Making the Connection Grant Fund

The Council’s community strategy recognises four key priorities by which it wants to lead and collaborate in its work with local people and communities; to help local people connect with each other and their wider community; to shift more control of local decisions to communities; to challenge inequality where it exists for people and communities and; to do things differently in communities.

Making the Connection grants will be used alongside Devon County Council’s wider funding and delivery of key services to improve wellbeing for people and how our communities collaborate and co-exist. The Council hopes to support bids that help people to build relationships and connections locally, across all age groups; help people become more physically active; take notice of their local environment or to develop opportunities for culture, creativity or learning; to support giving across local people and communities, including volunteering, and to make people feel safer locally.

  • What is the ‘Making the Connection’ Grant fund?

    The fund provides small, one-off non-repeatable, grants of up to £300 to support community-led ideas and initiatives across the area of Devon administered by Devon County Council.  No match funding is required

  • What is the fund’s purpose?

    To provide small amounts of grant funding to community-led schemes, benefitting one or more community groups which bring people together to identify and/or achieve relatively quickly the small but important things that matter to them. Encouraging and enabling communities to be stronger; in terms of their independence, ability to respond to issues, resourcefulness and capability, as well as being more connected, kinder and safer.

    NB: Whilst you may be applying for an individual project or group, it is always good to indicate in your application, whether you have involved the wider community or other local groups in the development of your idea?

  • What is a Community?

    Communities come in many different forms and can be defined by any shared characteristic or value, such as where they live, their gender, identity, faith or ethnicity. Each person in Devon will usually belong to many different communities, each with their own issues and needs, but also skills and assets. This creates a complex web that requires flexible ways of working to harness the energy of individuals and communities, whilst making sure guidance and support is provided where needed (DCC Communities Strategy – Oct 2017).

  • What sort of ideas might be funded?

    Ideas and initiatives which:

    • strike up a new community conversation; bringing people together to identify, prioritise, develop and achieve, relatively quickly, those small but important things that matter to them,
    • strengthen and develop existing community networks, connections and conversations to achieve those things mattering most to a community,
    • establish, strengthen or help expand a much needed social or physical activity or offer in a community, such as a youth group, cooking skills workshop, the room hire for a new self-care or social group, and/or tools and equipment for a group, such as a new shed for a community gardening club or fruit tree saplings for a community orchard.
    • focuses on inclusiveness and removing inequalities, loneliness, isolation, exclusion and/or anti-social behaviour across the age range; enriching the community making it a safer and kinder place to live,
    • encourage and help people to live more connected, positive, fulfilling, healthy and/or active lives,
    • support, strengthen and develop people’s learning, knowledge, expertise and skills and/or encourages people to be more active citizens and volunteers within communities.

    We will consider other imaginative ideas or initiatives where a small amount of funding, not available elsewhere, can help benefit quickly a community and/or make a big difference to people’s lives within it; helping to make a safer, kinder, more connected and stronger community.

  • Which groups are eligible to apply?

    Applications are accepted from constituted and not-for-private-profit Voluntary, Community and Social Enterprise (VCSE) sector groups and organisations, Town and Parish Councils, charities or businesses, or a combination of such groups working together.

    **(a) Non-constituted groups without their own, separate bank account may apply but will need to do so through an accountable constituted organisation acting on their behalf. If you fall into this category, you may wish to seek the support of an eligible organisation such as a Town or Parish Council, a local Community and Voluntary Services organisation (CVS), Village Hall or another local Voluntary group that qualifies. If you are uncertain how to do this then please contact mtcgrant@devon.gov.uk and mark your email SUPPORT in the subject line.

  • What the fund cannot support

    Generally speaking, the following will not be considered eligible for support:

    • Projects that promote or support a particular political, faith or belief (including repairs to buildings used solely for these activities)
    • Individuals or projects that result in direct cash payments or awards to the end beneficiaries, or to ongoing staff salaries
    • Project sponsorship and fundraising events
    • Projects from purely commercial or for- “private-profit” organisations.
    • Projects considered likely to create a new or displaced dependency on other public and voluntary services.
    • Projects providing services which are a statutory duty
    • Regular Highways-related activity such as but not limited to grass cutting, ditch and drainage work or other associated ‘lengthsman’ duties and tasks
    • Projects benefitting one individual recipient, e.g. an individual carer.
    • Projects which have already been supported through the current year’s funding
    • Projects where more than 25% of the people benefiting from the project live outside the DCC administrative area of Devon.
    • Animal Welfare projects where the sole/majority of beneficiaries are animals (i.e. charity, rescue or therapy)
    • Projects seeking a commitment to ongoing support.
    • Projects where groups have more than 12 months running costs in unrestricted reserves
    • Projects that have already taken place.
    • Organisations or groups that do not have a bank account in their name with at least two unrelated signatories and/or do not have a management committee comprising at least three unrelated members. Unless you are applying using guidance note **(a) above
  • How to apply

    Applications can be made throughout 2019-20 with a closing date of the last working day in January 2020. To apply, complete a Making the Connection application form and email it to mtcgrant@devon.gov.uk. Alternatively, you can print the application form and send it to Making the Connection Grant Fund, G60, County Hall, Topsham Road, Exeter, EX2 4QR

    In addition, and if you prefer, you can include more details about your idea/initiative with your application using a different format, e.g. pictures, photos, video and audio.

