Innovative grant-giving event goes online to award grants to community groups across Gwent
The 2021 ‘Your Voice, Your Choice’ event went online for the first time in the history of the event to enable groups to bid for a grant to support their project.
‘Your Voice, Your Choice’ is a partnership between the Gwent High Sheriffs’ Community Fund, the Office of the Gwent Police & Crime Commissioner and Community Foundation Wales to award grants of up to £5,000 to community groups across Gwent.
This event features a novel grant-giving format that enables local people to prioritise solutions to local issues and support grassroots projects. This is usually done in person at an event where shortlisted groups each had two minutes to pitch their project, with each presentation being scored by the other groups.
Owing to the Coronavirus pandemic, the event went online with 15 groups submitting videos of no longer than three minutes, outlining their pitch and how their project would benefit their local community.
These videos were then posted online and voted on by the other groups. The projects thought to be tackling the most important issues received a share of the grants pot. The format of the event gave the groups the freedom to communicate their stories in their own way and share their enthusiasm and commitment to improving lives in Gwent.
This year the 3-year grant, aimed at supporting sustainability, was awarded to Action for Children – Wales Fostering Service. A contribution of £1,000 was also given to the groups who were unsuccessful in their bid ensuring they did not go away empty handed.
This grant-making celebration is the highlight of the Gwent High Sheriffs’ Community Fund calendar and the culmination of a year of fundraising by the current High Sheriff of Gwent, Tim Russen. A significant contribution to the grants pot also comes from the Police & Crime Commissioner, Jeff Cuthbert.
The Gwent High Sheriffs’ Community Fund works hard to build safer communities in Gwent by supporting projects that mentor and inspire young people to fulfil their potential. This event is an opportunity to celebrate the hard work and dedication of volunteers and community groups who do so much to improve the lives of people in Gwent.
Richard Williams, Chief Executive of Community Foundation Wales, speaking about the event, said:
“This year’s event, whilst different to previous years, showcased community organisations in Gwent who are tirelessly working to improve the lives of people in their local community.
Your Voice, Your Choice provides community groups with a platform to share their stories, often through the words of the people who benefit directly from the projects, and empowers local people to prioritise solutions to local issues.
We want to thank everyone who adapted to this new format and took part in this year’s Your Voice, Your Choice.”
Tim Russen, High Sheriff of Gwent 2020-21, said;
“Undoubtedly the highlight of my year as High Sheriff of Gwent has been to meet with the many extraordinary people, throughout the length and breadth of our county, who do so much to support our communities – their passion, skills and energy are awe inspiring.
The culmination of my year in office is the Gwent High Sheriffs Community Fund ‘Your Voice, Your Choice’, an innovative participatory grant-making event, whereby those involved with these grassroot organisations get to decide which projects best address local needs and deserve funding.
This year’s event again demonstrates how fortunate we are in Gwent to have such a diverse array of talent and commitment.”
The successful organisations at the 2021 event were as follows:
- Action for Children – Fostering Service
- Duffryn Community Link
- Follow Your Dreams Charity
- Griffithstown Communal Garden
- HCT (Help Caring Team)
- Live Music Now Wales
- Made in Tredegar
- Newport Sea Cadets
- Savoy Youth Theatre
- The Aloud Charity
- Veterans Awards CIC
See the videos here.