Transforming West Cumbria, mid-term report 2023

PAGE 12 | TRANSFORMING WEST CUMBRIA TRANSFORMING WEST CUMBRIA | PAGE 13 Through the Bedrock Basics programme, Cumbria Council for Voluntary Service (CVS) is supporting community organisations across West Cumbria to build their resilience, capabilities and financial sustainability. Gordon Henry is the Bedrock Basics Development Officer with Cumbria CVS. He said: “We provide support to a range of charitable and community organisations throughout West Cumbria with things like sourcing funding, providing training, recruiting volunteers, business planning and digital skills. We provide both one to one and group development work.” Training includes how to make successful grant applications and develop a fundraising strategy. Bedrock Basics has helped more than 233 West Cumbrian community groups so far, covering every aspect of local life including organisations for health and wellbeing, mental health, carers, young people, families, communities, fitness and sports and disability issues. Gordon says the success of these grassroots organisations is essential in West Cumbria. • “It helped us look for funding, create a business plan and understand the importance of social impact.” • “Advice given has been used to change our constitution to allow us to get more volunteer support for our activities.” • “It has brought our activities into focus and has helped us to plan.” • “Really helpful advice on a funding bid which helped improve it.” • “First class support, the training offered was something our organisation could not have afforded. The funding support was exceptional and enabled us to secure funding.” • “It helped to strengthen a recent application for funding, which we were successful with. This funding was crucial for my organisation to keep operational during a very difficult post-covid period.” • “On a personal level, I found the advice to be invaluable.” • “Helped greatly with our volunteering project, giving us the tools to be able to support our volunteers.” • “Extremely useful, it has given us a better perspective on social impact and how to record useful information to support this.” Allerdale Disability Association based at Moorclose Community Centre in Workington was able to break a run of unsuccessful funding applications after help from Bedrock Basics, which has proved transformational, says Manager, Tracey Parker. The association has two staff, Tracey who is part-time, and a full-time welfare benefits officer, plus around 24 volunteers. It helps people with disabilities to access benefits and runs drop-in sessions providing social and learning opportunities. The association supports around 1,000 local people per year, and helps clients claim a total of £6.2m worth of benefits in any 12-month period. Tracey, who has worked for the association for 20 years, says bids for funding to pay her salary had been unsuccessful. “It was at the beginning of Covid and three or four applications failed and I got despondent,” she says. “Without the funding I would have done what I’ve done in the past and kept working but with no income.” She received coaching on latest application techniques, including on social impact, and attended online training through Bedrock Basics. “It was superb and I’m still getting benefits from it,” says Tracey. She was successful in reapplying for funding and went on to achieve two more successful bids including one from the Lottery, bringing a total of £135,000 for core running costs. With further help from Bedrock Basics, the association is working towards moving into a bigger space and reviewing its 15 year-old IT system. “It is helping us help more people,” says Tracey. “We are also looking into expanding our service. “Thanks to help from Bedrock Basics, we have the ability to develop. I actually feel exhilarated for the first time in a long time.” CASE STUDY: Allerdale Disability Association Bedrock Basics “In terms of financial resources, some groups are tiny. However, in terms of the difference they make to the people, groups and communities they support, they are huge and often, at the moment, an absolutely vital lifeline.” A survey of groups supported through Bedrock Basics demonstrated the difference it has made to them: • “The advice given to help apply for grants has recently led to a successful grant application.” • “It has helped to ensure that we know our legal responsibilities.” • “It helped us with our professional development and to secure a stable financial future for our small charity.” Started February 2021 Jobs funded: ∞ 1 full time development officer ∞ 3 part time (district manager, digital officer, volunteer manager) 233 organisations have benefitted from advice and support (target was 160) 58 groups helped with funding searches 41 groups helped to recruit trustees 74 groups helped to recruit volunteers Support included: funding applications advice; governance; digital skills; social impact measurement One to one advice and support for community groups Gordon Henry