    If you would like to discuss your application or have any further questions about the grant scheme, please contact mtcgrant@devon.gov.uk and include ‘Support’ in the subject line.

  • What happens after I have applied?

    Applications can be submitted at any point up until the cut off date of the last working day in January 2020. After eligibility assessments the application will be reviewed by the elected DCC Cabinet Member who leads on matters concerning Communities and the local elected DCC Member/s appropriate to your project/idea. You will be contacted after your application has been considered to let you know whether your application has been successful.

    Subject to demand, we aim to let applicants know whether their application is successful within 6 weeks (sooner if possible) Payment by BACS will be made soon after this time, but you will be notified of when.

    We may contact you for further details about your application in the meantime.

    **(b) If you are successful in getting funding for your idea/initiative, we will ask you for some feedback on how it is going; within 3 months of the project being completed, and then again later if requested. We may also share your application and your evaluation outcomes publicly, to promote the DCC grant scheme and to encourage others to apply. We will require:

    • A one-page project and evaluation summary, with at least 10 photographs or a video of the project in action, which we can use in our communications, publicity materials and on our website and social media channels.
    • Copies of invoices and receipts relating to the DCC grant provided
    •  Any publicity you generate must clearly acknowledge the contribution DCC has made to the project.

    The Making the Connection scheme will close once all the available funds have been allocated and any remaining funds at year end may be used within other DCC grant schemes.

    Where an application is unsuccessful and considered to be some distance from meeting the requirements of this Fund, we will try to signpost the applicant to other more suitable sources of support and advice.

  • General DCC terms and conditions for grant funding

    Full details of the specific DCC terms and conditions relating to these grant schemes form part of the application process and require projects to accept them before any funds are released. However, there are some generic conditions which apply to all the grant schemes, which your group/organisation project needs to be aware of.

    1. You must confirm on the application that your project meets the respective eligibility criteria. The grant can only be used for the purposes specified in the application.
    2. Project applicants must confirm the project serves communities within the DCC administrative area of Devon, with at least 75% of the people benefiting from the project living in that area.
    3. There is no automatic right to a grant, DCC will consider all applications and decide on the applications it wishes to grant fund, seeking to distribute funding in an even-handed way across the entire area of Devon it administers. DCC reserves the right not to make a funding offer to a project.
    4. Grants will be awarded where they are deemed to be most needed and where they would have the greatest, long-lasting impact and outcomes.
    5. Grants will be awarded on a one-off basis and applications for continuation of ‘business as usual’ will not be supported. Any grant relating to an application does not commit the County Council to ongoing future funding.
    6. For successful projects, DCC funds will only be released following the submission of evidence that the remainder of the match funding has been secured from other sources.
    7. Applicants have to accept in writing (an email or online application will suffice) the associated DCC Terms and Conditions before any grants can be released.
    8. Any unspent/uncommitted monies will be returned to Devon County Council, in line with the relevant terms and conditions applying.
    9. An evaluation of how the funding has benefited the organisation/local community will be provided; in line with the relevant terms and conditions applying.
    10. 10. Any DCC grant-funded projects will clearly acknowledge, in any related publicity materials the Fund Scheme as a DCC initiative.
    11. DCC grant-funded projects accept that DCC will issue publicity about projects and activities that it supports, so may use such projects within its publicity materials and as promotional case studies, and may wish the project to evaluate further its project work and outcomes. Publicity may include digital images, video and other content.
    12. Within 1 month of project completion, projects receiving a DCC grant will conduct a project evaluation (i.e. proof of how fund monies have been spent must be supplied in the form of invoices, video, audio, photos and a one-page project summary) and forward it to DCC.
    13. DCC grants cannot be used to: benefit individuals directly, (e.g. ongoing salary costs or cash payments), or for private profit businesses, reverse public sector policy or provide services which are the statutory responsibility of public sector agencies, support political activities and/or projects where most or all beneficiaries are animals (i.e. charity, rescue or therapy), fund and commit to ongoing support.
    14. Regular Highways-related activity such as grass cutting, ditch and drainage work and any other associated ‘lengthsman’ duties, are not eligible for these funding schemes. Separate DCC community self-help schemes exist which give town and parish councils and community self-help groups the opportunity to take control of small local highways related maintenance tasks; allowing them to manage local volunteers and maintain their own local area. For further information: https://new.devon.gov.uk/roadsandtransport/maintaining-roads/self-help-and-community-support/
    15. Repayment of DCC grant funds may be required at the sole discretion of Devon County Council if a funded project supplies false information, fails to spend the money in any allotted time period, fails to return evaluation materials within the agreed time period, becomes insolvent and/or there are any other breaches of the conditions or eligibility criteria.
    16. DCC may request additional information and assurances; requiring additional terms and conditions to apply and will require you to confirm in writing your acceptance of any additional terms and conditions before agreeing to provide DCC grant funding. Acceptance can be in the form of an email from the charity/organisation’s contact email address provided on the application form.