A Bold Step on the Journey to Fairer Funding for People of Barking & Dagenham

This week, BD Giving welcomed 12 local people to an online event marking the launch of a Community Steering Group, which is set to change the ways decisions about funding are made in the borough.

The Community Steering Group is an advisory group made up of 12 people that have a stake in the future of Barking & Dagenham. Their role over the next 9 months is to assist the staff and trustees of BD Giving in determining the direction it takes with funding projects, including the investment policy for the Community Endowment Fund and BD Giving’s Local Fund.

Sharing decision making power

The Community Steering Group is the next bold step for BD Giving in its drive to shift decision making powers towards the community. 

BD Giving is a participatory funder, which simply means it believes the people who are affected by funding decisions should be the ones making those decisions. In the last two years they have awarded grants totalling £200,000 using ‘participatory’ decision making.  

Participatory decision-making involves the people who would be affected by the decision, or who have special insight pertinent to the decision.

“Together we are going to share an experience that will transport us to the heart of what sharing power and decision-making means. This isn’t always going to be easy or comfortable, but we’re convinced it will be a unique and rewarding experience for all of us – and I for one, can’t wait to get stuck in!”

About the welcome event

The first meeting was hosted by BD Giving’s Learning & Participation Manager, Cameron Bray. 

Cameron described the journey the group will go on together and introduced them to the Curiosity Society – the agency selected to educate the group on the world of financial investments. Cameron explained to the group that while BD Giving has experience with participatory grant making, the CSG a completely new experience for everyone involved. The group also discussed their Terms of Reference, which will now be renamed and adjusted to better reflect the hopes and expectations of the group.

About the Community Steering Group

The steering group is currently made up of 12 people who will meet monthly to co-design the investment policy, as well as the framework for other funds, and a model for future steering groups. 

The group – all of whom are resident in the borough – will:

In return they will be part of a unique opportunity to make a real difference in their borough. They’ll receive training and support around group decision-making, community engagement, and understanding finances. The members will also be paid at London Living Wage for their time. 

After 9 months, a new set of members will be recruited to give more local people the chance to participate in transforming the future of funding in Barking & Dagenham.

In terms of its scale and potential impact, it far outstrips anything BD giving has done before and the model for the steering group is unique; there is no blueprint for the work in this country. The members of the group, with support from BD Giving and Curiosity Society will be, working together to design a way of working guided by a vision of a more prosperous Barking & Dagenham. What that looks like is up for the group to decide together.

Find out more...

BD Giving will be sharing news from the Steering Group after each monthly meeting, and the members themselves have committed to share what they learn with the wider community. 

To keep up to date with the work of the Community Steering Group register for BD Giving’s emails HERE.

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