Summary of lessons learned from previous small grant fund rounds

Reading Borough Council has been allocating £200k a year for small grants to the voluntary community since 2020.   In total, 95 applications were received for Round One of the Small Grants Fund 2023/24 totalling just under £500K worth of bids. Due to the volume of applications we received, we can’t guarantee every application we received will be successful or funded. The funding- £100k was only possible to allocate to 20 successful applications. While managing the recent Small Grants Funds round, we made some observations and like to share some lessons learned.

Successful bidders

The successful bidders were able to score higher because their application demonstrated-

  • Clear evidence of the need for the project and how they will be going to deliver their project.
  • Outline the outcomes benefits and demonstrate the needs of the local community.
  • Good evidence of partnership working showing how their project linked with partner’s project.
  • Good balance between delivery of sessions and long-term sustainability.
  • How successful delivery of their project will have impact in people life.
  • How awarded fund will be used proving their budget breakdowns.
  • Urgent need for vulnerable people with strong evidence of need and clear ability to deliver the project.
  • How their projects will help in tackling the inequalities.
  • Real growth in their project and future potential for long-term funding.
  • Their reach to diverse communities.

Unsuccessful bidders

The SGF bidders failed to score enough because of following reasons:

  • No evidence of real need for the project and how project will address that need.
  • Project only targeted limited number community people to benefit.
  • Does not demonstrate the local need or local impact form their project.
  • Failed to provide breakdown of their spending for the project.
  • Not providing enough information around need and failing to provide clear delivery plan for the project.
  • Requested funding for irrelevant expenses like paying rent and buying equipment and failed to demonstrate the theme of SGF i.e. tackling the inequalities.
  • Requested funding for activities which were already funded and covered by Closing the Gap funding.
  • Doesn’t clearly outline the community data/research/feedback/evidence etc.
  • Not clearly demonstrating how partner organisation will contribute to project activities.
Last updated on 27/11/2023