects in an area usually known for it’s deprivation statistics, rather than its dynamic potential. 

Having a dedicated area based funding pot, and (with modesty) a highly competent and experienced Community Development Manager in a central coordination role (I also happen to be a local resident with a love for my neighbourhood) was fundamental to progress.

BCC empowered local residents so that they are better able to work together on common issues, to successfully apply for funding from BCC and other sources, shaping their own destiny, improving local neighbourhoods and encouraging community cohesion. The beneficial legacy of BCC still exists today.

We could not have achieved this without the joined up thinking and heartfelt contributions of local people, groups, and organizations, many of whom consciously or latently act as community champions, paid or unpaid, formally or informally. 

For more information about the Directory of Social Change Awards - for all those working to achieve a positive change in society, including individuals, charities, community groups, companies, public bodies.

The bedrock of planning for success requires the essential engagement of local people with a heightened sense of commitment, alongside targeted funding resources and high quality guidance, advice, and support.


Cynthia A. Roomes, Community Engagement and Fundraising Specialist, Community and Youth Work Professional

Take a look at Cynthia's Organisational and Project Development Checklist


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