Greater Manchester Funders Forum Event, September 2020

On Thursday 24th September, we hosted the Greater Manchester Funders Forum Event to over 25 different funders, both local and national.

The Greater Manchester Funders Forum is jointly supported by GMCVO and 10GM, and facilitated by GMCVO. The Forum is funded by the National Lottery Community Fund. It exists to enable independent grant makers, social investors and public sector funders to collaborate and coordinate programmes.

We were excited to welcome Carol Botten who is the Chief Executive of the Voluntary Organisation Network North East (VONNE) and Network member Andrew Ballinger from the Ballinger Charitable Trust. 

Carol gave an overview of the Network’s purpose and functions. She highlighted information sharing as a key purpose of the Network to allow connection making, development of awareness of the funding landscape and highlight opportunities for collaboration and funding gaps. Andrew shared an example of how the Network has enabled more strategic and collaborative working among funders in the North East, as well as some challenges.

Charles Kwaku-Odoi, Chief Officer of the Caribbean and African Health Network, spoke on the impact of COVID-19 on black-led organisations in Greater Manchester, sharing findings from the report A Picture of Inequality: The Impact of COVID-19 on the Caribbean & African Community in Greater Manchester.

Atiha Chaudry, Chair of GM BAME Network and Leaders Forum and Senior Associate at Manchester BME Network CIC spoke about the type of support needs BAME organisations have regarding accessing funding. She commented that COVID-19 has deepened inequalities for BAME communities and that the lack of infrastructure support, especially BAME-led infrastructure support, means we need to seriously consider how we can put support into the system. 
Pragmatic and practical help should be provided to BAME organisations applying for funding. It is equally important that organisations providing funding have a diverse workforce, and that assessment panels are similarly diverse. Atiha also highlighted the need for local people and organisations to be involved with investments coming in at a local level. 

Following each speaker, we split off into breakout rooms to discuss possibilities for collaboration, and how we might support BAME communities around accessing funding.

Feedback from the discussions on collaboration included:

  • Data sharing is useful for funders to ensure applicants can be referred to the most appropriate funding pot. 

  • It might be useful to share some learning around 360 giving.

  • It is important to make the best use of resources around capacity building.

  • Collaboration is not only about the sharing of resources and money, but about the sharing of intelligence and data.

  • There is an issue of time in regard to how we can get through the next two years – it is important that there isn’t a ‘cliff edge’ when it comes to funding.

  • Trust is very important when it comes to sharing data and processes.

Feedback from the discussions on working with BAME groups included:

  • It is important that assessment panels are diverse, with the offer of support and training to those involved. 

  • An offer of capacity building, support and development is important alongside funding support. 

  • A targeted approach is important, as is being proactive in contacting groups that are struggling to access funding. It is equally important to offer support after an unsuccessful application to avoid knocking confidence – dedicated roles here could be useful. 

  • It is good practice to avoid practical barriers by, for example, allowing submissions in multiple formats, easy read applications, and using precise and clear language. 

  • A relational approach is important to building relationships within the wider sector.

  • We should consider what roles funders could play in showcasing and bringing to the forefront more marginalised groups. 


Resources shared during the event:

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