Roundtable discussion on funding and the homelessness sector

What are the best ways that a charitable foundation can help third sector organisations working in the homelessness and housing sector?

That was the question posed at a round-table discussion organised by Community Foundation in Wales and kindly hosted by The Wallich.

Representatives from Cymorth Cymru, The Wallich, Llamau, Swansea Young Single Homeless Project, Digartref Ynys Môn, Merthyr & the Valleys Mind and Cardiff and Vale health board, joined us to share their thoughts on how the funding programmes might best support the sector in Wales. We were joined by two leads from UK Community Foundations, who have brokered two new funding programmes for Wales.

Community Foundation in Wales has secured two funding opportunities to the sector in Wales, one through Nationwide Building Society, and the second titled The Transformation & Growth Programme.

Nationwide Building Society Community Grants:

Housing projects and charities are encouraged to apply for grants to help make a change in their local areas. Grants of up to £25,000 will be available to single organisations and up to £50,000 will be available for partnership bids. With funding, successful projects will be able to provide housing services to people in need, support people off the streets, and more.

The fund will support projects grouped under three Key Themes:

  1. Preventing people from being homeless; this could be by improving physical, emotional or social conditions. For example, developing new accommodation for those who are currently homeless.
  2. Helping people into a home; this could be by helping people into supported accommodation or stabilising rental accommodation. For example, helping people to access bond schemes.
  3. Supporting people to remain in their home; this could be by supporting people’s independent living within their current home. For example, offering adaptations to support older people or people with disabilities to live at home and continue to be active.

The Transformation & Growth Programme:

The Transformation & Growth programme will deliver grants of between £10,000-£25,000 to small to medium-sized charities working in the homelessness and housing sector across the UK (with a specific focus in Wales on the South East of the country). The aim of the Fund is to create and improve resilience in the sector. There is £225,000 available for Wales over the initial two years of the programme.

  • To address local housing and homelessness issues by providing grassroots organisations with developmental grants to build sustainability, develop ideas and deploy innovative solutions to tackling the housing crisis.
  • To use the support to build sustainable organisations which are better able to manage their delivery in volatile times.

The programme will run for three years, two years of delivery and a year of evaluation, and participants should expect to work with our evaluation partners in the one or two years which they are funded. It’s likely to be a longer application process than usual, with several workshops and a local survey of existing delivery, to help us to understand what the local sector needs and where support can best be given.

The discussion session focused on challenges facing organisations and potential opportunities for best use of the new funding. Thoughts shared included:

  • Organisations need support to maintain specialist services and support/activities beyond tenancy., eg. A holistic approach to support including building safe and strong relationships/managing health and well-being
  • Can organisations work together to develop training packages?
  • Are there opportunities for shared backroom services?
  • Local scenarios for example in Anglesey where a new power station development will dramatically affect housing supply.
  • Organisations need support for their staff, who often support people through traumatic incidents.
  • How do organisations ensure they are able to provide preventative services?
  • Rurality – the numbers of rough sleepers are underestimated and delivery costs are higher in these areas. How do we make this issue more visible in rural areas?
  • Family mediation to help prevent people especially young people from becoming homeless

Cymorth Cymru have agreed to work with the foundation to publicise the two new funds and to ensure the sector has information about the opportunities.

Richard Williams, chief executive of the Community Foundation in Wales, said: “It is important for us to go out and listen to the organisations who are working in our communities, and to hear from them about their challenges and where there are gaps in funding.

“The session was informative and has given us a stronger insight into how our funding programmes can make the biggest impact in Wales. We are very grateful to those who took part and look forward to further discussions as we roll out the funding programmes.”


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