Community Foundation for Wiltshire & Swindon

Community Foundation for Wiltshire & Swindon

Community Foundation for Wiltshire & Swindon

'Reaching the most disadvantaged'

Small voluntary groups often have the skills to develop the potential of the most socially excluded people, but frequently they find it difficult to access funding as it is often accompanied with complicated criteria and monitoring requirements.

In 2002 Wiltshire & Swindon Community Foundation launched The Progress Fund in response to a new European Social Fund (ESF). The idea was that the foundation would handle the bid to ESF, raise the matched funding and absorb some of the paperwork so that grants could be easily delivered to small local projects.

With the aim of helping disadvantaged people take a step forward on the path to getting jobs, The Progress Fund delivered £400,000 to 56 projects over two years. ‘The fund was for people for whom the concept of even filling in an application form or going on a training course was too great a step,’ explains director, Anna Marsden. ‘These small local groups were working with people with difficult problems but they identified such imaginative ways of working with them that they were able realise their potential,’ she says. ‘One group used music therapy. The group attendees began deciding what sort of music they wanted to do and working as a team. They were developing the skills that you need to access work.’

Although some of the participants have already managed to get paid work, the project focused on achieving ‘soft’, unmeasurable outcomes such as building skills and social capital.

Anna Marsden
Chief executive
48 New Park Street
SN10 1DS
01380 729284
Reg no.298936


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