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Engage, Inspire, Connect
By Nick Sinclair and Naomi Carruthers - 28 July 2017
In this blog posting, two members of Depaul UK's team give their take on "Engage, Inspire, Connect" grants, which are helping young people realise their dreams.
Naomi Carruthers, Corporate Partnerships Account Manager, writes:
One of the greatest things about working in the fundraising team is seeing the results of a partnership come to life.
In the summer of 2016 we were selected as a charity partner for Deloitte in three of their offices, with a promise of continued support until 2019.
Since then they’ve got their teeth stuck in and done everything from welly wanging (yes, it’s a thing!) to running the London marathon and cycling 969 miles across the country - all to raise funds for Depaul UK.
The support has been incredible, and in the space of a year we’ve developed a partnership worth a quarter of a million pounds in fundraising and pro bono support.
For me, one of the most exciting results of this is the implementation of Engage, Inspire, Connect - tiered progression grants for our young people to open up new opportunities and support them in their development.
It is interesting that when you’re dealing with such a vast overall figure the key thing that resonates is just how much difference £50 can make to ensure a young person has photographic ID, or a pair of football boots to get involved with their local team.
It truly is the little things that can make such an incredible difference. If I’m being honest, it’s been a real eye-opener to me and the people I’m working with at Deloitte that such simple things can be the catalyst for change.
Nick Sinclair, Head of Volunteering and Programmes, writes:
During my first week at Depaul three years ago, a passionate project worker pulled me aside and told me, in no uncertain terms, that Depaul needed to offer more financial support to young people to help them achieve their individual goals.
The conversation really resonated with me and has been something that I have spent a great deal of time exploring with young people since.
It was clear that individual progression grants were already making a difference at Depaul.
For many years Depaul had been giving out money through the Roo’s Fund, a legacy of support from a family who began supporting the organisation a number of years ago and still do.
The fund paid for costs relating to training and employment, supporting young people with their employment, education and training goals.
It was well used but could we could have rolled it out further and it needed a legacy of income.
I was truly inspired by Roo’s Fund and the opportunity it had created for recipients over the years and wanted to develop the idea further.
From my conversations it was clear that young people who were not quite ready to embark on the training and employment part of their journey could benefit from individual financial support to help them identify and explore their goals.
Some young people also expressed that they would benefit from larger grants, e.g. costs setting up a business or fees for an expensive vocational course etc.
This research eventually led to the the idea of "Engage, Inspire and Connect" grants.
The plan was to incorporate Roo’s Fund into "Inspire" grants and we would introduce easy-access "Engage" grants issued directly by project workers offering young people support of up to £50 to explore and identify their goals and improve their wellbeing.
At the top of the scale, "Connect" grants would be issued be for discretionary amounts given out as a result of a much fuller and in-depth application process.
We also thought we’d offer a "Combined" grant for teams of young people, staff and volunteers who might wish to do group projects together.
Since we connected with the support of Deloitte we’ve been able to bring this plan to life.
We started off by issuing the Engage, Inspire and Combined grants. Later on in the year the Connect grants will be launched too.
It has been incredible to see the difference it has made already.
As I write I can see 41 Engage grants, 34 Inspire and 5 Combined grants have been applied for.
It is very exciting to see the breadth of their use. We’ve tried to keep the criteria of access as broad as possible so that they can be as personal as possible. This is clearly working.
I would like to use this opportunity to offer Depaul’s most sincere thanks for the ongoing support of Ian and Jackie Tidy and the supporters of Roo’s Fund and also to the staff of the three Deloitte offices supporting us for their outstanding fundraising efforts to date.
I am so excited to see how this develops over the next few years and for us to continue making a massive difference with this money to the lives of so many.