Anyone who works in the voluntary and community sector (VCS) in Barking and Dagenham will know this too well: finding money is becoming increasingly more challenging. The causes are multiple: changing priorities and the lack of core funding support; poor communication between funders, which in turn increases the amount and complexity of reporting work and; perhaps most importantly, a shifting funding landscape with the emergence of new actors and the drying up of more traditional funding sources.
But the magnitude of the challenge faced by the VCS sector should not distract us from seeing the crucial work it delivers on the ground and the role volunteering and participation play in sustaining community life. Barking and Dagenham is no exception to this. From small community groups running street parties, through online communities, faith communities, as well as large borough-based charities, all play an essential role in making our borough a better place to live in.
What then if, instead of a set of loosely connected opportunities, priorities and outcomes, Barking and Dagenham had a mechanism to increase collaboration and the sharing of resources between funders and recipients? What if this mechanism was made more visible behind a friendly and recognisable brand? What would place-based giving look like in our borough? This is the question that the council and a number of committed funders have set out to explore over the next season.
Our mission is simple: to better align priorities, and work with the community, in order to attract more resources, and deliver more impact on the ground. This is not only about money. We recognise that all forms of giving are useful, and that giving time, talent, intelligence and connection can be powerful and effective levers for addressing local issues.
This is an exciting time for collaborating in Barking and Dagenham and we can’t wait to involve you in making BD Giving a model for collaboration and resource-sharing.