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Lewis Garland 's Entries

46 blogs
  • 25 Nov 2015
    Between 22nd November and 22nd December we are celebrating UK Disability History Month. This month highlights the contribution and achievements of disabled people in the UK and raises awareness of the continued unequal position of disabled people in society. Local disability charities and community groups are at the very heart of the movement to create a more equal society and world for disabled people. Local disability groups are often user-led (DPULOs) and have highly specialist knowledge of their cause, their beneficiaries and of the facilities and issues in their communities. Localgiving’s recent Local charity and Community Group Sustainability Report found that 13% of local charities in the UK specialise in 'disability' with another 14% focussing on 'health and wellbeing'. Together, that represents over a quarter of the UK’s local charities. The UK disability sector is hugely diverse - services range from advice and advocacy to campaigning to running specialist projects such as buddy schemes. Why not find out what groups there are in your area? It's easier than you think to get involved, volunteer, fundraise or donate. You may have the very skills a local group is looking for. To give you some help, here are just some of the amazing charities that we work with every day: Spider- Y (Yorkshire) Ability Dogs 4 Young People IOW (Isle of Wight) Twinkle House (Manchester) Wisp dance club (Wrexham) WinVisible (London) Muffins Dream Team (Hampshire) Staffordshire Therapeutic Independent Neurological Group STING (Staffordshire) Sports Driving Unlimited (Dumfries & Galloway) Dingley Family and Specialist Early Years Centres (Reading) CoDa Dance Company (Surrey) Diverse Abilities Plus (Dorset) Rock Foundation (Lincolnshire) Autism Angels (North Yorkshire) Glenshane Care Association (Londonderry/Derry)   There are many, many more groups working tirelessly all across the country – to find a group near you click HERE. December 3rd is International Day of Disabled Persons- That’s just two days after #GivingTuesday. What better time to make your donation go that bit further? Images: Top left- Sports Driving Ltd, Right- STING   Found this Blog useful? You may also like:    5 free tools to share your organisation's story by Nisha Kotecha The Refugee Crisis: make a difference on your doorstep by Lewis GarlandDawn rises over Mount Kilimanjaro    
    1613 Posted by Lewis Garland
  • Between 22nd November and 22nd December we are celebrating UK Disability History Month. This month highlights the contribution and achievements of disabled people in the UK and raises awareness of the continued unequal position of disabled people in society. Local disability charities and community groups are at the very heart of the movement to create a more equal society and world for disabled people. Local disability groups are often user-led (DPULOs) and have highly specialist knowledge of their cause, their beneficiaries and of the facilities and issues in their communities. Localgiving’s recent Local charity and Community Group Sustainability Report found that 13% of local charities in the UK specialise in 'disability' with another 14% focussing on 'health and wellbeing'. Together, that represents over a quarter of the UK’s local charities. The UK disability sector is hugely diverse - services range from advice and advocacy to campaigning to running specialist projects such as buddy schemes. Why not find out what groups there are in your area? It's easier than you think to get involved, volunteer, fundraise or donate. You may have the very skills a local group is looking for. To give you some help, here are just some of the amazing charities that we work with every day: Spider- Y (Yorkshire) Ability Dogs 4 Young People IOW (Isle of Wight) Twinkle House (Manchester) Wisp dance club (Wrexham) WinVisible (London) Muffins Dream Team (Hampshire) Staffordshire Therapeutic Independent Neurological Group STING (Staffordshire) Sports Driving Unlimited (Dumfries & Galloway) Dingley Family and Specialist Early Years Centres (Reading) CoDa Dance Company (Surrey) Diverse Abilities Plus (Dorset) Rock Foundation (Lincolnshire) Autism Angels (North Yorkshire) Glenshane Care Association (Londonderry/Derry)   There are many, many more groups working tirelessly all across the country – to find a group near you click HERE. December 3rd is International Day of Disabled Persons- That’s just two days after #GivingTuesday. What better time to make your donation go that bit further? Images: Top left- Sports Driving Ltd, Right- STING   Found this Blog useful? You may also like:    5 free tools to share your organisation's story by Nisha Kotecha The Refugee Crisis: make a difference on your doorstep by Lewis GarlandDawn rises over Mount Kilimanjaro    
    Nov 25, 2015 1613
  • 18 Nov 2015
    With #GivingTuesday just around the corner, there’s no better time to get your social media pages up to date and to make it simpler for your supporters to donate! One really useful recent update made by Facebook allows you to add a free “Donate Now” button to the top of your organisation’s Facebook page. By linking the button to your Localgiving donation page, you can make it easier for supporters to give. To help you benefit from this, we thought we’d give you a little advice on how to get started. Firstly, you need to make sure that your Facebook page is set up under the category “non-profit organization”. If your page is currently set up as something else, you can change its category by following this quick guide from Facebook. To add the “Donate Now” Button just follow these simple instructions: 1) Go to your Page’s cover photo and click “Create Call to Action”. 2) This will give you a list of possible “Call to Action” buttons. Scroll through these buttons and choose “Donate Now”.                3) Below this list you will see a box with the title “Website”. This is where you need to add the URL of your Localgiving page. We recommend that you add your donation page URL here. This way your donors will only be one click away from donating! To find your Donation Page URL first open your Localgiving page in a new tab and then click on the “Donate Now” button at the top right of the page.                                                                                                                                                             When you are on this page simply copy the URL in the address bar.     Then paste the URL into the box titled “Website”.   4) Once your URL is written in this box, all you need to do is click “Create” and, Voila, your “Donate Now” Button will be live!     Once your “Donate Button” is active you can even find out how many people have clicked on it. Just click on the button, hover over “view Insights” and you will see a graph showing how many people have clicked on each of the last 7 days.So, now you are fully equipped with a shiny new “Donate Now” Button – it’s time to tell your supporters. Why not encourage them to donate £5 through Facebook on December 1st as part of our #GiveMe5 match fund campaign!   Found this Blog useful? You may also like:    The Power of Storytelling: Six Top Tips by Mike Zywina   5 free tools to share your organisation's story by Nisha Kotecha   How to make friend with the media by Kay Parris Get your charity’s voice heard by Duncan Hatfield    
    3716 Posted by Lewis Garland
  • With #GivingTuesday just around the corner, there’s no better time to get your social media pages up to date and to make it simpler for your supporters to donate! One really useful recent update made by Facebook allows you to add a free “Donate Now” button to the top of your organisation’s Facebook page. By linking the button to your Localgiving donation page, you can make it easier for supporters to give. To help you benefit from this, we thought we’d give you a little advice on how to get started. Firstly, you need to make sure that your Facebook page is set up under the category “non-profit organization”. If your page is currently set up as something else, you can change its category by following this quick guide from Facebook. To add the “Donate Now” Button just follow these simple instructions: 1) Go to your Page’s cover photo and click “Create Call to Action”. 2) This will give you a list of possible “Call to Action” buttons. Scroll through these buttons and choose “Donate Now”.                3) Below this list you will see a box with the title “Website”. This is where you need to add the URL of your Localgiving page. We recommend that you add your donation page URL here. This way your donors will only be one click away from donating! To find your Donation Page URL first open your Localgiving page in a new tab and then click on the “Donate Now” button at the top right of the page.                                                                                                                                                             When you are on this page simply copy the URL in the address bar.     Then paste the URL into the box titled “Website”.   4) Once your URL is written in this box, all you need to do is click “Create” and, Voila, your “Donate Now” Button will be live!     Once your “Donate Button” is active you can even find out how many people have clicked on it. Just click on the button, hover over “view Insights” and you will see a graph showing how many people have clicked on each of the last 7 days.So, now you are fully equipped with a shiny new “Donate Now” Button – it’s time to tell your supporters. Why not encourage them to donate £5 through Facebook on December 1st as part of our #GiveMe5 match fund campaign!   Found this Blog useful? You may also like:    The Power of Storytelling: Six Top Tips by Mike Zywina   5 free tools to share your organisation's story by Nisha Kotecha   How to make friend with the media by Kay Parris Get your charity’s voice heard by Duncan Hatfield    
    Nov 18, 2015 3716
  • 20 Oct 2015
    This year’s #GivingTuesday is taking place on December 1st 2015 #GivingTuesday is a global day of giving, now in its fourth year. Across the world, from Los Angeles to Anglesey, people will be coming together in the spirit of giving. Whether donating, volunteering or simply lending your voice, this is a real opportunity for you to make a difference. Support a local charity on the day, and you could have an even bigger impact. Our recent study into the local voluntary sector has revealed that local groups are dangerously overstretched and seldom receive the support they need. 81% of local charities are facing an increase in demand for services, but only 15% of those feel sufficiently resourced to deal with a continued escalation  Shockingly, just 47% of local groups confident that they will be able to stay financially afloat over the next 5 years.   Together we can be the catalyst to change this! As a little incentive for supporters and fundraisers to get involved with this year’s #GivingTuesday, Localgiving will be running a match fund campaign on the day. Through #GiveMe5, we will be matching 1000 X £5 donations made to Localgiving groups. On last year’s #GivingTuesday, our Triple Tenner Tuesday match fund raised £75,736 for small, local charities in just 24 hours. There are various ways that you can get involved: Spread the word using the hashtag #GiveMe5 - and why not liven your campaign up with Selfie (see right) Search for a charity on Localgiving by region and cause and make a £5 donation on #GivingTuesday (December 1st 2015) for the chance to have your donation doubled Encourage local groups that you care about to get involved with the campaign. Remember, If you are already a member you can refer other groups using your unique link. Once they are online we'll donate £10 to your cause - plus another £10 to theirs! We look forward to seeing your #GiveMe5 selfies flooding in!
    2667 Posted by Lewis Garland
  • This year’s #GivingTuesday is taking place on December 1st 2015 #GivingTuesday is a global day of giving, now in its fourth year. Across the world, from Los Angeles to Anglesey, people will be coming together in the spirit of giving. Whether donating, volunteering or simply lending your voice, this is a real opportunity for you to make a difference. Support a local charity on the day, and you could have an even bigger impact. Our recent study into the local voluntary sector has revealed that local groups are dangerously overstretched and seldom receive the support they need. 81% of local charities are facing an increase in demand for services, but only 15% of those feel sufficiently resourced to deal with a continued escalation  Shockingly, just 47% of local groups confident that they will be able to stay financially afloat over the next 5 years.   Together we can be the catalyst to change this! As a little incentive for supporters and fundraisers to get involved with this year’s #GivingTuesday, Localgiving will be running a match fund campaign on the day. Through #GiveMe5, we will be matching 1000 X £5 donations made to Localgiving groups. On last year’s #GivingTuesday, our Triple Tenner Tuesday match fund raised £75,736 for small, local charities in just 24 hours. There are various ways that you can get involved: Spread the word using the hashtag #GiveMe5 - and why not liven your campaign up with Selfie (see right) Search for a charity on Localgiving by region and cause and make a £5 donation on #GivingTuesday (December 1st 2015) for the chance to have your donation doubled Encourage local groups that you care about to get involved with the campaign. Remember, If you are already a member you can refer other groups using your unique link. Once they are online we'll donate £10 to your cause - plus another £10 to theirs! We look forward to seeing your #GiveMe5 selfies flooding in!
    Oct 20, 2015 2667
  • 18 Sep 2015
    In our recent blog, The Refugee Crisis: make a difference on your doorstep, we highlighted some of the practical ways that people can support refugees through local initiatives. While the headlines focus on the need for emergency assistance, it is important to remember that, once in the UK, refugees and asylum seekers face many additional challenges and barriers - from alienation, to housing to health. Much of the support available is provided by small, local charities and solidarity organisations. These groups not only have an acute understanding of the particular needs in their area and community but many also provide unique, innovative solutions. A perfect example of this is The Bike Project. Jem Stein set up The Bike Project in 2013 after witnessing first-hand the problems for refugees and asylum seekers caused by London’s soaring transport costs. Jem’s solution was simple - to get refugees cycling! By repairing abandoned bikes and giving them to refugees, The Bike Project estimate they save each refugee over £1000 per year. Since 2013 the project has gone from strength to strength. To date, they have distributed over 980 bikes to refugees as well as venturing into new areas such as cycle training for refugee women. This week we met Jem amid the wheel-lined walls of The Bike Project’s HQ in South London. Here we took the opportunity to discuss how the project started, its successes so far and new initiatives. We also looked at how the project is benefitting from its business partnerships. What was your inspiration behind the Bike Project? “When I was at university I started mentoring a refugee. He was 16 and had fled the Darfuri genocide. He was placed in the outskirts of London. Beside all the terrible things he had experienced, one of the biggest challenges he faced was that he couldn’t get anywhere. London transport is so expensive. As an asylum seeker you get £36 per week to live off and a bus pass is £21 per week. As you can’t work this leaves you very little”. “I grew up in Oxford - a cycling city - one of the first things I did to help him therefore was try to get him a bike. This enabled him to access education, healthcare, base community and psychological support”. “I founded The Bike project in my spare time while at my last charity. I left that charity to run it full time in March 2013. So we’ve been going two and a half years”. Talk us through how The Bike Project works? “Our core work involves collecting bikes donated through individuals, police, local councils and various different organisations. These bikes are refurbished by the mechanics in our workshop”. “Refugees can come and get a bike from us - most are referred from refugee organisations but people can turn up on the door.” “We have just started providing basic cycle safety training to refugees too. Every refugee receives a set of lights, a lock and a helmet. Many choose to become regular volunteers with us – this way they are also involved in the process of fixing the bikes” “We also have a project that teaches refugee women to cycle. It quickly came to our attention that we were becoming very male dominated. When we did some research we realised that this was because most refugee women come from patriarchal societies where it is not socially acceptable for women to cycle. We got a little bit of funding from TFL and a private trust. We run that project every Tuesday with the Jesuit refugee service”. Have you had any specific success stories? “One of our success stories is Resom (pictured above) who is working next door. He initially came to us as a refugee and soon started volunteering for us. As he had leave to remain, he was allowed to work. He had a knack for bike mechanics so we supported him to train as a mechanic. We now employ him 3 and a bit days per week.” You have recently been sponsored by the Law firm Winckworth – Sherwood to become a member of Localgiving. Have you explored working with businesses before and would you say there are any particular benefits from working with businesses? “We are really grateful to Winckworth - Sherwood for supporting us. We encourage them to visit and see what we do. We look forward to working with them in the future”. “We are a charity and social enterprise. Part of our income comes from providing bike servicing to firms in the city with commuter cyclists - so we work with a lot of big and medium sized businesses” “The great thing about working with businesses is that people who work in the private sector really like to feel that their skills can be useful (to charities). You can get a lot out of a relationship if you can find a way to use these skills. For example, our treasurer is the financial director of a private equity firm in the city. It is important for him to be able to use his skills in a way that helps a charity.” “When working with a business if there is a way for you to utilise their skills, this can be the core of a really productive relationship in terms of volunteering and potentially financially.”    To find out more about the bike project or donate please visit: The Bike Project To find out about groups supporting refugees and asylum seekers in your area, you can search for relevant charities HERE.     
    2017 Posted by Lewis Garland
  • In our recent blog, The Refugee Crisis: make a difference on your doorstep, we highlighted some of the practical ways that people can support refugees through local initiatives. While the headlines focus on the need for emergency assistance, it is important to remember that, once in the UK, refugees and asylum seekers face many additional challenges and barriers - from alienation, to housing to health. Much of the support available is provided by small, local charities and solidarity organisations. These groups not only have an acute understanding of the particular needs in their area and community but many also provide unique, innovative solutions. A perfect example of this is The Bike Project. Jem Stein set up The Bike Project in 2013 after witnessing first-hand the problems for refugees and asylum seekers caused by London’s soaring transport costs. Jem’s solution was simple - to get refugees cycling! By repairing abandoned bikes and giving them to refugees, The Bike Project estimate they save each refugee over £1000 per year. Since 2013 the project has gone from strength to strength. To date, they have distributed over 980 bikes to refugees as well as venturing into new areas such as cycle training for refugee women. This week we met Jem amid the wheel-lined walls of The Bike Project’s HQ in South London. Here we took the opportunity to discuss how the project started, its successes so far and new initiatives. We also looked at how the project is benefitting from its business partnerships. What was your inspiration behind the Bike Project? “When I was at university I started mentoring a refugee. He was 16 and had fled the Darfuri genocide. He was placed in the outskirts of London. Beside all the terrible things he had experienced, one of the biggest challenges he faced was that he couldn’t get anywhere. London transport is so expensive. As an asylum seeker you get £36 per week to live off and a bus pass is £21 per week. As you can’t work this leaves you very little”. “I grew up in Oxford - a cycling city - one of the first things I did to help him therefore was try to get him a bike. This enabled him to access education, healthcare, base community and psychological support”. “I founded The Bike project in my spare time while at my last charity. I left that charity to run it full time in March 2013. So we’ve been going two and a half years”. Talk us through how The Bike Project works? “Our core work involves collecting bikes donated through individuals, police, local councils and various different organisations. These bikes are refurbished by the mechanics in our workshop”. “Refugees can come and get a bike from us - most are referred from refugee organisations but people can turn up on the door.” “We have just started providing basic cycle safety training to refugees too. Every refugee receives a set of lights, a lock and a helmet. Many choose to become regular volunteers with us – this way they are also involved in the process of fixing the bikes” “We also have a project that teaches refugee women to cycle. It quickly came to our attention that we were becoming very male dominated. When we did some research we realised that this was because most refugee women come from patriarchal societies where it is not socially acceptable for women to cycle. We got a little bit of funding from TFL and a private trust. We run that project every Tuesday with the Jesuit refugee service”. Have you had any specific success stories? “One of our success stories is Resom (pictured above) who is working next door. He initially came to us as a refugee and soon started volunteering for us. As he had leave to remain, he was allowed to work. He had a knack for bike mechanics so we supported him to train as a mechanic. We now employ him 3 and a bit days per week.” You have recently been sponsored by the Law firm Winckworth – Sherwood to become a member of Localgiving. Have you explored working with businesses before and would you say there are any particular benefits from working with businesses? “We are really grateful to Winckworth - Sherwood for supporting us. We encourage them to visit and see what we do. We look forward to working with them in the future”. “We are a charity and social enterprise. Part of our income comes from providing bike servicing to firms in the city with commuter cyclists - so we work with a lot of big and medium sized businesses” “The great thing about working with businesses is that people who work in the private sector really like to feel that their skills can be useful (to charities). You can get a lot out of a relationship if you can find a way to use these skills. For example, our treasurer is the financial director of a private equity firm in the city. It is important for him to be able to use his skills in a way that helps a charity.” “When working with a business if there is a way for you to utilise their skills, this can be the core of a really productive relationship in terms of volunteering and potentially financially.”    To find out more about the bike project or donate please visit: The Bike Project To find out about groups supporting refugees and asylum seekers in your area, you can search for relevant charities HERE.     
    Sep 18, 2015 2017
  • 04 Sep 2015
    It is impossible not to be moved by the tragic scenes taking place in the Mediterranean and Eastern Europe – the crammed trains and boats, hauntingly reminiscent of our not-too-distant history. Images of desperate people, making treacherous journeys to escape war-torn regions. Many of us want to do our bit in this time of great human need. However, we can’t all be handing out provisions in Budapest, Kos or Calais. So, how then can we help? There are many larger charities, national and international, that have a proven track record in supporting refugees - UNHCR, Refugee Action and the  British Red Cross to name a few. These organisations provide exceptional emergency support and advocacy. However, much of the long term support required by asylum seekers and refugees is provided by small, locally-based community groups and solidarity organisations. Once in the UK, refugees and asylum seekers face multiple, complex issues – be it trauma, exploitation or social isolation. These grassroots organisations provide the essential support needed to empower refugees and enable them to fully integrate and flourish. Support local groups As a member organisation for local charities and community groups, Localgiving is proud to work with many of these amazing groups from across the country. To highlight just a few: RETAS provide education and training to refugees and asylum seekers in West Yorkshire to help them rebuild their lives in the UK Embrace, based in Stoke-on-Trent, provide a drop-in service for female asylum seekers and their children across Staffordshire who are experiencing hardship and social isolation NNRF work with and for refugees and asylum seekers across Nottinghamshire, offering practical advice, information, support and friendship CLEAR provide advice and education to both settled and developing refugee communities in Southampton Slough Immigration Aid Unit empower people by ensuring they know, and can access their legal rights under immigration law Ourmala support refugee and asylum-seeking women living in London to find strength and hope through yoga These groups all rely on their local communities – for both volunteering and financial support. To find out more about how you can get involved with groups supporting refugees and asylum seekers in your area, you can search for relevant charities here. You don’t have to be in Calais to play your part  sometimes the biggest difference you can make, even in times of international crises, is on your own doorstep.     Update (07/09/15): A huge thank you to everyone who has donated or offered  support to any of the charities above so far. I am just updating this blog to let you know about a new member of Localgiving, The Bike Project. This group receive donations of second-hand bikes, fix them up at their community workshops, and donate them to refugees and asylum seekers in London.       
    3792 Posted by Lewis Garland
  • It is impossible not to be moved by the tragic scenes taking place in the Mediterranean and Eastern Europe – the crammed trains and boats, hauntingly reminiscent of our not-too-distant history. Images of desperate people, making treacherous journeys to escape war-torn regions. Many of us want to do our bit in this time of great human need. However, we can’t all be handing out provisions in Budapest, Kos or Calais. So, how then can we help? There are many larger charities, national and international, that have a proven track record in supporting refugees - UNHCR, Refugee Action and the  British Red Cross to name a few. These organisations provide exceptional emergency support and advocacy. However, much of the long term support required by asylum seekers and refugees is provided by small, locally-based community groups and solidarity organisations. Once in the UK, refugees and asylum seekers face multiple, complex issues – be it trauma, exploitation or social isolation. These grassroots organisations provide the essential support needed to empower refugees and enable them to fully integrate and flourish. Support local groups As a member organisation for local charities and community groups, Localgiving is proud to work with many of these amazing groups from across the country. To highlight just a few: RETAS provide education and training to refugees and asylum seekers in West Yorkshire to help them rebuild their lives in the UK Embrace, based in Stoke-on-Trent, provide a drop-in service for female asylum seekers and their children across Staffordshire who are experiencing hardship and social isolation NNRF work with and for refugees and asylum seekers across Nottinghamshire, offering practical advice, information, support and friendship CLEAR provide advice and education to both settled and developing refugee communities in Southampton Slough Immigration Aid Unit empower people by ensuring they know, and can access their legal rights under immigration law Ourmala support refugee and asylum-seeking women living in London to find strength and hope through yoga These groups all rely on their local communities – for both volunteering and financial support. To find out more about how you can get involved with groups supporting refugees and asylum seekers in your area, you can search for relevant charities here. You don’t have to be in Calais to play your part  sometimes the biggest difference you can make, even in times of international crises, is on your own doorstep.     Update (07/09/15): A huge thank you to everyone who has donated or offered  support to any of the charities above so far. I am just updating this blog to let you know about a new member of Localgiving, The Bike Project. This group receive donations of second-hand bikes, fix them up at their community workshops, and donate them to refugees and asylum seekers in London.       
    Sep 04, 2015 3792
  • 25 Aug 2015
    The likelihood is that you have heard of Social Impact Bonds (SIBS) at some time over the last couple of years. Some hail SIBs as an innovative, even revolutionary way to bring together the distinct expertise of different sectors - improving government efficiency while better addressing complex social issues. Others are more cautious, highlighting the potential risks of giving financial incentives to investors for achieving public goods. As is often the case with these things, the majority of us quickly become mired in jargon and leave it for later. The reality is that, wherever you stand, SIBS are a rapidly growing source of funding for not-for-profits. For this reason we felt it would be useful for you to have an outline of SIBs, enabling you (small, local charities and community groups) to decide whether, and if so how, you may be able to participate. What exactly are Social Impact Bonds? Social Impact Bonds are Pay-by-Performance contracts in which the financial risks (and potential profits) lie entirely with private investors, rather than with the government or civil society. A private investor initially pays for a commissioned project (Commissioners are public sector organisation’s such as local authorities or government departments). The investor then works alongside their chosen partner civil society organisations to achieve specific, measurable outcomes that are agreed upon at the start of the bond. The investors are only repaid by the commissioner if the outcomes are attained. If the agreed outcomes are achieved the investors are repaid by the commissioner and are also given a return for the financial risks they took.   What is the idea behind SIBS? The idea is to bring in private investment to tackle complex and expensive social challenges. The theory is that well-funded early intervention will prevent greater long-term problems and will, ultimately, reduce the public sector’s costs. For example, the first ever SIB, The Peterborough Social Impact Bond, was intended to reduce reoffending. Another ongoing SIB commissioned by Manchester Council is aimed at supporting young people transitioning between residential care to foster care (young people in Residential Care are statistically more likely to have low school attendance, substance abuse problems,  enter the criminal justice system and  become NEET- Not in Education, Employment or Training) Accountability and transparency - SIBs have clearly defined outcomes that must be achieved if investors are to ensure a return on their investment. Consequently, it is in the interests of all parties to ensure that the impact of the project is accurately monitored and evaluated. In the long term, this would mean a shift towards a more evidence based approach to government spending. How do SIBS work in practice? SIBS are still in their infancy and as a result there are relatively few case studies to draw upon. Moreover, those that do exist differ considerably in structure and practice.  The most frequently cited case study is the Peterborough Pilot. The Peterborough SIB, launched in March 2010, was aimed at reducing reoffending by prisoners released from Peterborough prison. Re-offending is an area where prevention has been proven to save the taxpayer money. The Ministry of Justice (MOJ) worked in collaboration with 17 investors - mostly charitable trusts and foundations. As this was a “proof of concept” pilot,  this contract was not put out for competitive tender. However, competitive tendering is expected to become the norm for SIBs.   Service providers, together known as the One Service included: St Giles Trust; Ormiston Children and Families Trust (Ormiston); SOVA; YMCA, Peterborough and Fenland Mind (Mind) The contract agreed that the MOJ would make payments to investors if re-offending was reduced by at least 7.5%.  The greater the drop in reoffending beyond this threshold, the more the investors would receive The SIB offered support to 3,000 prisoners both inside prison and after release. The One Service offered a range of support including help with accommodation, low-level mental health needs and training and employment opportunities. In August 2014 the results for the first group of 1,000 prisoners on the Peterborough  SIB were announced - these showed an 8.4% reduction in reconviction rates relative to the national baseline. Peterborough SIB was cut short due after the MoJ announced they would be restructuring the probation service in April 2014. Are small/local charities  able to become service providers in Social Impact bonds? Unlike other pay-by-performance contracts, small charities are more likely to be able to participate in SIBS because the financial risk does not lie with them but with the investor. The government have been keen to highlight this point, claiming that SIBs enable service providers with a ‘deep understanding of the target group that they are trying to support and expertise in the types of intervention that are effective’ but that ‘lack both working capital and evaluation expertise’ to participate in interventions. Strictly speaking, any charity or social enterprise with a proven track record of delivering high social impact  is eligible to become a service provider - plenty of small, local charities meet this definition. However, since investors are carrying the initial financial burden, they are unlikely to be willing to take big risks when choosing which civil society organisations to work with. In practice, most service providers have been working with recognised,  medium to large, charities. Service providers involved in SIBS at present include: Action for children, Thames Reach, St Mungo’s and YMCA. For smaller charities considering participating in a SIB, one potential option would be to work collaboratively with a larger, lead charity. Flexibility, Monitoring and Evaluation One key point for smaller charities to consider when looking at whether they want to become involved in SIBs is whether they have (or see themselves as being able to gain) the capacity for wide scale data-collection and the flexibility to change their methods if goals are not being met. In order for investors to ensure a return on their investment they must provide solid evidence that they have achieved their outcomes. This involves rigorously monitoring and evaluating their programmes. A lot of the feedback  from charities involved in SIBS so far has directly referenced the high volume of data-collection required. For example, Teens and Toddlers, who have recently been supported by a SIB to deliver an educational and social training programme for 14-15 year olds in Manchester, have stated: “We had to be ready for the data demands that come weekly, monthly, quarterly, yearly…This can be tough. I report monthly to our board of investors. Every bit of data is reported on and scrutinised, and although our investors are a great bunch, I still get a tad nervous. A bit like first night nerves on a monthly basis!” Whilst monitoring and evaluation demands are particularly high for SIBS, in truth this is reflective of a general trend towards demanding accountability for funds. For some charities, involvement with a SIB may give them the impetus and resources to better survive in this new era of funding conditionality. Publicity As SIBS are still a relatively new initiative they continue to attract a comparatively high level of media attention. If involved in a SIB, this attention may be used to increase public awareness of your charity and cause, potentially driving up demand for services and even bringing in opportunities for further investment. Teens and Toddlers claimed that they gained “fantastic media coverage” that has “ensured (their) name is recognised much more widely”. Of course, increased attention will always come with reputational risks as well as rewards. Can charities propose SIBS themselves? Theoretically anyone, be it a commissioner, investor, politician or service provider can propose a SIB. There is nothing preventing charities and community organisations developing SIB proposals. In fact, in many cases local charities are likely to have the best understanding of both the needs of their communities and the type of intervention that may be required to address them. However, the difficulty for smaller charities, with limited resources –  or, importantly, contacts – may come in approaching other actors (potential commissioners and investors) about implementation. For smaller charities interested in developing a SIB proposal, the best option would almost certainly be to work in partnership with other potential service providers and sound-out potential investors (using the contacts they have in businesses, trusts or foundations)as early as possible. To find out more about Social Impact Bonds you can visit: http://data.gov.uk/sib_knowledge_box/ https://www.gov.uk/social-impact-bonds http://knowhownonprofit.org/funding/social-investment-1/investment-types/social-impact-bonds http://www.bigsocietycapital.com/blog/anyone-social-impact-bondyes-please#sthash.VgtnT6Sp.dpuf http://www.i-for-change.co.uk/resources/sib-market.html http://www.socialfinance.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2015/06/Case-Studies.pdf    
    2578 Posted by Lewis Garland
  • The likelihood is that you have heard of Social Impact Bonds (SIBS) at some time over the last couple of years. Some hail SIBs as an innovative, even revolutionary way to bring together the distinct expertise of different sectors - improving government efficiency while better addressing complex social issues. Others are more cautious, highlighting the potential risks of giving financial incentives to investors for achieving public goods. As is often the case with these things, the majority of us quickly become mired in jargon and leave it for later. The reality is that, wherever you stand, SIBS are a rapidly growing source of funding for not-for-profits. For this reason we felt it would be useful for you to have an outline of SIBs, enabling you (small, local charities and community groups) to decide whether, and if so how, you may be able to participate. What exactly are Social Impact Bonds? Social Impact Bonds are Pay-by-Performance contracts in which the financial risks (and potential profits) lie entirely with private investors, rather than with the government or civil society. A private investor initially pays for a commissioned project (Commissioners are public sector organisation’s such as local authorities or government departments). The investor then works alongside their chosen partner civil society organisations to achieve specific, measurable outcomes that are agreed upon at the start of the bond. The investors are only repaid by the commissioner if the outcomes are attained. If the agreed outcomes are achieved the investors are repaid by the commissioner and are also given a return for the financial risks they took.   What is the idea behind SIBS? The idea is to bring in private investment to tackle complex and expensive social challenges. The theory is that well-funded early intervention will prevent greater long-term problems and will, ultimately, reduce the public sector’s costs. For example, the first ever SIB, The Peterborough Social Impact Bond, was intended to reduce reoffending. Another ongoing SIB commissioned by Manchester Council is aimed at supporting young people transitioning between residential care to foster care (young people in Residential Care are statistically more likely to have low school attendance, substance abuse problems,  enter the criminal justice system and  become NEET- Not in Education, Employment or Training) Accountability and transparency - SIBs have clearly defined outcomes that must be achieved if investors are to ensure a return on their investment. Consequently, it is in the interests of all parties to ensure that the impact of the project is accurately monitored and evaluated. In the long term, this would mean a shift towards a more evidence based approach to government spending. How do SIBS work in practice? SIBS are still in their infancy and as a result there are relatively few case studies to draw upon. Moreover, those that do exist differ considerably in structure and practice.  The most frequently cited case study is the Peterborough Pilot. The Peterborough SIB, launched in March 2010, was aimed at reducing reoffending by prisoners released from Peterborough prison. Re-offending is an area where prevention has been proven to save the taxpayer money. The Ministry of Justice (MOJ) worked in collaboration with 17 investors - mostly charitable trusts and foundations. As this was a “proof of concept” pilot,  this contract was not put out for competitive tender. However, competitive tendering is expected to become the norm for SIBs.   Service providers, together known as the One Service included: St Giles Trust; Ormiston Children and Families Trust (Ormiston); SOVA; YMCA, Peterborough and Fenland Mind (Mind) The contract agreed that the MOJ would make payments to investors if re-offending was reduced by at least 7.5%.  The greater the drop in reoffending beyond this threshold, the more the investors would receive The SIB offered support to 3,000 prisoners both inside prison and after release. The One Service offered a range of support including help with accommodation, low-level mental health needs and training and employment opportunities. In August 2014 the results for the first group of 1,000 prisoners on the Peterborough  SIB were announced - these showed an 8.4% reduction in reconviction rates relative to the national baseline. Peterborough SIB was cut short due after the MoJ announced they would be restructuring the probation service in April 2014. Are small/local charities  able to become service providers in Social Impact bonds? Unlike other pay-by-performance contracts, small charities are more likely to be able to participate in SIBS because the financial risk does not lie with them but with the investor. The government have been keen to highlight this point, claiming that SIBs enable service providers with a ‘deep understanding of the target group that they are trying to support and expertise in the types of intervention that are effective’ but that ‘lack both working capital and evaluation expertise’ to participate in interventions. Strictly speaking, any charity or social enterprise with a proven track record of delivering high social impact  is eligible to become a service provider - plenty of small, local charities meet this definition. However, since investors are carrying the initial financial burden, they are unlikely to be willing to take big risks when choosing which civil society organisations to work with. In practice, most service providers have been working with recognised,  medium to large, charities. Service providers involved in SIBS at present include: Action for children, Thames Reach, St Mungo’s and YMCA. For smaller charities considering participating in a SIB, one potential option would be to work collaboratively with a larger, lead charity. Flexibility, Monitoring and Evaluation One key point for smaller charities to consider when looking at whether they want to become involved in SIBs is whether they have (or see themselves as being able to gain) the capacity for wide scale data-collection and the flexibility to change their methods if goals are not being met. In order for investors to ensure a return on their investment they must provide solid evidence that they have achieved their outcomes. This involves rigorously monitoring and evaluating their programmes. A lot of the feedback  from charities involved in SIBS so far has directly referenced the high volume of data-collection required. For example, Teens and Toddlers, who have recently been supported by a SIB to deliver an educational and social training programme for 14-15 year olds in Manchester, have stated: “We had to be ready for the data demands that come weekly, monthly, quarterly, yearly…This can be tough. I report monthly to our board of investors. Every bit of data is reported on and scrutinised, and although our investors are a great bunch, I still get a tad nervous. A bit like first night nerves on a monthly basis!” Whilst monitoring and evaluation demands are particularly high for SIBS, in truth this is reflective of a general trend towards demanding accountability for funds. For some charities, involvement with a SIB may give them the impetus and resources to better survive in this new era of funding conditionality. Publicity As SIBS are still a relatively new initiative they continue to attract a comparatively high level of media attention. If involved in a SIB, this attention may be used to increase public awareness of your charity and cause, potentially driving up demand for services and even bringing in opportunities for further investment. Teens and Toddlers claimed that they gained “fantastic media coverage” that has “ensured (their) name is recognised much more widely”. Of course, increased attention will always come with reputational risks as well as rewards. Can charities propose SIBS themselves? Theoretically anyone, be it a commissioner, investor, politician or service provider can propose a SIB. There is nothing preventing charities and community organisations developing SIB proposals. In fact, in many cases local charities are likely to have the best understanding of both the needs of their communities and the type of intervention that may be required to address them. However, the difficulty for smaller charities, with limited resources –  or, importantly, contacts – may come in approaching other actors (potential commissioners and investors) about implementation. For smaller charities interested in developing a SIB proposal, the best option would almost certainly be to work in partnership with other potential service providers and sound-out potential investors (using the contacts they have in businesses, trusts or foundations)as early as possible. To find out more about Social Impact Bonds you can visit: http://data.gov.uk/sib_knowledge_box/ https://www.gov.uk/social-impact-bonds http://knowhownonprofit.org/funding/social-investment-1/investment-types/social-impact-bonds http://www.bigsocietycapital.com/blog/anyone-social-impact-bondyes-please#sthash.VgtnT6Sp.dpuf http://www.i-for-change.co.uk/resources/sib-market.html http://www.socialfinance.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2015/06/Case-Studies.pdf    
    Aug 25, 2015 2578