A new £1million fund designed to harness the power of communities in tackling inequality and social exclusion was launched on 4 November.
The Warwickshire County Council Social Impact Fund was launched at the Community Powered Warwickshire Big Conversation, which saw Warwickshire County Council join forces with private, public, and voluntary, community and social enterprise sector (VCSE) organisations.
The aim of the event was to reflect on the crucial role of communities in responding to the challenges of the pandemic. Discussions were focused on how the spirit of community action is kept alive, and how organisations and agencies can step forward together to build stronger, more sustainable, and more equal places, ultimately enabling people to lead happier and healthier lives.
The Warwickshire Social Impact Fund (WSIF) is now open to applications from VCSE organisations and town and parish councils. The WSIF has been launched to enable targeted interventions to support Warwickshire’s communities and enable community-based support for those disproportionately impacted by COVID. This may include extending or introducing specialist support; or providing additional community-based support where the effects of COVID are felt more keenly.
Applications will need to demonstrate a focus on financial, digital, health, social or cultural inclusion; as well as show how they embed a community power and climate change focus. All applications received will be scored, with a positive weighting to those that benefit areas that have experienced higher covid rates, and areas of the county that experience multiple levels of deprivation.
Cllr Heather Timms, Portfolio Holder for Environment, Climate and Culture said:
“Today’s big conversation has provided the perfect opportunity to launch the Warwickshire Social Impact Fund.
“During COVID, Warwickshire’s incredible communities have played a vital role, with the grass roots response crucial to our collective efforts to support vulnerable people and our progress towards recovery. Warwickshire’s businesses too, have played a key part in the COVID response, adapting to the changing and challenging circumstances, and supporting local communities across a range of activities, from transport to providing equipment and food.
“The launch of this £1million fund will invest in continuing and sustaining this community powered approach and we want to invite applications from voluntary and community groups across the county.
“Through the fund we want to be able drive forward Warwickshire’s recovery from COVID and address some of the inequalities that exist within our communities. We want to harness the power of communities to tackle inequality and social exclusion.
“Applications will need to demonstrate how the funding will help individuals and groups to live better lives, particularly focusing on inclusion. And we would be particularly interested in hearing about schemes relating to areas most affected by COVID.”
The Heart of England Community Foundation will be administering the fund on behalf of the council.
Tina Costello, Chief Executive, Heart of England Community Foundation said:
“It’s wonderful that the Foundation has the opportunity to partner with another Local Authority to have a real positive impact on the communities that live, work and play in Warwickshire.
“This fund will help local communities heal and thrive, especially those most affected by COVID. It’s great to see our organisations come together to help with the recovery stage of the pandemic.
“I’m excited for the future working with Warwickshire County Council and hope our partnership grows from strength to strength.”
Applications are welcome for revenue and capital projects. The application window closes on 30 December 2021.
More detail on the fund, criteria to apply and how to apply are available through https://www.warwickshire.gov.uk/wsif