Background and Challenges
Fylde Borough Council led the establishment of a Community Hub to support those on the shielding list and other vulnerable residents with essential tasks during the coronavirus pandemic. Although led by Fylde council, the Hub was a partnership of a wide range of public and third sector organisations. One of these organisations was the Council for Voluntary Services (CVS) to whom Fylde awarded £60,000 to run a grant scheme. The scheme was open to local organisations to bid for funding of between £300 to £5000 to enable existing schemes to continue to help those most affected by COVID-19.
The main challenges on this project included:
- Data sharing: Getting the go-ahead to use data submitted by VCFS groups
- Collating grant data (some was not yet centralised)
- Sourcing complete data elements
- VCFS groups identifying exact funding we are evaluating. One case study delayed in spending the allocated funds
Trueman Change Involvement
In July 2021, Trueman Change was commissioned to evaluate the grant scheme and assess the extent to which it had met its own stated aims, objectives and targets. In order to, assess the efficacy of the scheme we:
- Carried out rigorous research and analysis of six of the award granted
- Gathered information on the volunteer capital generated to enable delivery
- Demonstrated how the funding had been used to support vulnerable individuals
- Demonstrated the impact of grant funding on councils’ COVID response
- Collated and analysed quantitative and qualitative data, including visual information, to provide evidence-based results
- Worked with our client and partners to provide full data picture of all awards granted
We used two design research methodologies: quantitative data collection through online surveys to all grant bidders; and qualitative research, through interviews with key stakeholders, using thematic analysis. The methodologies we applied provided us with clear, accurate performance metrics of the grant process and outcome, which we presented in the format of an insight report with further recommendations. These evaluations were successful and are highly valuable for grant assessments, which in turn increase chances of further funding in the future.
Outcomes and Solutions
To overcome these challenges we:
- Clarified data sharing agreements
- Collated grant data that was available
- Asked our client to provide full data picture of all grants awarded
- Helped VCFS groups identify which exact funding we are evaluating using records from client
- Found alternative case study to complete a set of five successful grant awards
Our evaluation delivered a good-value, quality review covering all areas as described above in the project summary. Our client found this feedback invaluable for continuing their development, as it provided a picture of what the grant scheme has achieved and recommendations on how the grant scheme may be taken forward in the future, giving a structured idea of the evidence behind this. Along with outlining next steps that allowed the client to prioritise what to do next. As a result of our project evaluation, the Fylde Borough Council Committee passed vote to release a further round of funds into the local voluntary, community, faith and social enterprise sector to support residents in the local area.