ESF Small Grants Programme 2014/15
Iain Kay was contracted to be a Co-Ordinator for this programme by County Durham Community Foundation.
He supported 65 groups across both Northumberland and Tyne & Wear as they accessed grants worth up to £15,000 to deliver education, training and employability skill to over 2,000 people disadvantaged in the labour market.
ESF Technical Assistance
Iain Kay and Barbara McClennan were board members of ESFVON that for almost 20 years offered assistance to community and voluntary groups to access and manage European funded projects in the North East of England.
When ESFVON closed in March 2010 it was agreed that Riverside Consulting CIC would continue to offer this expertise to local organisations even though core funding was uncertain. ESFVON supported hundreds of projects which were funded to contribute to the creation and sustainability of many hundreds of jobs, the training of tens of thousands of individuals and the building or refurbishment of countless community facilities.
In 2010/11 Riverside Consulting CIC went into partnership with VONNE to deliver a reduced level of ESF Technical Assistance (TA) to groups in the region.
However, as almost all of the available European funding was devolved to regional bodies rather than local councils and local organisations, it became increasingly obvious that many smaller groups that had accessed ESF/ERDF funds over many years would no longer be able to do so.
The era of large, Prime Contractors had arrived who would choose and appoint their own supply chains.
Bid Writing and Fundraising
Iain Kay and Jeffrey Warren have over 30 years’ experience of bid and tender writing and have secured multi-million pounds funding contracts through open and competitive tender and direct commissioning.
They also have experience of creating and commissioning supply chains to meet commissioners' and funders' specific requirements.
Their experience covers sectors including Further Education, Higher Education, Welfare, Health, Children's' Centres, Transport, Charitable, Diversity, Utilities, Social Care and Criminal Justice, Police and Ministry of Defence.
They also bring experience in Bid Writing for the Police, the Ministry of Defence, Engineering and the Oil and Gas sectors.
Both Iain and Jeffrey have assisted organisations to develop growth plans and funding strategies building on skills, expertise, market knowledge and aspirations.
Iain and Jeffrey are also both Bid Assessors under European Funding streams, trained to analyse and score bods and recommending approval or rejection.
Riverside Consulting CIC is available to help groups target possible funding sources, identify exactly what types of funds are required and over what time frame, develop outline proposals, provide expert commentary on part-developed proposals, offer guidance on improving previous bids that have not been successful and carry out strategic reviews of fundraising strategies.
Riverside Consulting CiC's latest activity is the Durham Sparks programme.
Durham Sparks supports aspiring entrepreneurs and existing community enterprises to fine tune their journeys to provide more effective services within their communities.
The initiative comes as a result of almost £1m in funding from Durham County Council and the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) as part of their investment to help local areas stimulate their economic development by investing in projects which will support innovation, businesses, create jobs and local community regenerations. The project will support entrepreneurs from across the region over a three year period.
The project aims to identify relevant support and interventions that will enable both start-up and existing community enterprises from across the region to achieve their goals and objectives. The project is committed to making a real and lasting change in County Durham.
Find out more about us at www.durhamsparks.co.uk
We are also on twitter @DurhamSparks and on Facebook @DurhamSparks– please like us and share our latest news.
International sharing of expertise
Jeffrey Warren, Iain Kay and Barbara McClennan have all been involved in delivering work as part of trans-national partnerships.
In the case of Jeffrey, he led the UK element of a European partnership on offender resettlement working with statutory and voluntary criminal justice services in Ireland, Spain, Italy, France and Greece and within this facilitating and presenting the UK models to the City of Rome and to the University of Thessaloniki.
Jeffrey also established further European offender projects and with partners in Romania, Italy, Turkey, Bulgaria, Czech Republic and Spain, a project developing good practice to support multiple-disadvantaged/disabled individuals.
Barbara McClennan and Iain Kay have collaborated on a number of programmes;
2015-16 - Valetta, Malta
This was a partnership between the City of Valletta, Terra di Mezzo an international NGO and Riverside Consulting CIC. The programme was funded through Erasmusplus and involved exchanges by groups of 20 young people from both Valletta and Sunderland. The theme of the exchange was culture and sport, with Valletta scheduled to be the European Capital of Culture 2018 and Sunderland hosting the famous Tall Ships Race in the same year. Iain led on this programme. The early stages saw him attend an organisational seminar in Malta in August 2015.
2013 - Blageovgrad, Bulgaria
Barbara and Iain were invited to visit this quite remote area of Bulgaria (200km from Sofia) to look at issues of engaging minority groups in economic and civic life. In this region of Bulgaria there are significant Muslim and Roma communities that have been there for centuries but with varying degrees of success in engaging with the new opportunities that will come through full membership of the EU in 2014.
Barbara and Iain met several people who had been to the UK to find work but had returned home, often due to a lack of good English and poor basic skills limiting their prospects even in unskilled work environments. Eco Tourism is a major theme this area wants to develop to establish new jobs and Barbara and Iain were able to advise on the level of skills and knowledge workers would require to meet the standards expected by international travellers.
2012 – Paris, France
The key partner was the University of Science Po, Paris, which is a specialist institution doing research and education in areas of social policy.
We met with academics involved with studying the conflicts between certain communities in France - particularly Roma and Muslims – and the wider population and what steps, if any, successive governments have taken to address the problem.
As the North East welcomes more and more visitors to our area from overseas it is important that we learn lessons from communities that have been exposed to the challenges of effective integration for many years, including instances where new groups are happy not to integrate and want to maintain a separate identity.
2012 – Koshalin, Poland
We worked with the Centrum Innowacji i Przedsiębiorczości w Koszalinie (Fundacja Koszalinie) on a programme looking at how marginalised groups could become more engaged with enterprise and innovation initiatives.
Barbara and Iain were able to identify some related programmes in the UK that might act as possible role models for some of the emerging rural enterprises in this part of rural Poland as well as passing on some ideas and techniques to raise interest in enterprising activities in an area where many young people leave to find rewarding work.
In the North East we do have our own ‘brain drain’ and this reinforces the need to ensure we have appropriate strategies in place to develop our fair share of future enterprise and manufacturing jobs to keep talent in the area.
2011 – Kwidzyn, Poland
Barbara and Iain were invited to take part in a week long programme by the Eco-Initiative Association in Poland to share ideas about how rural communities could become more enterprising in terms of taking advantage of new opportunities offered by greater interest in organic foods, food safety and general interest in green technologies such as bio fuels and wind power.
They were able to identify good examples in the North East of England where green ‘good practice’ was being developed including wind power and energy conservation schemes.
2010 – Gdansk, Poland
The partner organisation was Regionalne Centrum Informacji i Wspomagania Organizacji Pozarządowych (Fundacja RC) and we delivered a week long programme to local educators to raise their awareness of the benefits of enterprise in education programmes delivered both to young people and to adults.