Harrow Council is committed to supporting and working in partnership with local charities, voluntary and community organisations.
These organisations play a vital role in helping to deliver a wide range of services to Harrow residents.
Like many local authorities across the country, Harrow continues to face significant year-on-year budget constraints. This is making it increasingly challenging to provide core funding to our voluntary and community services.
As a result, organisations are already thinking about how they can diversify their funding channels in order to remain financially secure and sustainable.
Harrow Council’s crowdfunder platform
Harrow Council is determined to support the local Voluntary and Community Sector (VCS), and last year held an information event on crowd funding: an innovative way to raise awareness, money and support for your organisation.
The council has developed a partnership with Crowdfunder - a leading platform which provides a way to help local organisations to raise funds and in turn receive a match funding from the council.
The Crowdfund Harrow campaign has now launched, with £25,000 in funding available. Local community and charity groups can bid for up to £2,000 to top-up their fundraising for projects that help build a better Harrow.
If you know of a community group, business, charity, social enterprise, or sports club in need of help to turn their ideas into reality then Crowdfund Harrow could help.
The council is also now looking into supporting voluntary and community sector organisations to access Social Investment as an additional alternative source of funding. As such, the council co-hosted with the Voluntary Action Harrow Co-Operative. This was a Social Investment Conference for VCS organisations on 14 June. The event included speeches from industry experts, including Big Issue Invest, Access, and Power to Change.
Attendees learnt about how social investment could help their organisations to generate income, provide new and expand existing services, remain financially sustainable, and deliver social impact.
What sources of funding are there?
Funding can be sourced from social investors - organisations that seek to ‘do well by doing good’. Their investments provide funding to charities, community organisations and social enterprises in order to develop long-term and self-sustaining solutions to social problems.
There are a number of different types of social investment, including loans, social impact bonds and shares. Details of which can be found at Good Finance.
Investors will expect organisations to achieve social outcomes as a result of the funding, for example getting more people into employment.
Help is on hand from organisations and schemes to work with voluntary and community groups. They offer support by assessing whether social investment could be a good option. When appropriate they help prepare qualifying groups; for example by exploring business plans and financial models.
Examples of social investment
There are some excellent examples of community and voluntary organisations and social enterprise that have successfully utilised social finance to develop their service and provide a social return. Examples include:
- The Missional Housing Bond - the Diocese of London have provided social, affordable housing for church workers in Central London; offering investors a financial return alongside a good social return.
- Teens and Toddlers - funded through a Social Impact Bond (SIB), the Teens and Toddlers programme targets two groups of vulnerable children simultaneously, raising the aspirations of young people (age 13-17) by pairing them as a mentor and role model to a child in nursery in need of extra support. Repayment is under a “payment-by-results” contract with the Department of Work and Pensions, out of long-term savings to the public purse of reducing youth unemployment. Over the three year SIB, 1,300 young people will take part in the programme, with performance measured by improvements in attitude, behaviour, attendance and educational attainment.