Support to Priority groups 2015-16
Our priority groups are groups based in areas of social housing, black and minority ethnic groups and those composed of disabled people. The Centre has a close relationship with these groups and our membership (currently 170 groups) and management committee are drawn from them. In recognition of the additional barriers they face when organising, we offer priority groups – whether members or not – support and advice over and above the services we provide for all groups. Our main aim when working with priority groups is to be as responsive as possible: to respond to what the groups need when they need it.
We offer three main types of additional support:
Design and print support
We offer priority groups help to design and print a range of publications, including newsletters, meeting notices, posters and minutes.
This service was used 283 times in 2015-16.
Examination of accounts
We offer a free examination of accounts service to priority groups, alongside flexible advice and support with all aspects of managing money. An examination gives groups a clear statement of accounts which they can use for fundraising, as well as some reassurance about their book-keeping procedures and a regular opportunity to ask for support if they need it.
Developing skills and confidence in book-keeping is often a long-term process, and our continuing support for priority groups is greatly valued by the volunteer treasurers who bring their books in to be examined year after year. In 2015-16, we carried out 90 examinations of accounts.
Flexible advice and support
This service can cover anything from helping to draw up a fundraising strategy and draft applications, to preparing a speech at a public meeting, from helping purchase the best furniture for a meeting room to giving some tips on how to take good minutes. We deliver this support in a variety of ways:
- Advice on demand – priority groups are welcome to use this service which allows any group in Sussex to drop in during our opening hours for a brief conversation with our front desk worker, on any issue. We may not know the answer but we will do our best to put you in touch with someone who does.
- Intensive one-to-one support – for more complex queries from priority groups, we make longer appointments away from the front desk. We can work through an issue with a group over several support sessions.
Fundraising is always a significant part of our one-to-one support. In 2015-16 we helped 16 groups to prepare and draft 40 funding applications. In total, groups we supported applied for £137,447 and received £64,683. 65% of applications we helped with were successful in full or in part, and 81% of the groups we helped received some grant funding.
In 2015-16 we did 183 intensive one-to-one support sessions, in addition to 134 shorter advice on demand sessions for priority groups. Altogether, we delivered around 6 sessions a week for the most disadvantaged groups in the city.
Updated July 2016