Clinks is very pleased to launch a new round of our Covid-19 grants programme, this time to support more small and specialist voluntary organisations working in the criminal justice system. There's also a particular focus on organisations that are black, Asian and minority ethnic led and focussed, and those supporting people with protected characteristics.
The Covid-19 pandemic continues to have a profound effect on voluntary organisations. This summer Clinks was able to distribute £300,000 to small and medium organisations on behalf of Her Majesty's Prison and Probation Service (HMPPS) and the Ministry of Justice (MoJ). However, our research has shown that organisations are not fully confident about their long-term sustainability and there is growing concern about the future availability of funding from trusts and foundations and cuts to government funding. We are happy to distribute a further £143,500* on behalf of HMPPS and MoJ to organisations with an annual income of £250,000 or less. The limited funding available and strict eligibility criteria mean that not everyone will be able to benefit from this programme. We will continue to advocate for more funding for organisations
You can read more about how Covid-19 has impacted on organisations in our latest report, The impact of Covid-19 on the voluntary sector in criminal justice.
The grants programme
The grants programme launched today will build on Clinks' work supporting voluntary organisations working in the criminal justice system throughout the pandemic, including the distribution of 58 grants this summer. As we neared the end of the last programme our thoughts were turning to 'recovery' but with the winter bringing tighter restrictions and new challenges it is clear organisations will need to continue to work in innovative ways to meet the needs of their beneficiaries.
Small organisations, in particular, are facing significant funding challenges, with grant funding in decline and costs rising as organisations fundamentally adapt how they deliver services at the same time as dealing with greater need. The most successful applicants from the summer grants programme were larger organisations - those with £250,000-£500,000 annual income, and this aligns with what we know about funding in the sector. We have therefore made the decision to bring down the upper eligibility limit for annual income, to ensure that we are reaching as many small and specialist organisations as possible. These organisations need it most.
BAME-specialist organisations and protected characteristics
We will be ensuring that we reach as many black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME)-led and BAME-focused organisations as possible with this opportunity, as well as specialist organisations who work with other groups with protected characteristics. These groups have faced disproportionate impacts from Covid-19 (see page 7 our research report), and the organisations that exist to support them are vital. (You may also be interested in reading about Clinks' commitment to becoming an anti-racist organisation). Impacts on mental health - another protected characteristic - have also been severe and we found in our previous rounds that we received few applications specifically targeting support for those with mental health needs. New scoring criteria have been introduced: as well as being scored on the overall quality of the application, its feasibility, and its value for money, organisations will be scored more highly if their service works specifically with groups with protected characteristics.
Are you eligible?
Organisations are eligible to apply if they have an annual income of £250,000 or less and are already operating in the criminal justice system, in custody, through-the-gate, or in the community. Organisations can apply if they received a grant through our summer grants programme, but our panel will take this and other emergency funding into consideration to ensure the most vulnerable organisations do not miss out. Our detailed eligibility criteria can be found here.
We will continue with the robust and transparent process agreed with HMPPS for our earlier grants programme: grants will be decided on by a panel of Clinks, HMPPS and a philanthropic funder, with HMPPS having the casting vote. Clinks will contribute our intelligence of the needs of the organisations we support to ensure the grants reach organisations who need them most. A few high-scoring but unsuccessful applications from previous funding rounds are being reconsidered - these applications met our benchmark score to be funded but missed out due to limited funding. These organisations have already been contacted.
The deadline for applications is Monday 4th January at 9am, and we hope to inform applicants of their outcome on Tuesday 12th January. We anticipate a high number of applications and encourage you to submit your application early if at all possible, to allow our panel to review applications as they come in.
*HMPPS has provided £150,000 of which Clinks requires £6,500 for the administration of this programme.
Image: Courtesy of Company Chameleon, credit Joel Fildes
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