Discovery Fund

Discovery Fund – Power to Change – New Funding opened today available to community businesses and community focussed organisations in England who are interested in exploring new tech-based solutions to meet some of their existing challenges.  Maximum £12k which is intended to support community businesses to explore their ideas and learn the processes and skills needed to develop community tech-based solutions which will create impact for their community.  The fund will provide 20 organisations with the following:

  • £10,000 to explore a community tech solution to an existing challenge.
  • An additional £2,000 to fund open working and engaging with the community tech community of practice.
  • A free place on a structured design course to help move efficiently from challenge to solution.
  • A free place on Third Sector Lab’s Open Working and Reuse course.
  • A network of experts and like-minded peers in a facilitated community of practice.

Incorporated community businesses and organisations in England can apply. This includes:

  • Registered charities.
  • Community interest companies (CIC).
  • Charitable Incorporated Organisations (CIO).
  • Community benefit societies.
  • Co-operative societies (if it has a not-for-profit clause and registered with the Financial Conduct Authority).
  • Voluntary or community organisations.
  • Statutory bodies (including town, parish and community councils).
  • Companies limited by guarantee (if it has a not-for-profit clause or is a registered charity).

Community businesses must also be able to demonstrate they are working towards the following criteria:

  • Locally rooted – organisations exist to benefit the local neighbourhood, village, town, ward or borough; the local area is at the heart of what the organisations does.
  • Accountable to the local community – organisations consult and communicate with local people about what they do.
  • Trading for the benefit of the local community – organisations want to increase their income from trading, with profits re-invested to benefit the local community.
  • Making a broad community impact – what the organisation does engages different groups of people from the local area.

Applications from community organisations who are tackling marginalisation or supporting under represented and marginalised groups are particularly encouraged and welcome.

Funding is responsive and flexible and can be used to fund any eligible costs that meet the objectives of the fund.

The discovery funding of £10,000 could be used for:

  • Research – reading, interviews, mapping, workshops etc as a way to ask questions, discover knowledge, refine ideas, scope out potential.
  • Identifying and building partnerships to develop community tech.
  • Spending time consulting with different experts.
  • Undertaking learning journeys.
  • Prototyping, testing and experimenting.
  • Undertaking the Community Explore design process.

The open working funding of £2,000 could be used to:

  • Document work in the Commons.
  • Pay for staff time to attend an open working course.
  • Pay for staff time to write weeknotes or blogs.
  • Pay for time and travel to engage with the community tech programme’s community of practice.
  • Be involved in the Discovery Fund evaluation activity.

There is particular interest in projects led by communities experiencing ethnic or racial inequity, discrimination or inequality, disabled people, LGBTQ+ people, and people who are seeking asylum or who are refugees.

The Discovery Fund opens for applications on 1 June (midday) and closes on 21 July 2023 (midday).

Assessment will take place between 24 July and 7 September 2023 with all results communicated by 12 September 2023.

The first stage in the application process will be an initial eligibility check completed by Power to Change. Eligible applications will be reviewed by a panel of community and tech experts who will select the final 20.  Two live online events will provide an opportunity for potential applicants to learn more about the fund, ‘meet the team behind the programme, ask questions and meet like-minded people’.

Registration for the events are via eventbrite:

Check out their website (link above) which gives examples of previous successful funding applications.

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