2nd September 2022
Together Fund – Recovery and Growth

The Together Fund was launched in May 2022 as a continuation of the Tackling inequalities Fund (TIF) which formed part of the Sport England support package to help the sport and physical activity sector through the Covid-19 crisis.

This funding was distributed through the Active Partnership network – Wesport are one of 42 charities who make up this network across England.

Sport England also enlisted other specialist National Partners to help increase the reach of this fund, these include partners with a national reach or a specific local context:

Steve Nelson, Chief Executive of Wesport shared:

“When Wesport was first asked to lead on this fund, we set out with two goals – to make sure funding got to organisations who needed it and could reach our target audiences; and to make sure the processes we put in place made it easier for community organisations to access this, and other funding they might be eligible for. With the support of the 128 community organisations, of all shapes and sizes and our key partners, we have learnt a huge amount in the last 3 years, applying what we learn into future funding rounds, and sharing what is working with the whole network. The Together Fund is a great opportunity to continue progress towards these two goals.”

Locally across the West of England, Wesport worked in partnership with Voscur (a national partner) to ensure that the funding allocated for this area made the biggest impact. We recognised that jointly the support offered to partners could exceed the efforts of our organisations individually. After bidding to Sport England our partnership was awarded £381,556 to support groups who were being disproportionately affected by the pandemic, which was significantly impacting their ability to be physically active. Through these phases of funding there have been four priority audiences who have been the consistent focus of the fund.

Priority Audiences:

  • Culturally diverse communities
  • Disabled people
  • Lower socio-economic groups
  • People with long-term health conditions

The focus of the Together Fund has shifted from an emergency fund at the early stages of the pandemic, towards a growth and recovery resource to ensure partners are able to thrive.

Together Fund Delivery

In the first round of awards for the Together Fund a total of £277,626 has been awarded through a solicited and open application round. By engaging with each of the VCSE leads across the West of England the partnership has aimed to utilise the strengths of this sector to fully support applicants with their wrap around offer.

Each VCSE lead supported partners to apply to the fund and are continuing to work with Wesport to understand how to best utilise the remaining funding to ensure this reaches areas that have so far been underserved:

  • Bath & North East Somerset, through BANES 3rd Sector Group focussing on – Radstock, Midsomer Norton, Twerton, Paulton
  • North Somerset, through Voluntary Action North Somerset focussing on – Weston – Super – Mare
  • South Gloucestershire, through CVS South Glos focussing on– Kingswood, Patchway, Staple Hill, Cadbury Heath, Yate

Awards were made to community partners who have direct access and experience delivering with the priority audience. A clear line of sight to sport and physical activity and an understanding about the impact that Covid-19 and the pandemic had on their audience.

Below are some examples of the types of awards authorised so far (hyper link to org home):

  • Temple Cloud Circus – a small circus school who offers aerial circus therapy, they support people with long term health conditions and use this funding to reengage their audience after the impact of the pandemic.
  • North Somerset British Bangladeshi Association – all female swimming sessions supported by female staff at the leisure centre with modesty screens to ensure privacy throughout the session.
  • Bristol Steppin Sistas – a walking group for women of colour in Bristol and the surrounding areas. Training accessed through a previous round of funding has increased the number of accredited walk leaders who support the group increasing their ability to offer more events.
  • Milestones Trust – supporting Warmley Wheelers with capacity to utilise their adapted bikes and support disabled people and their families and carers to access cycling.

Support & Resilience Package

Through the previous rounds of funding Wesport and Voscur have been trying to determine the best way to support funded partners to recover and reinvent after the pandemic. In the previous phase of funding Voscur delivered a support package open to all partners, this included:

  • 30 sessions delivered
  • 96 unique participants attended
  • 62 organisations engaged in the programme

Subjects covered sustainability planning, recruiting and managing volunteers, good governance and partnerships and collaboration. These themes were designed based on feedback from funded partners during online calls and events hosted as part of the programme.

Quotes from our partners

“The training has been really empowering for me and our operations manager and has given us lots of confidence. We’ve been really impressed with the training overall.”

“On behalf of everyone, I would like to say a huge thank you to Wesport and TIF for both your invaluable webinars and financial support of the vulnerable survivors in our safehouses. The culture of sport you helped create across our safehouses has led to a marked improvement in survivor wellbeing and peer support.”

For the Together Fund, the support package has been co designed through the following process:

  • Each applicant responding to emerging need at point of application
  • Voscur consolidating these requests and sharing with the lead VCSE partners (3SG, CVS South Glos, VANS)
  • Each lead partner re connecting with partners successful with funding to check if the needs have changed and fact find how best to support organisations
  • These needs will then be revaluated, and a Support and Resilience Package will be created with place-based delivery in each locality to meet the needs of applicants

Next Steps

Wesport and Voscur are drawing the learning from the 3 previous phases of investment through TIF to showcase the added value this partnership has created locally. It will also highlight key stories from funded partners to demonstrate how they have moved from initial emergency delivery to sustained, connected organisations who are managing to support people most affected by the pandemic toward a more positive, healthy future.

If you have a project idea for the areas where the underspend is being directed, please contact Ruth Glanvill  on ruth.glanvill@wesport.org.uk or Caleb Thomas on caleb.thomas@wesport.org.uk