Community Centred Commissioning
Team Doncaster continues in its move towards working with local people and communities (locality working) and embedding community centred approaches in the way it works with communities across the borough to address inequalities and improve the health and wellbeing of its residents. By embedding community centred approaches, Team Doncaster seeks to challenge traditional, ‘old’ ideas of health improvement by working with communities to shape more effective health care and welfare services. Focusing on improving health and wealth and ensuring all residents have the opportunity to be part of vibrant, connected communities, and living in pleasant environments, rather than a deficit-model of tackling specific health issues in isolation.
Local Solutions Community Investment Fund
In September of 2021 Well Doncaster launched the Local Solutions Community Investment Fund (LSCIF), as a three phase test and learn approach embedding key community centred approaches such as community insight through Appreciative Inquiry, participatory budgeting and participatory appraisal, in its design. Thus increasing opportunities for residents and communities to be involved in local decision making and creating hyper local solutions. The investment utilised non-recurrent funds from the Contain Outbreak Management Fund (COMF) allocated to local authorities from central government to help reduce the spread of coronavirus and support local public health.
Utilising community insight gathered through Appreciative Inquires and health data, community priorities were identified for each of the four localities of the borough. To be eligible for the LSCIF, applicants needed to evidence how they are targeting one or more of the health and wealth priorities.
A key element of Community Centred Approaches is increasing opportunities for residents and communities to be involved in local decision making. A participatory appraisal approach was used through a community panel. Each application was scored by a panel tailored to a community, ward or locality. Creating community specific panels is an evidenced based way of working and ensures equity, as local knowledge and experience is at the heart of decision making.
In September of 2021 Well Doncaster launched a Dragon’s Den in each of the four localities in Doncaster. The concept was for community organisations to pitch their project ideas to all attendees to receive up to £10,000 of funding. Following the pitches, there was the opportunity for residents and a panel consisting of either the Mayor or a Cabinet member, a member of the Well Doncaster or Community Wealth Builder Team, and a local community resident vote from all in attendance. Each vote has the same weight, with a total of three votes available. This provided an opportunity for residents and communities to be involved in local decision making and test participatory budgeting and appraisal.
Across all localities, a total of sixteen organisations pitched, with four organisations successful in receiving the full £10,000 of funding. Those organisations who pitched but weren’t successful in winning the panel vote were each funded £2,000.
Community Investment Fund
The Community Investment Fund aimed to support up to thirty community organisations with up to £25,000 grant funding in the delivery of services that are addressing health, economic, social and environmental challenges identified in their communities. The Community Investment Fund supported and maximised the energy and innovation community groups bring to Doncaster. The fund supported organisations in growing, adapting and sustaining services and activities that seek to build on the strengths of a community, tackle community challenges, increase accessibility and address the most prevalent health and wealth inequalities.
In the first round of the Community Investment Fund, fifteen organisations were awarded a total of £344,450.39. Due to an underspend, a second round of the Community Investment Fund was announced in which twenty further organisations were awarded a total of £310,644.89. Due to the strengths of the applications in meeting community priorities the ten highest scoring organisations were awarded the full amount applied for, and the next ten all received 50% of their application. The total funding awarded through the Community Investment Fund was £655,095.28.
Local Solutions Community Hub
he Local Solutions Community Hub Grant was to support up to ten community anchor organisations with up to £60,000 grant funding with a minimum 10% match funding to support established community anchor organisations in the delivery of existing services that are addressing economic, social and environmental challenges identified in their communities. Community anchor organisations are described as independent community-led organisations operating in a local area, firmly rooted in a sense of place, and committed to positive economic, social or environmental change.
Community anchor organisations could apply to the grant to fund to address the risks the Covid-19 pandemic has created for Doncaster’s community anchor organisations such as; loss on income due to lockdown measures, reduction in number of volunteers and increased demand for services.
Initially the Local Solutions Community Hub Grant was to support up to ten community anchor organisations, however, due to the quality of applications, funding was made available to support a total of fifteen community anchor organisations with up to £60,000 of grant funding. This additional funding of £257,746 was made available through the Covid Outbreak Management Fund. The total funding awarded through the Local Solutions Community Hub Grant was £887,746.28.
YMCA Doncaster received a Local Solutions Community Hub Grant to establish Personal Development Courses- this is Michael’s Story
“Michael’s home country has been devastated by war and he has lost most of his family and lost his parents when he was a young child. Fearing he had no other option; he made the difficult decision to leave his roots and make the perilous journey to the UK and safety. Michael described his arrival in the UK as a “dream come true”
Michael was granted status and needed a home, somewhere he could feel safe and thrive. Michael’s Refugee Worker helped him apply for Supported Accommodation at YMCA Doncaster. Michael wanted to continue and develop his English studies and learn more of what Doncaster had to offer. He has quickly become a friendly face at YMCA Doncaster and has achieved his Level One course in Reading, Writing, and Speaking English and is currently working towards his Level Two. One of Michael’s favourite sayings is “Together we can achieve success”.
Test and Learn
A key element of the test and learn approach was gathering feedback from stakeholders including successful and unsuccessful applicants, organisations who showed an interest but didn’t apply, panel members and Well Doncaster Team. Further work is underway to understand the wider outcomes of the LSCIF in terms of place and people. Robust and tailored contract management arrangements are in place using both quantitative and qualitative methods that best represent the nature of the activity/support provided.
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