VAWG Grassroots Fund Frequently Asked Questions

By Anneka Singh

Frequently asked questions

Please scroll down to read Frequently Asked Questions about the VAWG Grassroots fund, managed by The London Community Foundation (LCF).

Why are organisation’s with income under £500k being prioritised?

Consultation by MOPAC which formed part of the commissioning of this fund found that small organisations were disproportionately affected by austerity and accessing funding. That’s why the Fund is aimed at organisations with an income of less than £500k in the previous financial year. Organisation size is one consideration of the fund, alongside history, expertise and impact of delivering VAWG specialist services at a grassroots level.  Inevitably we recognise that this means not all VAWG-specialist organisations will be eligible to apply for the fund. 

Can we still apply for 50% core costs?

Yes. The Fund remains committed to supporting projects which can demonstrate within their application a balance of, and consideration for, project/service delivery costs, core costs and costs to cover engagement in the capacity-building programme.  Up to 50% of your request can be for core costs.

Will newer organisations be penalised for not having a three-year track record?

MOPAC’s consultation evidenced a clear and growing need for greater investment in, and building the resilience of, existing VAWG specialist organisations. It is these established organisations who have been particularly affected by decreases in grant funding in recent years. Whilst we recognise the important value of newer organisations who are responsive to wider needs; this programme has been specifically designed to build the resilience of those organisations who have been operating for three years and have established services. LCF has a range of other funds that may benefit your organisation. Please sign up to our newsletter.

How many organisations can apply in partnership?

Up to three organisations can apply to the Fund in partnership.  This is in recognition that any more organisations working in partnership will have to divide the funding into very small amounts and be more difficult to manage.

In order to qualify as a partnership, applicants must have a partnership agreement (written document) or equivalent in place before applying.  This is so that the assessor can be reassured that all partners are clear of their obligations for delivery and the amounts of funding to be committed to them in relation to the project.

Are you eligible to apply if your income in under £30,000?

If your income is under £30,000 we encourage you to contact us prior to making an application. If applying in partnership, organisations with an income under £30,000 are eligible to apply as a partner but not as the lead organisation.

Can the amount applied for be based on current financial year’s income, rather than last financial year’s?

The amount recommended for you to apply for is up to 50% of your last financial year’s annual income.  

However, if you can demonstrate a period of significant growth this current year (for example, we are aware several organisations have received an influx of emergency funding to help mitigate the effects of Covid-19 and its impact on their beneficiaries) we might be able to consider an application slightly more than 50% of your last financial years income.  However, this will be dependent upon the level of the growth, your organisation’s ongoing capacity and your organisation’s ability to maintain an increased level of services.  In this instance we would recommend you contact us prior to making an application, to discuss an appropriate grant size request. 

Can unsuccessful applicants attend capacity building sessions?

The capacity building programme is only open to organisations who are successful in receiving grant funding from the VAWG Grassroots Fund. The capacity building programme will be co-designed with the successful grantees following the grant awards and will therefore be tailored to their specific needs. The programme will include opportunities for funded organisations to share their unique knowledge, learn from and network with, others in the sector.  Materials developed as part of this capacity building programme are planned to be made available for other organisations to access however.

Do partners have to have been set up as its own legal entity for a certain period of time?

No. The lead applicant will need to have been in existence for at least 3 years and have a track record in delivering VAWG services.  However newer organisations (though still need to have been in operation since January 10th, 2019 and be able to demonstrate this), for example those set up in response to a particular need, are able to be considered as a partner.  However, a track record of delivering VAWG services is still required.

Are you considering applications for projects which are related to health? We work with FGM survivors and our work has a health-based focus.

Yes. The Fund is able to support long-term preventative work, as well as crisis response. We would consider the health of survivors to be included within this.  We will assess applications holistically and take in to account different areas of work that you will need to engage with to deliver your proposal effectively.

Why is the Fund Prospectus so long?

LCF know that transparency is important and this was echoed by grassroots organisations during the Fund co-design sessions. For this reason, the Fund Prospectus includes a lot of information so there is as much clarity as possible for potential applicants on why the Fund exists, who it is aimed at, the benefits and expectations of the programme, and how decisions will be made. 

If you require this information in an alternative format please contact the LCF VAWG Fund Coordinator on VAWGGrassrootsFund@londoncf.org.uk or 020 3982 8803.

