How our Small Grants Programme helped community organisations in 2020

 

In January 2020, we launched our Small Grants Programme – a first of its kind project for our organisation. We wanted to reach people in Westminster and Kensington & Chelsea who find it hardest to be heard in conversations about health and social care. We awarded the recipients of our grant £500 to complete engagement with groups from these communities.

 

Alongside this, we also carried out focus groups with the selected groups, which focussed on the COVID-19 outbreak and response, and the impact this had on health and social care provision. You can read these reports here.

 

Following the success of the project last year, we are re-running the programme in 2021. Applications are now open for the second round of funding of £500.

 

We know how important this funding can be to local community organisations. Ahead of the launch of this year’s programme, we spoke to two organisations who received our grant last year. We found out what their experience of the programme was, and how they used the funding to help them carry out their work.

 

LEGS

 

LEGS, an organisation that provides exercise groups, led by physiotherapists, for people who have had a stroke or who live with a neurological condition, are an organisation that received the grant last year.

 

‘The Small Grant you awarded us contributed to us being able to achieve all of our target areas within our grant proposal,’ LEGS told us.

 

Using the grant money, LEGS purchased a Zoom business account to enable them to continue offering exercise classes virtually during the pandemic. They also developed electronic resources and interactive videos to help participants to work in their own time, invested money in posters and advertising, and ran feedback groups with families and carers.

 

‘Your support and financial backing allowed our virtual classes to become a reality and grow into so much more than we could have ever imagined.’

 

This allowed LEGS to make substantial progress during a challenging period. ‘In what could have been a very difficult year for a small charity, your support and financial backing allowed our virtual neurological classes to become a reality and grow into so much more than we could have ever imagined,’ they told us.

 

Make It Happen

 

We also spoke to Hend Rahman, Chairperson at Make It Happen. She told us about her organisation’s experience of participating in our Small Grants Programme in 2020.

 

‘The funding you have given us is very important,’ she says, ‘we are a small charity, and we do not always have enough resources to get feedback and to do co-production on important matters such as health.’

 

Hend tells us the focus group HWCWL carried out with Make It Happen was useful. ‘It gave parent carers an opportunity to get their voices heard on how their local healthcare services affect them, including their concerns on the future of those services.’

 

‘The Small Grants Programme is an important channel to get the voices of parent carers heard on health and social care issues.’

 

Especially during the pandemic, it is vital that organisations like Make It Happen can share the experience of service users. ‘The virtual feedback we get from families is very important,’ Hend says. ‘We find that families with learning disabilities use educational therapy services such as SALT [Speech and Language Therapy] and OT [Occupational Therapy] which are funded by the local CCG [Clinical Commissioning Group], but their voices are not heard.’

 

Receiving our Small Grant and taking part in our engagement work helped Make It Happen share these experiences. ‘The Small Grants Programme is an important channel to get the voices of parent carers heard on health and social care issues.’

 

Apply for our Small Grants Programme 2021

 

The next round of funding is now open for community groups, services and organisations in Kensington & Chelsea and Westminster. We look forward to receiving your applications.

 

For more information on the programme, including how to apply for the next round of funding, you can visit our webpage. Alternatively, please email Sumita Ahmed on smallgrants@healthwatchcentralwestlondon.org or call us on 0208 968 7049.