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  • Writer's pictureDo IT Foundation

Funding co-production with the Common Room

Updated: May 2, 2020

Last night community activists and entrepreneurs from Leyton in East London, arrived at a community centre to pitch for a small grant. The night was hosted by Do IT Foundation and the Common Room as part of a pilot funding scheme to support locally developed initiatives looking for start up grants.

The projects ranged from a community lunch club to an intergenerational scheme tackling loneliness and isolation, from a pickle making social business to a denim up-cycling project.

Each project got to pitch their work to over 40 local residents, who quizzed them on the details of their work and how they will support the community, before casting their votes to select two to receive a grant of £250 each. The competition was fierce with each project leader giving a passionate account of their work but ultimately there could only be two winners.

Irene Pulga won with "Nana used to say...", an intergenerational art project about younger people curating things from conversations with their elders that they think are worth recording and carrying on as a tradition or legacy: it could be a recipe, a wise story, a natural health remedy...anything!

And Lanka Gunaratne won with her "Community Lunch" idea, where donated food that would otherwise find its way into landfill can be collected, cooked and served to members of the community most in need of a healthy meal. 

The initiative was part of Do IT Foundation's small grants pilots, exploring opportunities to make it easier to fund small organisations. Working with the Common Room social enterprise, the Foundation was able to support local individuals that were in the process of developing or piloting their ideas, and ensure that their work was addressing a local need as supported by the people that voted for them.

Do IT Foundation Founder Jamie Ward-Smith said,

"This was a fantastic event. Every one of the ideas was backable and I'm glad it wasn't up to me to have to make the final decisions! Having local residents both scrutinise and decide on the funded projects should really help them to succeed with community backing."

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