The ‘working in place’ framework supports funders with the planning and implementation of place-based approaches.
The framework is simply a way of organising a conversation when planning or reviewing place-based work. It can: help to bring to the surface assumptions and different opinions when working with multiple partners; provide a structure or checklist for use when planning an approach or reflecting on progress; support the sharing of thinking and improving transparency.
It will be most useful for staff and trustees of trusts and foundations who have responsibility for making strategic decisions about funding approaches or who are leading the delivery of a place-based programme.
Trust and Foundation Perspective
‘Arrive gently. Engage patiently. Stay a while. We’ve learned that spending time listening first, building trust, and making a commitment for the long term are approaches that help place-based collaborations succeed.’
‘Building strong, trusting relationships at all levels has been the most important element to enable partners to have robust, challenging conversations without falling out. At the strategic level, to ensure any intervention is embedded within wider systems and has the best chance of being sustained in the longer term. At operational level, so that the intervention is understood, welcomed and supported to ensure it has the best chance of success.’
The Robertson Trust
Public Sector Perspective
‘In our experience, the key planks to a successful collaboration are honesty, openness and a willingness to be courageous and flexible to get to the right outcome.
We were very transparent about what we were aiming for in terms of headline outcomes and what our parameters were. And we took our time. Building the trusting relationships, the thinking, the testing and the process were not swift things – we worked on this together for nearly two years from the initial idea to the allocation of funding through the new approach. That enabled us all to build a strong funding prospectus and the confidence in all parties, including politicians, to withstand the inevitable ripples when the change began to be implemented.’
Bristol City Council
Voluntary Sector perspective
‘The pathways approach is designed to improve outcomes for people with complex needs. It recognises that this multiplicity of need is often compounded by the complexity of the system within which support services operate. Sitting within the system, York Pathways aims to be a catalyst for system change. One of the critical, facilitative elements for this when developing the service, was the formation of a Strategic Board prior to the service becoming operational. This enabled strategic partners to begin the process of thinking systemically and problem solving collectively from a place-based perspective.’
‘Arrive gently. Engage patiently. Stay a while.’
In June 2017, Tudor was one of many funders involved in the response to the Grenfell Tower fire. Based just 15 minutes’ walk from Grenfell Tower, Tudor was well placed to facilitate the delivery of the London Funders Community Core Costs Fund to 100 community organisations. Grant managers from seven different funders were involved in outreach and collective decision-making, distributing £1.1million to help meet the immediate costs of responding to the emergency.
‘The response presented funders with a challenge: to get funding quickly to small, front-line organisations. We had to balance due diligence against speed of response. Operating outside our comfort zone, we had to act quickly and instinctively. We learned a lot.
Face-to-face engagement, listening and co-creating applications were vital elements of the fund. The process allowed us to be alongside the organisations, giving space for applicants to talk about their experience while also supporting them to think about their needs and to ‘frame’ an application quickly and easily.’
IVAR’s 2018 report, The possible, not the perfect challenged funders to consider how to bring greater urgency, responsible lightness of touch and more open relationships into our everyday work.
‘In response, we asked ourselves how we could replicate aspects of this ‘on the ground’, quick, face-to-face approach to making small grants in a non-emergency situation. How would it feel to shorten our lead time for a grant, and work with community groups to create an application together through a conversation? Might this be a better way of engaging with the people and communities we want to work with?
We thought carefully about how this approach could be of benefit, and do no harm to the people, organisations and communities we wanted to work with. In the first half of 2019, we worked with organisations in the Tees Valley area to get to know Hartlepool, and to identify groups which might benefit from a small grant. In June 2019, Tudor staff and trustees spent three days in Hartlepool, with an afternoon dedicated to meeting local groups. A trustee and a member of staff listened, and during a half-hour conversation, with 20 groups, together drew up a funding request. In the few hours after the conversations, trustees and staff came together, reflected on the conversations, and approved grants of up to £5,000 for each group’.
Read about some of the thoughts of the community organisations involved in the conversations, as well as Tudor’s own reflections on the importance of trust, how they can keep learning from the people we met in Hartlepool, and what they might do next.Download