Transforming West Cumbria – Bedrock Awards

Transforming West Cumbria (TWC) is funded through Sellafield Ltd’s social impact, multiplied SiX programme. This social investment programme has been developed in partnership with Cumbria Community Foundation and focuses on promoting thriving communities by supporting sustainable activities that create self-reliance and independence.

Bedrock, a key strand of the TWC programme, focuses on building the resilience, capabilities and financial sustainability of Third Sector organisations in West Cumbria by:
• Empowering community leaders, both voluntary and paid, with the skills, resources, and time to invest in organisational strategy and business development.
• Enabling organisations to explore new ways of working, including income generation, use of digital, collaboration, sharing resources and better management of community assets/premises.
• Improving governance.
• Building capacity and future proofing the organisation, through staff development, expert volunteer recruitment and clear succession planning.

The Bedrock programme consists of two elements:
i. Bedrock Awards – tailored support focussed on building the resilience and financial sustainability of a small number of Third Sector organisations delivering vital services in West Cumbria (up to eight organisations will be supported each award round);
ii. Bedrock Basics – advice and support aimed at strengthening and building capacity of the community sector in West Cumbria, delivered by Cumbria CVS: www.cumbriafoundation.org/bedrock-basics

WHAT ARE THE BEDROCK AWARDS 2022?
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 up to eight 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 organisations undertake a business diagnostic and facilitate the production of an organisation/business development strategy and plan (process length will be different for each organisation, but we expect it to take around 9-12 months to complete).
• unrestricted capacity building funding award (up to £25,000) to enable organisations senior managers to fully commit to and participate in the Stage 1 business diagnostic and planning process. Eligible costs include e.g. additional staff hours, backfilling posts, covering core costs etc.
• business consultancy support to produce a Stage 2 organisation development plan and apply for a Stage 2 Bedrock Award*.

Stage 2 Bedrock Award*:
• additional funding award to support implementation of the Stage 2 development plan over two years.
• ongoing business consultancy to support implementation of the organisation’s Stage 2 development plan and review progress.
• opportunity to engage in a Bedrock Award leaders peer to peer support group.

*NB: Only organisations that have successfully completed Stage 1 will be invited to apply for a Stage 2 Bedrock Award.

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

To be eligible to apply for a Stage 1 Bedrock Award applicants must show that they:
• work with vulnerable people from areas of high deprivation in West Cumbria
• provide a service or services to a significant number of beneficiaries (not umbrella group)
• have at least three paid members of staff
• have paid staff in a leadership position
• are a small to medium sized organisation
• have a minimum turnover of £100K
• have an income of less than £1.5m
• can demonstrate a degree of financial stability e.g. secured funding for six months.
• can evidence the immediate and long-term challenges that they are currently facing
• are at a critical time of change and/or considering new ways of working.
• 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 a base in West Cumbria

The following organisations are 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: Up to eight organisations will benefit from the Bedrock Awards 2022. Unsuccessful applicants and ineligible organisations 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.

WHICH ORGANISATIONS WILL BENEFIT MOST FROM A BEDROCK AWARD?
When considering your application, you may also find it helpful to bear in mind the charities and community organisations that 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

BEDROCK AWARD APPLICATION AND DECISION TIMELINE

Please click here to view the application process.

Deadline for Stage 1 Bedrock Award applications: 5 May 2022
Shortlisted applicants announced: 16 May 2022.
Shortlisted applicants to attend an online interview on: 24 or 25 May
Bedrock Awards 2022 announced: w/c 27 June 2022

HOW TO APPLY?
Please contact Annalee Holliday, Senior Grants & Donor Services Officer at Cumbria Community Foundation for an initial discussion before submitting your Stage 1 Application. Email: annalee@cumbriafoundation.org or tel: 01900 825760.

Stage 1 Bedrock Award applications should be submitted via Cumbria Community Foundation’s website by 5pm, Thursday 5 May 2022.

You can access the application form here.

HOW PREVIOUS AWARDEES HAVE BENEFITTED FROM THE BEDROCK AWARD PROGRAMME:

Results from the ‘Bedrock Awards 2020: End of Stage 1 Evaluation’ show that the programme has:
• Empowered community leaders, both voluntary and paid, with the skills, resources, and time to invest in organisational strategy and business development.
• Enabled organisations to explore new ways of working, including income generation, use of digital, collaboration, sharing resources and better management of community assets/premises.
• Improved governance.
• Built capacity and future proofed organisations, through staff development, expert volunteer recruitment and clear succession planning.

What awardees have said:
• “On reflection it [Stage 1 Bedrock Award] absolutely gave us ownership of tools provided to enable us as an organisation and team to move forward. For example, initially I think we assumed we would have a new mission, vision, strategy all neatly written. But, in fact the process made us think very differently and helped to give us the tools to do it for ourselves. Much more valuable.”
• “The Stage 1 Bedrock Award grant enabled me to increase staffing levels so I could commit time to the programme. It provided a breathing space that allowed me to fully commit to the process.”
• “The Stage 1 Bedrock Award process really helped bring the whole team on the transformational journey we are undertaking. A much better understanding of the need to change, why and how.”

Biggest challenge: “We underestimated the time needed to fully participate in the process.”

100% of awardees rated the Bedrock Award Stage 1 programme ‘10’ on a scale from 1-10 and would definitely recommend the programme to another third sector organisation.

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