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Capacity building fund 2016/17 – feedback from funding recipients

About the Capacity Building Fund

Community Food and Health (Scotland) launched the Capacity Building Fund in 2015. The purpose of the Fund was to provide small amounts of funding (up to £500) for learning or training opportunities for staff, volunteers or management committee/board member involved in groups running community food and health activities.  The aim of the Fund was to increase the knowledge, skills and expertise within the community food initiatives awarded funding, so that they could become stronger, more resilient organisations.

The fund was open for applications from June 2016 to January 2017. Fifty applications were received, of which 22 were successful.  Those that were unsuccessful failed to meet the funding criteria.

What was funded?

The funding was used for a range of activities, mostly to cover the costs of places on training courses or delivering formal or informal training in house.

  • Four organisations used the funding to enable a member of staff to become an in-house REHIS Elementary Food Hygiene course trainer, and another to become a REHIS Elementary Food and Health course trainer.
  • Four were funded to run in-house nutrition courses for staff or volunteers, one an in-house cookery course, and one both of these.
  • Two organisations were funded for places on a bread-making course.
  • Two were funded to run informal courses for community café staff and volunteers, on autism awareness, and managing volunteers.
  • Four organisations were funded to run or take part in other training. This included first-aid training for people with learning disabilities delivering cookery classes to their peers, Scottish Mental Health First Aid training for volunteers providing breastfeeding support in low-income communities, and fundraising training for a volunteer. Another used its funding to run governance training for volunteers.
  • Other activities funded included a study visit for volunteers, a development day for a group’s board members, and support with evaluation.

What difference did the funding make?

The organisations funded were asked to complete a short online evaluation asking them if:

  • they had used the money, and used it as they’d planned.
  • What difference the funding had made to their staff, volunteers or the people that they work with.
  • What difference the finding had made for their organisation
  • How they know this.

By November 2017 21 of the 22 had responded (the 22nd couldn’t use the funding until December 2017).  Sixteen completed the evaluation.

Some hadn’t used the funding as expected, for a range of reasons: however, all had used it for activities that met the Fund’s funding criteria.

The difference the funding had made to the organisations’ staff, volunteers or people they worked with included:

  • increased staff knowledge;
  • staff and volunteers gaining skills;
  • increased staff confidence;
  • volunteers’ personal development;
  • staff and volunteers able to support their customers and clients better; and
  • staff and volunteers able to prepare a wider range of more nutritious foods.

‘It has increased (our volunteers) cooking skills and self-confidence. More of our volunteers now have the expertise to cook in large quantities within our community café.’ (community café).

‘The people we support have now increased their weight, and the vulnerable women (we support) have improved health and wellbeing.’ (organisation supporting people affected by homelessness)

‘The qualification gained (REHIS Elementary Food and Health) … has helped then gain new skills and confidence/experience needed to find long-term employment.’ (community café),

‘Many have realised a potential that they never knew they had which has worked wonders in raising their self-esteem and self-image.’  (peer-led mental health and addictions support)

The difference the funding had made to the organisations included: saving money by being able to run in-house training; embedding skills; sharing skills and knowledge between volunteers; making contacts and building links with local organisations; being able to offer more and healthier food choices for the people they worked with; changing volunteers attitudes to accessing training; and the ability to income generate by selling training.

‘(The volunteers) have been able to share the knowledge they gained … with others at organised supervision sessions and informal ways as they chat to other volunteers at groups. This helps to share the awareness and knowledge within the organisation and has allowed the funding to have a wider impact.’ (breastfeeding support group)

‘(being able to run the course in house) … will mean a higher number of our people will achieve a qualification’. And ‘(being able to offer the training externally) … may be an additional income generation (opportunity).’  (youth club-run café)

‘Activities are now run better with more understanding (of) providing a better, healthier menu for our service users an giving more information about food wastage.’ (community group)

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