Working with London VRU to deliver £1.9m of grant funding

Saturday 1st July 2023 by Michael Theodorou
London Mayor standing with a group of young people smiling at the camera

Working with London Violence Reduction Unit to deliver £1.9m of grant funding

The Stronger Futures Programme enables community-led groups to support vulnerable 10-18-year-old Londoners by providing opportunities and support in the hours following school, as well as at weekends in some cases.

It has invested £1.9m across 18 projects across London with grants of £40,000-£100,000pa. 

This funding was designed specifically for groups and organisations in London demonstrating a track record of working with vulnerable young people who are either at risk or have been involved in violence.

The programme adopted a “funder plus” model to provide a blend of investment of finance for two years and capacity building support including direct consultancy support and access to a range of workshops and expertise to improve resilience, sustainability and through social media, raise awareness and showcase impact.

From the outset Rocket Science worked closely with the VRU alongside our delivery partner, Action for Race Equality (ARE) to listen to the community and user-led groups, creating a new online streamlined process with transparency on programme aims, objectives, priorities and customer journey.

To ensure that the Stronger Futures Programme has maximum impact, we have used the flexible funder pledge from London Funders and the Institute of Voluntary Action Research (IVAR) to streamline processes and test new ideas

There was a short eligibility and registration form which was reviewed and shortlisted organisations invited to an informal discussion allowing panel members would score and assess.  We know some organisations struggle to convey their work on paper, but through discussion can clearly articulate their activities and demonstrate being trusted projects providing safe spaces.

Rocket Science, ARE and the VRU worked with programme evaluators, Renaisi to capture distance travelled for both the organisation and the young people supported.

The programme provided a partnership approach to working alongside grantees including Rocket Science and ARE providing 5 days of capacity building support for each grantee. This saw organisations focus on key priorities including improving policies, fundraising, finance, health and wellbeing and social media support.

The programme also provided networking opportunities to collaborate, improve relationships and referral pathways and for funders and partners to listen and understand what challenges are being faced.

Of the 18 organisations supported, the programme has been very successful.  With a target reach of 2,400 young people, the programme saw over 5,000 vulnerable 10–18-year-olds supported. 

The programme has identified the need for further interventions at a younger age and has enabled organisations to become more fundable in the near future. This has become a strategic programme informing future grantmaking and processes within the VRU.

“Rocket Science have worked with the VRU on its flagship after school provision programme “Stronger Futures”. Our partnership, since 2021 has been instrumental in funding and supporting 18 grassroots organisation to work alongside and support over 5,000 vulnerable young Londoners. I’m pleased to be working with Rocket Science for the next iteration of the Stronger Futures programme over the coming years”
Lib Peck, Director of the Violence Reduction Unit (VRU)