The new movement Bedford Giving is looking for local groups and organisations which could benefit from a grant of up to £5,000, to help support the needs of children under eight and their families in the borough.
They would particularly like smaller grassroot groups such as charitable playgroups, unregistered charities and community groups to apply.
Parents of young children in Bedford have identified mental health support for children and families, support for fathers and for families of children with special educational needs or a disability (SEND) as the biggest unmet needs in Bedford.
Bedford Giving is a collaboration bringing together passionate funders, businesses and residents to help create a brighter future for young people in Bedford.
It’s brought together local parents to form a panel, to share their knowledge on the needs of children under eight and their parents and carers, and to make funding decisions on £80,000 of grants so local organisations can help meet those needs.
Earlier in the year through the first round of funding the Parent Panel awarded grants to four projects and now the second round of grants has been launched.
Bedford Giving Chair Kevin Bolt said:
“We’re looking for those grassroot organisations which really make a difference to the lives of young children in the borough who would usually not come forward to apply.
“We’ve made the process really easy for applying and we’re also running information sessions and one-to-ones for prospective applicants in July, so those new to writing applications can complete the form with the help of the dedicated Bedford Giving Grants Officer.
“Do you work or volunteer for an organisation that supports young children and think your organisation could benefit? Or could you encourage a group you think fits the criteria to apply? Please go to our website bedfordgiving.org.uk to find out more.
“Participatory grantmaking is about devolving decision-making to people in the communities impacted. This is exactly what we have done with Bedford Giving, we’ve involved parents who have extensive lived experience of some of the issues we’re tackling, to make the funding decisions, to help create solutions to the challenges faced by families in the town.”
Grants awarded earlier this year included:
Chums – to develop a new digital app to help support children and their families’ mental health and wellbeing.
Faces – to increase the availability of group support and one-to-one advice for families with children with additional needs and to develop and deliver a new parenting support programme aimed specifically at fathers.
Fun4YP – to provide activities after school and in the holidays for children with additional needs and to offer support groups and workshops for parents.
The Parent Panel Grant Making Programme is one of a number of transformational projects being launched by Bedford Giving to improve the lives of young people. Others include a volunteer mentoring programme for 13–15-year-olds to help them raise their career aspirations, and a campaign to improve access to work experience for young people who might otherwise miss out.
To apply for a grant or find out more about the information sessions available visit the Apply for a grant page.