Bedrock Awards

1. What are the Bedrock Awards?

The Bedrock Awards is a unique programme. Unlike a traditional grant which would support “business as usual” or a new project, the Bedrock Awards will help a small number of Third Sector organisations in West Cumbria to plan for sustainability, development and growth via a deep analysis of opportunities for improvement. The Bedrock Awards aim to help organisations by:

  • building on existing strengths
  • encouraging better planning and strategic thinking
  • providing an opportunity for you to consider how you wish to develop your work
  • encouraging innovation and new ideas
  • nurturing your leadership to further organisational development
  • developing your systems and processes
  • increasing your effectiveness by helping to make the most of resources

Successful awardees will be offered a two-stage programme of tailored support, intended to deliver long-term benefit to your organisation, resulting in an increased ability to help a greater number of people more effectively and build a more resilient organisation.

Package of support includes:

Stage 1 Bedrock Award:

  • business consultancy to help you undertake a full organisation/business diagnostic and facilitate the production of an organisation/business development strategy and plan (the length this process will be different for each organisation, but we expect it to take around three to six months to complete);
  • unrestricted funding award (up to £25,000) to cover costs that your organisation might incur to enable full participation in the business diagnostic/planning process e.g. building capacity, additional hours, backfilling posts, covering core costs;
  • business consultancy help to apply for a Stage 2* Bedrock Award to support the delivery of your organisation/business development plan.

Stage 2* Bedrock Award:

  • ongoing business consultancy to review progress and support implementation of your organisation/business development plan;
  • additional funding award to support implementation of your organisation/business development plan e.g. improving systems, testing innovative ideas and new ways of working, implementing best practice, additional/specialist business support/advice.

Support can be provided for up to 3 years (*NB: Only organisations who have successfully completed Stage 1 will be invited to apply for a Stage 2 Bedrock Award. The award granted is considered to be a State Aid and maybe granted under de minimis regulation).

In addition, where appropriate successful awardees will be helped to recruit trustees and skills-based volunteers as part of the implementation of their organisation/business plans. There is also an intention to build a third sector leaders peer to peer support group as part of the programme.

2. Who is eligible to apply for a Bedrock Award?

Established Third Sector organisations based in West Cumbria that deliver community services to alleviate poverty, disadvantage and exclusion; addressing needs identified in the West Cumbria Challenges and Opportunities Report and which may have been exacerbated by COVID-19.

Applicants must demonstrate a desire and appetite to:

  • be open to change and learning
  • dedicate time and energy to a process of review and change (senior managers and trustees);
  • be willing to implement a jointly agreed plan of action
  • develop new and effective working practices
  • maximise their impact, for beneficiaries and within sectors
  • become more financially sustainable and resilient over the longer term

In addition, applicants must show that they:

  • provide a service or services to a significant number of beneficiaries (not umbrella group)
  • can evidence the immediate and long-term challenges that they are currently facing
  • are prepared to work closely with other organisations and agencies e.g. referrals/signposting
  • have delivered a service for at least one year (copy of latest accounts will be requested)
  • have paid staff in a leadership position
  • can demonstrate a degree of financial stability e.g. secured funding for six months.

Applications are welcomed from locally based organisations:

  • working with vulnerable people from areas of high deprivation in West Cumbria
  • small to medium sized, with an income of less than £1.5m
  • that employ staff and have the capacity to make a significant difference to the lives of the most disadvantaged people in West Cumbria.
  • at a critical time of change and/or considering new ways of working.

The following organisations will not be eligible to apply:

  • based outside of West Cumbria
  • operating for less than one year
  • those solely seeking financial support
  • do not have paid members of senior staff with whom to build a relationship
  • community venues and sports clubs

Please note: organisations not eligible for the Bedrock Awards can benefit from the Bedrock Basics programme, delivered by Cumbria CVS, which provides advice and support aimed at strengthening and building capacity of the community sector in West Cumbria.

3. Which organisations will benefit most from a Bedrock Award?

When considering your application, you may also find it helpful to bear in mind that the charities and community organisations who will benefit most from a Bedrock Award are those which:

  • are ambitious for their organisation
  • aim to pursue best-practice in their field
  • want to develop their capabilities in areas such as evaluation and measurement
  • are open to change and to challenge existing ways of working
  • are able to commit sufficient time for the process
  • keen to build resilience and financial sustainability

4. Bedrock Award Process and Timeline

Please click here to view the process and timeline
Please click hereto view the application process diagram.

5. How to Apply

Please contact Gary Higgs, Grants & Donor Services Officer at Cumbria Community Foundation for an initial discussion before submitting your Expression of Interest. Email: or call 01900 825760.

Stage 1 Bedrock Award: Expression of Interest forms should be submitted by the deadline 5pm, Friday 8th January 2021.