The BAB programme has always focused its commissioning strategy on supporting groups most at risk of isolation and loneliness – whether that’s allocating funds to areas of the city which have fewer social opportunities for older people, contracting delivery partners to work on projects that support communities experiencing demographic or cultural change that affect older people or taking positive action in our commissioning processes to encourage delivery partners working with individuals who are part of 8 identified at-risk groups. These groups include people over 85, carers, people living in care homes, people diagnosed with dementia or sensory loss, older people with alcohol or substance misuse issues, older people who identify as LGBT and older people from BME communities.
The Community Kick-Start Fund is a unique funding stream available from BAB as it is particularly aimed at smaller community groups who may not be eligible for small grants funds. As the funding is administered via direct payments for goods and services, applicants do not need a bank account or governance documents required by most funders. We have been very pleased to see many older people-led, grassroots community groups be successful in their applications to Kick-Start, and especially pleased by how many are working with older people from at-risk groups, particularly BME-led groups which constitute 25% of the Kick-Start funded groups.
A recent review found that 71% of BME-led organisations who applied to Kick-Start have been successful (compared to 68% of all applications). Most of these also came from small or unconstituted groups, with fewer than half currently being registered charities or Community Interest Companies (C.I.C.s). This is incredibly encouraging as it means that many of the ideas have come directly from older people themselves, and also that we are reaching groups that otherwise may not fund it easy to obtain funding to get their valuable work underway. We are hoping that, if desired, we will be able to support some of these groups to access further funding from BAB or elsewhere and assist them if they wish to take the next step and become constituted as a social enterprise, C.I.C. or registered charity. We are also working with our evaluation team at UWE to reach more BME-led organisations, particularly those in Ashley, Easton and Lawrence Hill, and let them know about the availability of funding through Kick-Start.
Another positive observation of the BME projects funded through kick-start is how many have received equipment that will continue to be used and enjoyed by older people beyond the designated funding period. Examples include NHS-approved chairs that have replaced unsuitable models previously used by South Asian, Caribbean and Somali elders, meaning that more older people are able to access social groups without risk of injury or discomfort. Several groups have also received sewing machines, enabling them to learn new skills and generate profits that go back to their community through selling handmade items. We’ve also purchased exercise equipment to allow older people to keep fit and healthy, and musical instruments which facilitate wellbeing through self-expression.
If you’ve been inspired by this, or know of a group who might be, why not take a look at the application form? Our next deadline is 7th April for review that month, but the fund will be open for the rest of the programme and so you are welcome to apply at any time. If you have any questions or would just like to chat through an idea, feel free to give Bianca Rossetti a ring on 0117 9281539.
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