Angela Smith has welcomed the news that Funding Central has generated £1.5 million in grants and contract funding in its first six months.
Thousands of voluntary organisations and social enterprises have benefited from the new website, which also provides valuable advice and information on developing skills to draft winning tenders and successfully apply for grants or loan finance. Of those responding to an on-line survey in January, 100 organisations (16% of respondents) successfully applied for grants and contracts of between £800 and £85,000, with many more applications pending.
A survey of site users shows more than 70 per cent rate the search options as good or very good and 63 per cent think the advice section is good or very good. A total of 73 per cent of survey respondents rated a weekly personalised funding newsletter, supplied by Funding Central, as good or very good.
Graham Collins, sustainable funding programme manager at the National Council for Voluntary Organisations (NCVO), which runs the site, said:
Its great to see so many organisations using and successfully securing income through the website and valuing the advice posted there too. Funding Central is a vital resource for all third sector organisations because it brings together the broadest range of funding and finance opportunities in one place enabling organisations to explore all income options and make informed choices.
The website is funded by the Office of the Third Sector.
Angela Smith, Minister for the Third Sector, said: “OTS is delighted to be funding this great initiative. Funding Central makes it much easier for all voluntary and community organisations to find out about the funding and finance options available to them.
The site allows comprehensive information to be found in one place and this is especially valuable during the economic downturn as third sector organisations will be able to spend more time on their core functions and less time searching and researching numerous sources of funding.
It’s very promising that so many organisations are using the site and making the most of the opportunities available to them.”
The Reader Organisation secured an 18-month contract worth £135,000 through the website to run Get Into Reading, their innovative social outreach project, in libraries, community centres and GP surgeries in Wigan. This was the first time the charity won a tender outside Liverpool. Get Into Reading runs weekly read-aloud groups, which improve public mental health and wellbeing.
Chris Catterall, national development manager at The Reader Organisation, said:
Funding Central was easy to use and has given us a great opportunity we might not otherwise have found.
This opportunity to work with Wigan Council on their Worklessness Strategy has been achieved by developing unique health and culture partnerships to serve the local community and bring people together each week.
Funding Central is free for all voluntary and community organisations to use, including social enterprises, and provides access to more than 4,000 funding and finance opportunities, such as grants, contracts and loans. This is supported by practical advice, information and easy-to-follow tips to submitting successful applications.
For more information contact Jenny Legg in NCVOs press office on 020 7520 2469 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
For calls outside office hours, please ring 07714 243942.