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Spirit of Manchester 2019 Mini-grants Programme

Spirit of Manchester


Voluntary, community and social enterprise groups that work in Manchester with a yearly income less than £100,000 can submit expressions of interest for individual mini-grants of between £250 and £500.

Macc will invite applicants whose expressions of interest are successful to a brief, informal meeting where you will deliver a short pitch of your idea to the Programme’s selection panel.

We will pay the awards from a total pot of £3,500 that we raised at events during last year, ready for 2019’s Spirit of Manchester Mini-grants Programme.

We want to hear from groups wanting to do something small-scale and short-term that will benefit their community. Your proposal should fit with at least one of the following:
  • Support local people to feel connected and more active in their communities / encourage participation of local people in community projects
  • Support people to have better quality of life, e.g. improved mental and physical wellbeing
  • Enable people of all ages to develop new skills and knowledge
  • Promote partnership working between community groups

We are particularly keen to receive expressions of interest from groups for whom this would be their first grant and / or from organisations representing minority communities of interest / identity.

Strictly, these mini-grants can only fund projects that are deliverable within an approximate 2 month period that starts around 10 June (dependent upon prompt successful due diligence checks) and ends by Friday 9 August.

General background to the Spirit of Manchester and Mini-grants

Created in 2013, the Spirit of Manchester is Macc’s annual celebration of the city’s thousands of voluntary, community and social enterprise (VCSE) organisations and their work. We believe it is important to recognise, support and encourage volunteers and local voluntary action. Our celebration includes a festival of events across the city organised by local groups, and an awards ceremony in which we recognise examples of great community spirit and all that is best about the VCSE sector. We want to raise the profile of the sector amongst the public and encourage local giving and active citizenship.

The Spirit of Manchester evolves every year and in 2016, Macc created the Mini-grants Programme. We replenish the grant pot through fundraising each year, particularly at the Awards Ceremony. Macc channels the funds raised solely into providing mini-grants that enable local VCSE organisations to make a difference in their local community.

Between 2016 and 2018, Macc awarded twelve mini-grants of up to £500, distributing a total of £5,250. In 2019, using the funds raised in 2018, Macc will make available £3,500 as Mini-grants of up to £500.

The grants process
The grants process has five parts:

1. Submit an expression of interest form
You will need to submit a short and simple expression of interest form and email it to grants@macc.org.uk by no later than midday on Tuesday 30 April 2019. The grants selection panel will review expressions of interest and invite chosen organisations to pitch their project idea in-person.

Once you have submitted an expression of interest form, you should receive an acknowledgement via email. If you do not receive an acknowledgement, it means we have not received your form and you should please contact us immediately on 0161 834 9823.

You can find important information about eligibility here. You cannot use the funding for an existing project activity.

You can find examples of Mini-grants awarded in previous years here: 2016, 2017 and 2018.

The following is a link to the Macc Data Protection Policy that details how we will handle any information you submit - Data Protection Policy.

2. Pitch to Panel
After the deadline on 30 April, an independent panel will then review the forms and invite successful organisations to pitch their project idea face-to-face. Macc will confirm by Monday 13 May whether we will invite your group to pitch.

Pitches are likely to take place during week commencing Monday 20 May – details to be confirmed.

Each pitch will be wholly verbal (no PowerPoint Presentations or other visual aids) and have a maximum duration of 5-8mins.

After the pitches, panellists will select who is to receive funding, subject to basic due diligence checks.

3. Due diligence checks
Macc will inform you by Monday 27 May as to whether your group was successful at the panel pitch. Then, before we can pay out the mini-grants, Macc will ask successful interviewees to provide promptly:
i) a copy of their group’s Constitution / Memorandum and Articles of Association
ii) a copy of their group’s most recent bank statement, dated no earlier than March 2019
iii) the names and home addresses of two trustees or committee members

We need to review this information as part of our due diligence checks on all successful applicants in order to confirm that they are currently active in Manchester and financially solvent.

PLEASE NOTE: you will not need to provide due diligence documentation if your organisation has received a grant through Macc since 1 April 2018.

4. Project delivery
Depending on how promptly successful applicants can provide due diligence information, Macc will pay mini-grant monies immediately after checks are successfully completed.

Strictly, these mini-grants can only fund projects that are deliverable within an approximate 2 month period that starts around 10 June (dependent upon prompt successful due diligence checks) and ends by 9 August.

5. Zine submission
Instead of submitting the usual end of project report, Macc will ask grant holders to prepare a one-sided A4 zine-page about their project. For those not familiar with them, a zine is a homemade magazine and you can view examples here to help you.

The inspiration for your zine page is “the thing about our project that I am most proud of”.

Programme dates

The expression of interest deadline is midday on Tuesday 30 April
Macc will notify applicants as to whether or not they are to be invited to Pitch to Panel Monday 13 May
Panel Pitches will take place (sometime during week commencing Monday 20 May, on a date to be agreed)
Macc to inform pitchers of panel outcomes. Successful pitchers will be asked to promptly provide information for basic due diligence checks to be carried out Monday 27 May
Subject to the prompt, successful completion of due diligence checks, Mini-grants will be paid out by Friday 7 June
Project delivery begins Monday 10 June (approx.)
Projects need to complete by Friday 9 August
End of project zine pages submitted by grant holders to Macc by Friday 30 August

Support with your expression of interest form
Should you require support to complete an expression of interest form, Macc’s Capacity Building Team can provide assistance through their usual referral process. Groups are free to request support on the 0333 321 3021 support line or via info@mcrcommunitycentral.org. The team will manage requests subject to their capacity.

Please get in touch with the team sooner rather than later to have a better chance of getting support.

Macc’s Capacity Building Team provides this support separately to the administration of the Mini-grants Programme and is not involved in any stage of decision-making; the grants selection panel makes all decisions.

Good luck!