‘Lived experience’ in grant-making practice

As part IVAR are the Learning Coordinators for Comic Relief’s UK Intermediary Funders initiative that supports grassroots, community-based grant-making in each of the four home nations. Key aspects of this initiative are to encourage the centrality of lived experience and community-led approaches both in the grant-making process and the grants themselves.

This paper looks at what ‘lived experience’ within grant-making practice means for four intermediary funders working with Comic Relief. In light of the Covid-19 crisis, it feels more important than ever to open lines of communication between funders and communities.

The Community Foundation for Northern Ireland, Corra Foundation in Scotland, Wales Council for Voluntary Action and Groundwork in England are all rooted in their communities and are well placed to understand the specific challenges and opportunities facing local grassroots organisations. They also recognise the often overlooked expertise and knowledge that sits within communities and local organisations and have all been exploring different ways of integrating ‘lived experience’ into their grant making processes over the past few months.

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