Macc and VYM facilitated a meeting last week to discuss the Department for Education National Prospectus Funding Programme for the voluntary sector. Over 50 organisations expressed an interest about this opportunity and over 25 organisations came to the meeting to discuss the opportunity.
The funding programme itself seems designed to enable only large or national organisations to apply with very tight time-scales (Just 3 ½ weeks from their own briefings) and not enough time to develop a partnership approach – which incidentally was one of the areas where you would achieve extra points on your application. Although this was a national programme the DfE said that they would consider local partnerships and projects as long as they met a national need, were scalable and replicable. I would suggest that most of the needs in Manchester were evidenced nationally and a lot of the brilliant work we do in the sector could be scaled up and replicated! However with such a tight deadline it immediately prohibits that partnership development. What we have learnt from recent partnership approaches (Big Manchester and Fulfilling Lives) is that it takes time to develop a partnership, to set out partnership vision and objectives and to develop trust and relationships that are key to the successful working of a project.
What was brilliant to see from the meeting is the willingness and eagerness of the organisations present to look at how they can begin to work more closely together, not just for this opportunity but to develop partnerships for future collaborative working. Hopefully some exciting new work will come out these connections.
If you would like to read more about the fund please follow the link: