For our second funding round we received 22 eligible applications. Our aim has always been to challenge inequality of wealth and power both through the groups we fund and the way we make decisions. Our process involves groups we’ve previously funded shortlisting the current applications and then the shortlisted groups coming together to decide how the money is shared between them.
We were chuffed that Elias, Lana, Dave and Francis had stepped forward to take on that task for this round. They are all from groups we funded in the first round: Mandem, No More Exclusions, Filwood Community Markets and Phoenix Song Project. We sent them the applications ahead of the meeting and asked them to score each out of ten to use as a guide for the shortlisting process.
The shortlisting meeting took place via Zoom on 2 April. We had exciting news to share at the start of the meeting: 45 minutes before the meeting started, we received a £1,000 donation into the crowdfund! This meant we had £7,589 in the pot, plus we’re expecting another £200 in monthly donations before 17 April, when the shortlisted groups are due to meet.
The meeting started with a reminder of our confidentiality and conflict of interest policies. We then asked how everyone was feeling about shortlisting - did they want to shortlist many groups so they could all have a small amount, or did they want fewer groups to have a larger amount? Most people leaned towards shortlisting fewer groups, despite also feeling they would also like to support as many groups as possible. There was also the suggestion that all groups scoring an average of 7 or more could be shortlisted or that 14 groups could be shortlisted and each receive £500. Or there was the option to try to raise more money to support more groups.
We shared the list of applications in order of their average score. At this point people felt quite happy with shortlisting the top 8. We looked at the applications and their scores more carefully and had a discussion to make sure everyone was agreed.
One application was from an individual, so we discussed whether this met the criteria. People recognised that many groups and projects start as one person and therefore they felt they wanted to include this application, especially as they felt it was likely to become a group in future and they’d not had any financial support from elsewhere.
There were concerns raised that if the shortlisted groups had to make a decision about how the money was shared out between them, this might lead to competition between the groups. We talked about how with similar participatory grant-making processes this actually doesn’t tend to happen, especially when groups have got to know each other and when all groups receive a grant, (even if some more than others).
We talked about whether we should take into account how much groups have raised from other sources. There were some applications that had raised up to £20,000, with this suggesting they might be more able than others to raise money. However, it was decided that we didn’t want to remove any groups from the shortlist on this basis.
There was a suggestion that we could shortlist 8 but have some groups in reserve in case we were able to raise more. In the end, it was felt that it was better to work with the money we knew we had rather than try to raise more. So the decision was made to short-list 8 groups. The annual incomes of the short-listed groups ranged from £0 to £7,974, with an average of £2,334.
Everyone felt it was important that groups which were not successful should receive polite and useful feedback about their application that could help them in future.
A couple of points that came up to consider for next time were to look at the criteria again for including individuals as well as groups, and to make clearer to those shortlisting that it’s important to give comments to explain their scores so that we can give clear feedback to any groups that didn’t get to that stage.
Here are some comments from Elias, Lana, Dave and Francis about the process:
This was one of the best processes I’ve been part of. There are issues with the process, there always will be as nothing is perfect but it is a really good system. This was the fairest and best way to make the decision. We all scored them independently and then discussed them together. We’re breaking the mould.
It is incredibly difficult on a personal level to have this manmade cut-off [between groups funded and groups not funded]. But it’s also incredibly rich seeing the work going on in the city. The process was as democatic and authentic as possible. It couldn’t be more equitable.
The top 8 groups are a real range of groups and communities. This is very positive and occurred naturally.
It was really difficult because I became emotionally invested in some of the applications. But it also feels like something really good to be involved in, it’s democratising and decentralising economies.
The shortlisted groups are:
Atamai Tutor Centre
Volunteer tutors offering one-to-one educational support to young people. The project started because they view education as an important front in the fight against racism and other forms of structural inequality entrenched within our society.
Black Mothers Matter
Black women in the UK have more than four times the risk of dying in pregnancy compared to white women, and twice as likely to have a stillborn baby. This group is working to reduce maternal health inequalities through much needed additional support to Black birthers.
Hazelnut Community Farm
A community food growing project with a commitment to give 50% of what's grown to Lockleaze. They also aim to engage the Church of England as their land has untapped resources for community growing projects and engaging with the climate emergency.
Providing a space and opportunities to connect, for QTIPOC (Queer, Transgender and Intersex People of Colour) and their friends and family. Championing diversity and representation within Bristol’s LGBTQ+ community.
Working to develop, guide and train under-represented film-makers and actors who are overlooked in the film industry in Bristol. The name is a reference to all of the ‘latent talent’ or ‘hidden potential’ that the industry rejects because they are afraid to let ‘different’ people in.
Radical Resilience Project
Survivor-run organisation providing an educational platform, a mutual support space and a basic accessible fund for survivors of rape and sexual violence who don’t have money; it’s also a movement.
Providing support and education for young people with an African Caribbean background who are underprivileged and at risk of not achieving full education and employment. Working to rebuild and repair the intergenerational and societal damage that has affected the community.
St. Paul’s Community Garden
Community turning an overgrown space that used to be an allotment into a community garden. They are reclaiming a space in the heart of the neighbourhood to transform it into something that benefits everyone.
Congratulations to all the shortlisted groups! And for all those that didn’t make it, please know we recognise that your work is important and needed too - we wish we’d had enough money to give you some as well. All groups are welcome to reapply.
At the point the decision was made to shortlist 8 groups we were £211 short of being able to give them all the full £1,000 they asked for, but just before we were about to give the crowdfund another push, someone donated £211! So all groups will now be receiving £1,000.
If you like what we’re doing, please consider joining our collective so we can raise more money and run more funding rounds - we’re always in need of more hands on deck! Any donations received will go to our next funding round.