My organisation attended an engagement event and made a recommendation - why hasn't this been included in the Prospectus?

We are united in a shared vision to tackle VAWG and recognise that taking into account multiple views from a range of different organisations (by service focus, area, size etc.) means that we cannot address in full every point raised throughout the process.

The consultation during the commissioning process and co-design with the VAWG sector post-commissioning of LCF to manage the fund for this Fund has been a new process for MOPAC. The core features of the Fund have been built on the findings of both the consultation and co-design work. We recognise this fund won’t be perfect and nor will it meet the differing needs of all within the VAWG-specialist sector. Managing public funds brings significant accountability and considerations around managing risk with how the fund can best have impact. Both MOPAC and LCF are committed to continued engagement and learning from the fund alongside the successful organisations.  

Please get contact us on VAWGGrassrootsFund@londoncf.org.uk / 020 3982 8803 if you would like a more detailed summary of insights from the engagement events.

£3m is great, but why isn't there more money available?

We agree, £3 million is great! But LCF and MOPAC acknowledge that it won't end VAWG. Our shared ambition is that through this Fund we can further evidence the value of grassroots organisations in tackling disadvantage in London, in order to generate more investment in the community sector throughout and beyond the lifetime of the programme.

The prospectus outlines 'Two-year grants of up to £50,000 per year'. Does the funding request have to be equal values over the two years? 

We recognise that the funding you will need may be different over the two years of your proposed project.  For example, requests can allow for either inflation increase or alternatively can taper off in year 2 if you anticipate that alternative funding sources will pick up some of the costs of year 2 as part of your aims for sustainability.  However, the maximum you can apply for in any one year is £50,000 and your first year’s request should meet the criteria of being at least 50% of your organisation’s annual turnover as shown in your latest annual accounts (as advised in the Prospectus, please have a discussion with the VAWG Fund Manager if your organisation wishes to apply for <50% of your organsiation’s annual income).

Are grants subject to VAT?

No, VAWG Grassroots Fund grants are not subject to VAT.  MOPAC/LCF will not add VAT to any grant payments that we make. Organisations cannot claim expenditure or use the funding for recoverable VAT as the grant recipient would be able to reclaim these funds back from HMRC. In terms of irrecoverable VAT, organisations as part of their bid for funding can include such costs in their grant bid (as they wouldn’t be able to claim the VAT back). However, this will need to be included in the overall grant amount being requested.

Can we submit multiple applications for funding? 

Only one application per organisation will be accepted. This is in anticipation that there will be a high level of demand for the funding available, but also that there will be some additional requirements in connection with the higher levels of engagement via the capacity building and peer support activities, alongside the grant award. This engagement will also be required of  organisations who are part of a partnership bid.

What do you define as a partnership? 

Up to three organisations who each meet the eligibility criteria and already have a Partnership Agreement (or alternative written document) in place. Please consider this carefully as it may be beneficial to 

My organisation is based outside of London but our services target London residents. Can I apply?

Based on consultation, LCF will be prioritising London-based organisations. We are particularly interested in organisations established by the communities they exist to serve. Though organisations based outside of Greater London may be considered for funding, only activity within London and for Londoners will be considered, and a track record of delivering your services within London must be demonstrated.

I am the lead organisation but applying in partnership – are the partners involved in my bid able to login to access my application? 

If you require input from others, the link you will receive to access your application form can be supplied for others to add their contributions.

Why are there restrictions on the Fund criteria?

Feedback from the engagement sessions to develop the Prospectus has emphasised the important  of making the restrictions placed on the Fund as clear as possible.

  • The ring-fenced element supporting BME by and for VAWG-specialist grassroots organisations was outlined in the technical specification for the fund and based on evidence including the disproportionate adverse impact of austerity on funding for this cohort, as reported in the research carried out by MOPAC and informed by Imkaan.
  • In the last few months, there has been significant additional pressures on these organisations as a result of BME communities being disproportionately affected by Covid-19, coupled with increases seen in VAWG rates due to lockdown measures.  These factors will have impacted these organisations twice as hard and increased the justification to retain the ring-fenced element of this funding.
  • Frontline organisations who fed into the engagement sessions welcomed the proposal that a combination of core and project-based funding would be available. They also welcomed the opportunity to apply for two-year funding.
  • The full programme includes capacity-building, evaluation, communications and networking and therefore engagement is a requirement. Applicants have been encouraged to budget for this in their application based on a recognition of the value of their time and expertise to engage.

