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Being people-led is a key theme we look for in all applications to The National Lottery Community Fund

February 28, 2020

Ruth Bates, Head of Communications and Engagement (Wales) explains what this means for community groups wanting to apply to The National Lottery Awards for All, which funds awards from £300 to £10,000.

Putting people in the lead means the people you’ll be working with will need to be meaningfully involved in the development, design and delivery of your project. Within the application you’ll need to demonstrate this.

Simply put, people in the lead means speaking to whoever you’re trying to work with. We’re flexible about how you do that. We’re also realistic about how it looks depending on the size of your organisation. But we do need to see the community involved in the project’s development and its delivery. We want to fund projects developed with people, not done to them.

There are lots of ways to get your community involved in your project – one size does not fit all. And what better way to find out more about how groups are embedding People in the Lead than from the groups themselves. Here are some examples we’ve pulled together:

Edeyrnion Community Action Group in Denbighshire will use their award from The National Lottery Community Fund to hold a community festival celebrating Art, Literature, Landscape Photography, Music, Dance and Welsh History. Within their application they highlighted the ways in which they involved the community in the idea and delivery of the Festival. The idea emerged through a Facebook post from a resident wanting more to be done to improve the area, which led to 600 response. A public meeting was subsequently organised to discuss the ideas with over 50 members of the public and four organisations attending. Over a period of three months responses were discussed further and the festival was identified as the widest reaching, engaging and most practical activity to bring people together and to create a last positive legacy in the community. A festival group of local people formed to design, develop and delivery the of the Festival, see https://www.edeyrnionfest.com/

Ystalyfera Community Council in Swansea will use their award to create outdoor spaces for exercise, with the aim to support further integration between residents of Ystalyfera and the neighbouring village Godre’r Graig. The Council conducted community consultation which involved online and paper-based questionnaires distributed at various community locations, to invite resident to identify activities they felt would best bring the communities together. An outdoor gym was the most popular suggestion, and the grant will be used to purchase the equipment. Ongoing feedback from residents also includes seeking the views of those who use the outdoor gym to see if there are any improvements, additions, or changes that could be made.

Canolfan Clydau in Pembrokeshire will develop and run activity and social sessions with the older people in their community. Alongside the local council, and Tegryn Welfare Committee, the group (which is made up of volunteers who run the community hall) regularly carries out consultations to find out the needs of their community. They spoke to 110 people as part of this consultation, which identified they would like to meet more regularly and to run a programme of wellbeing activities. The activities are designed by volunteers, who are also trained to deliver the session, see https://www.canolfanclydau.org.uk/bookings/

Al-Ikhlas Culture and Education Centre in Cardiff will create a foodbank to help address high levels food poverty in the local community. They used feedback from a pilot to shape the project, and will use the grant to train volunteers to deliver it. They consulted widely within the community including with groups of young people, Arabs, Pakistanis and Eastern Europeans, asylum seekers & refugees who are housed nearby in home office accommodation.

Cerrigydrudion in Conwy established a volunteer-led community lift-sharing scheme, to enable isolated individuals to access services. Residents have to make a 36 mile round trip to the nearest supermarket, dentist and other facilities, so a group of volunteers created the project to help tackle isolation and reduce carbon emissions too. The volunteers are delivering the scheme at all levels including taking bookings, driving, organising additional group outings and are reporting feeling happier and less isolated as  a result of the scheme.

Vale People First in Barry created a series of short films and advice guides to help improve understanding of learning disabilities. The initial idea came from a consultation with members where they identified a need to help people in wider society understand learning disabilities – specifically ADHD, dyspraxia, dyslexia, autism, and epilepsy. A staff member will run the project alongside a group of 8 volunteers. The interviewees and volunteers are people with lived experience, and beneficiaries are involved in all aspects of the governance of the organisation, see more at http://www.valepeoplefirst.org.uk/about-us.html

It’s clear from these examples that how you engage with your community can look very different from place to place, and the method can vary depending on the people you’re wanting to reach. But here are some useful tips:

Know your audience: One of the groups we’ve funded wanted to make improvements to their town. They set up a stall in the town centre and asked people to share their ideas through a questionnaire. A group working with young people with learning disabilities, knew that using surveys wouldn’t work for them. They had informal conversations instead and captured the key points. They also included the young people’s parents and carers in the conversation.

Capture their ideas: Some groups send out questionnaires, some run focus groups and meetings. The important thing is to get people involved in a way that means they have shared their ideas and that you have captured their ideas and opinions be that on paper, film or social media.

Continue to involve them: It’s important to continue to involve the people you’ve worked with in developing the idea in the delivery too. Be that through volunteering, utilising their skills or on the management committee.

We’re here to help: Remember that we’re  always happy to chat to you about your application and give you advice and support – be that in English or Welsh. Find out who covers your local area

More inspiration?: If you’d like to be inspired by some of our large grantees who are applying people in the lead, then listen to our new podcast called Third Sector Insights which enables you to hear first-hand from groups funded by The National Lottery Community Fund such as Milford Youth Matters in Pembrokeshire; Grange Pavilion in Cardiff  and Severn Wye in Powys.

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