Bristol Ageing Better is different from other Big Lottery Funded organisations because we are given money to give out to others. It isn’t the normal way that the fund allocates money and has been a challenge – but one which also offers great advantages.
As the grant holder, BAB can’t just give out funds to partners, but must make sure that the decisions are made in line with our policies and that they are clear and transparent.
You may have seen the Invitations to Tender we release for contracts, and we use a range of partners, older people and service experts when we run commissioning panels. We also ask partners to sign detailed service level agreements and complete quarterly reports.
Simultaneously, we are committed to supporting partners to build their capacity and their standards. We have run collaboration and information sessions and try to provide useful answers when partners have questions.
The Community Kick-Start Fund was created specifically to support those smaller groups who may not be able to hold funds and sign contracts. Our Project Officer Bianca Rossetti is able to pay for goods and services for groups, meaning that we can support groups which couldn’t have applied for any other funds.
The last round of commissioning (The Building Blocks for Wellbeing) was particularly special as each of the projects we commissioned was chosen based on learning collected to date.
We spoke to delivery partners and participants and read reports to identify common themes across the pilots that worked or were of particular interest. We consulted with stakeholders and asked our steering group to decide what kind of projects we should run over the next two years.
The interviews have all happened since Christmas and while this has made January pretty busy for us, it has also allowed us to see the fantastic range of services that Bristol has to offer. Unfortunately we couldn’t fund everyone who applied, but I believe what we have funded is really exciting and will test new and expanded ideas about tackling isolation and loneliness.
Find out more about the projects we’ve commissioned here, and keep your eyes peeled for news when they launch and begin delivering services.
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