Inevitably we recognise that this means not all VAWG-specialist organisations will be eligible to apply for the fund. However, it is important that the Fund and how it is managed supports those organisations – and the women they in turn support – who were identified through the consultation as some of the most vulnerable and in need. 

Is the Fund supporting trans women?

As managers of the VAWG Grassroots fund on behalf of MOPAC, LCF recognises the needs of and support for trans women. The absolute focus of this fund is to enable successful applicant organisations to sustain their own services and build their resilience through the two-year grant funding. That’s why organisations will need to demonstrate – through the application process - how they define their target beneficiaries and how the funds provided will help meet their needs.  

What happened before this Fund was tendered? 

Early work to develop what kind of Fund could best support grassroots VAWG-specialist organisations involved significant engagement with frontline organisations across London. MOPAC commissioned research and consultation with the sector which built on research and findings from Imkaan; the UK’s only second-tier women’s organisation dedicated to addressing violence against Black and minoritised women and girls, on the funding landscape and challenges for grassroots organisations in delivering ending VAWG provision. 

This fund is part of the wider Mayor’s VAWG Fund which aims to address the increase in demand and complexity of VAWG in London. This derives from the Mayor’s Policing and Crime Plan and his refreshed VAWG strategy outlining his commitments to keeping women and girls safe in London. 

What has happened since the Fund was commissioned? 

The London Community Foundation (LCF) was appointed as the Fund Manager with its partner The Social Innovation Partnership (TSIP) on behalf of MOPAC. 

Since the Fund has been commissioned, engagement with the VAWG-specialist grassroots sector has continued to consult directly with the VAWG-specialist sector, with engagement sessions and dedicated interviews with over 70 VAWG-specialist grassroots organisations from across London. This engagement was a core part of the contract tendered to ensure the voice of Black and minoritised women by and for specialist organisations continues to shape the fund. 

Frontline organisations have helped co-design the Prospectus for the Fund in addition to helping shape how the sector will be enabled to apply for the fund and what kind of capacity-building support will be provided to successful VAWG-specialist organisations. Frontline groups are also feeding into the evaluation of the Fund to ensure their voice – and the voice of the people they support – is heard. 

The Fund launch was delayed as a result of the Coronavirus pandemic.  Both MOPAC and LCF shifted to support organisations with emergency funding, but also in recognition that VAWG organisations would be fully focussing on supporting their beneficiaries and redesigning their own services during the initial lockdown phase.

Why is The London Community Foundation managing this Fund?

MOPAC has recognised key attributes and needs that distinguish grassroots organisations from generic/mainstream services and this commissioning arrangement aims to empower and encourage access for the VAWG sector to ensure that smaller, grassroots organisations are not disadvantaged by normal bidding process and expectations applied.

The London Community Foundation has a long history of supporting grassroots organisations in London, many of whom fall under the radar of other funders. LCF works to champion the needs and raise the profile of how grassroots groups in London support vulnerable people and communities in the Capital.

As well as managing public funds, LCF is also dedicated to inspiring corporate and individual philanthropy to support London’s grassroots and last year committed over £9M or over 1200 grants. Almost 90% of the organisations LCF supports have less than 10 employees – 45% less than 2 employees. LCF uses its profile and reach to provide a platform for the Capital grassroots organisations that can sometimes operate under-the radar of mainstream funders. You can read more about how LCF engages and champions London’s grassroots here: Voices from the Frontline.   

Its other high-profile funds include Tampon Tax Fund, supporting women and girls’ organisations and the Evening Standard Dispossessed Fund Save London Lives, attracting public, corporate and individual philanthropy to work together to tackle youth violence in London. 

How can I make a complaint?

The London Community Foundation is committed to providing a quality service and achieving the highest standards of conduct. One of the ways in which we can improve our service is by listening and responding to the views of our customers. If you need to raise a complaint, please contact: complaints@londoncf.org.uk.

I still have a question, who should I contact?

Please email VAWGGrassrootsFund@londoncf.org.uk or call 020 3982 8803 and ask to speak to the VAWG Fund Coordinator.