With the benefit of many years experience of making grants to local organisations, in 2015 the Foundation reviewed its grant-making approach.
In winter 2015 we launched our Development Partner programme to explore how we as a funder, together with some of our funded partners could work more closely together to make a deeper impact in improving lives for Islington residents.
We wanted to co-develop an approach in which people matter
Helen | Programme Director | Cripplegate Foundation
Development Partner grants were designed to offer successful applicants 5-year core funding plus additional funding to work in partnership, allowing participants security and space to plan and work both individually and collectively.
The programme was set up to have a solid framework of regular engagement and communication but otherwise we left the programme and the issues it would address open to be co-developed once the partnership was formed.
In March 2016 four local organisations joined the programme:
These organisations combine a breadth of expertise from working with parents and families, young people and older people and in neighbourhoods affected by poverty and issues of isolation.
The Development Partners reach residents from across the borough. Collectively, these organisations reach over 3,200 people who would otherwise fall ‘under the radar’ of local support.
The partnership of five (including the Foundation) spent time getting to know one another and our different areas of work. This was invaluable in building trust and understanding. It also meant we were quickly able to discover a common passion for improving the way people are treated by voluntary and public services so that individuals feel they matter and have a voice in the support they receive and decisions that affect them.
From this we have defined a core purpose for the partnership - to explore what a “people matter” approach means in different contexts, how it can be supported and how it can improve people’s lives and experiences.
Our Development Partners have said that while we are still in the early stages of our work together they are already experiencing real benefits from the programme, including:
Space and Time: The value of stepping away from day to day work to think and share ideas
Validation: Partnership discussions have revealed a common thread in all partners’ ways of working that make for success. This centres on treating people like they matter.
Learning: By getting to know each other’s work partners have found ideas and new things to try in their own work.
Part of our work is to learn from one another so we improve our own practice but our ambition is to take our conversations beyond our own group and help to create broader benefits for Islington and its residents. We will be working hard on this in the coming months and years.