UKSPF Digital Connectivity Grants Programme: Online Briefing Session, Tuesday 6 June, 11am – 12noon

VOLA is launching Round 2 of its UKSPF Digital Connectivity in Community Facilities Grants programme w/c 19 June.  Grants will be awarded to successful applicants after the summer holidays, in September 2023.

Prior to the application launch, Sefton CVS will be running an online briefing session in partnership with VOLA on Tuesday 6 June, 11am – 12 noon for Sefton-based VCFSE groups, to explain the purpose of the fund, eligibility criteria, key requirements, the application process, what the grants can/ cannot fund, etc. 

Please email to register.  You will then be sent the Zoom link.

Following this briefing, a short, follow-up session will be organised for interested organisations that might not have a great deal of experience in this field, focusing more on technical considerations when setting up or developing a computer suit.  More details will follow in due course.

Round 1 of the grants fund In Feb/March was significantly undersubscribed by Sefton groups, with only around 50% of available funds allocated.  Fortunately, the underspend has been carried forward to Round 2, so this time there will £72,500 available for Sefton.  So if you are eligible and able to submit a credible application, clearly demonstrating the need, intended impact and Value for Money, there is no reason why you shouldn’t stand a good chance!

More organisations that attended the Round 1 briefing sessions were successful in receiving funding than those that didn’t, so if you are interested in applying, please do attend.  It will only take around an hour, but will save you lots of time in putting you application together and avoid you potentially wasting your time in applying for ineligible things/ costs.

Please be aware that this grants programme is totally separate from (though could be complementary to) the current digital skills focused grant programme being administered by the Community Foundation for Merseyside.

Further background information to help determine if the grant fund is, or could be of relevance to you:

The Digital Connectivity for Community Facilities grants programme is open to grass roots, not-for-profit, Voluntary, Community, Faith and Social Enterprise (VCFSE) sector organisations with an operational (public access) base in the Liverpool City Region and with an annual turnover not exceeding £1.5 million.

The overall purpose of the grants programme is to support VCFSE organisations to improve their public-facing IT facilities (i.e. computer drop-in facilities), and to create new facilities in areas of need, where there may currently be no, or limited provision.

The aim of the grants programme is to provide funding and support to:

  1. Target neighbourhoods where there is currently a lack of community-based digital facilities to help local, VCFSE organisations to set up new computer drop-in facilities;
  2. Upgrade outdated and poor quality digital kit and/or improve broadband connectivity in community facilities, where current equipment &/or connections can be evidenced as being poor; and
  3. Increase capacity, by providing funding to purchase more digital devices, where current facilities are insufficient to meet demand.

Please note: it is not about improving organisations’ general IT infrastructure (i.e. it is not for kitting your staff/ volunteers out with new computers), and grants cannot be used to fund the direct delivery of digital skills training.  If you are interested in funding for digital skills training delivery, you might be interested in this other current funding opportunity being administered by the Community Foundation for Merseyside – closing date, Friday 16th June, 4pm – though note this is tightly focused on particular priority groups.

In Round 1, grants of up to £10,000 were awarded to successful applicants.  This is currently being reviewed for Round 2, though is unlikely to change significantly.

This is a competitive process, with awards made on merit to VCFSE organisations based in all six boroughs of the city region – Halton, Knowsley, Liverpool, Sefton, St Helens and Wirral.

Three further funding rounds will take place during 2023 and 2024.