Below are some of the projects we are currently working on:
Steps to Sustainability: our emergency covid support programme scaled-up
When the pandemic struck the UK, Civil Society Consulting CIC, wanted to support vulnerable communities as much as we can during this crisis. We reached out to the sector offering hour-long one-to-one surgeries online – free, and open to any struggling charities or faith groups. This went hand-in-hand with a briefing pack to the sector.
We found this was transformative to panicked community groups, and decided this was the most useful thing we could do for the sector and quickly changing environment of just a few months ago.
To date, we have delivered free one-to-one consultation surgeries to 34 local faith action leaders. To lock in impact, we followed up with the appropriate number of hours of support – based on a checklist to implement the advice provided.
The initiative received extremely positive feedback from struggling organisations and endorsement from other key players in the sector. It also brought into sharp relief our role in the sector. Many groups lack the tools, confidence and know-how to secure necessary funding. We have therefore been continuing to work with several BAME-led organisations up-and-down the country – including Ubuntu Multicultural Centre (Middlesbrough), London Sew Project (East London) and Ukon Careers (East London).
We are thrilled to announce that thanks to TNL Community Fund funding, we are now scaling up our crisis response. As of October 2020, Civil Society Consulting CIC is partnering with Faiths Forum to revamp our crisis support initiative, with a specific BAME-focus – under the name ‘Steps to Sustainability’.
Steps to Sustainability is exactly what we stand for as a small, not-for-profit consultancy – both in its end goal and in the means for getting there. Our mission is to leverage social impact and community cohesion. We believe the best way to do this is to empower, enable and facilitate community organisations and social action leaders to serve the communities they know and love. Since this is exactly what Steps to Sustainability is all about, we see it as a flagship programme.
To learn more our about our programme please read our brochure. To learn more about where Steps to Sustainability is headed, please check out our Press Release. Download both below.
Together Middlesbrough & Cleveland: collaborative partnership
The levels of poverty in Middlesbrough are the highest in country, with the town now the top hotspot for absolute destitution. For many years, Together Middlesbrough & Cleveland (TM&C) has been tackling a wide range of social issues including poverty, loneliness, homelessness, food insecurity and other challenges faced by children and families. In November 2020, with fundraising support from CSC, the organisation secured a major grant from the National Lottery Coronavirus Community Support Fund to scale up its work, and they have now formed a collaborative partnership with us.
Our consultancy support comes in the form of marketing, community engagement, and strategic support. With our help, TM&C have also secured a grant from Power to Change. This grant will be used by us to deliver Social Media and Income Generation webinars to local organisations in TM&C’s network. During the pandemic, we noticed that many organisations lack confidence with using online platforms to engage audiences and beneficiaries; others may face operational challenges that prevent them from effectively fundraising. The webinars are designed to address these issues and support these communities.
We are also evaluating TM&C as an organisation, assessing the impact of their activities and achievements, which will be useful for future funding proposals. Alongside this, we are providing communications and marketing support while helping the organisation to set up practices that will strengthen these functions in the long term.
As a part of our partnership, TM&C have helped us source BAME-led organisations as beneficiaries of our Steps to Sustainability initiative. This includes Ubuntu Multicultural Centre, for whom we have completed a Community Engagement Survey.
Training community leaders on loneliness: the Campaign to End Loneliness
The Campaign to End Loneliness (CEL) have commissioned Civil Society Consulting to help them tackle the loneliness epidemic. We have been asked to create a learning programme to raise awareness and understanding of loneliness – including how it manifests in people and communities and how to tackle it. Participants will come away from the training with their own loneliness reduction action plans tailored to their community’s specific needs and strengths.
With expertise in education, psychology and research & development, CSC are devising an accessible, interactive and inclusive learning programme for CEL to train community leaders.
The Campaign to End Loneliness has been operating since 2011 to raise awareness of loneliness, provide cutting edge research and tools for delivery organisations and policy makers, while striving for innovation in campaigning and public affairs. They aim to identify and promote effective, evidence based, relevant solutions and support to address loneliness.
Perinatal mental health in southeast London: the barriers to access
NHS England are seeking to improve the support new and soon-to-be mothers are accessing during the perinatal period, i.e. during pregnancy and/or the first two years after childbirth. We (Civil Society Consulting) have been commissioned via the mental health charity BLG Mind to carry out this social and community research and policy analysis in Bromley and Southwark.
Through surveys, 1-to-1 interviews, and focus groups, we have reached mums and soon-to-be mums to find out their stories. Our work involved uncovering and evaluating the barriers women face in accessing perinatal mental health services – logistical, emotional, cultural, psychological, as well as what kind of support is most game-changing. We identified valuable policy entry points and formulated evidence-based policy recommendations for NHS England, which have been presented in two in-depth, quality reports for the local perinatal teams of Bromley and Southwark.
The same study has been conducted in parallel in four other Southeast London boroughs too. Carrying out extensive analysis in two boroughs has rendered our team particularly knowledgeable. As a result, BLG Mind have recently recruited us to help write the final six-borough-wide report, synthesising the findings from all boroughs to present meaningful recommendations to the NHS at national level.
Improving the safety and wellbeing of mothers is a Human Rights issue. On top of this, the perinatal period is a game-changer in child development. This means that helping mothers through this critical stage will improve lives today as well as contributing to sustainable societies of the future. We are proud and excited to be working on these issues. Moreover, our research team are extremely grateful to all the women who participated – we noted their courage and generosity of spirit was motivated by a sincere desire to improve experiences for future women like them.
Derby Multi-Faith Centre: enhancing organisational strengths
Civil Society Consulting have been commissioned by the well-established Multi Faith Centre based at the University of Derby to assist them with an organisational strengths and Governance Review, to establish how best to improve overall performance and scope future developments as they adapt their work in times of Covid-19 recovery. The team have been asked to guide them in devising a fresh business plan, strategy and budget.
Knife crime in southeast London: supporting the Youth Rally Mission
Youth Rally Mission was launched in 2007 when Isaac Attram, the father of a young, talented victim of knife crime and street violence, set up the organisation. Driven by his faith, he founded Youth Rally to enable young people to develop their talents and a sense of belonging. They now run an after school project and other workshops to provide a clear alternative to street crime. Youth Rally were referred to CSC by Near Neighbours Co-ordinator.
Since the intensification of the government’s coronavirus containment measures, Youth Rally’s partner schools have been concerned that not enough is being done to keep young people ‘on the right track’ – and the irreversible damage that this period of disconnect could have. To deal with the immediate aftermath, and to prime the students ready to resume their personal development effectively when school restarts, young people need support with COVID-specific challenges. Whereas they would normally channel action through schools, Youth Rally identified that now is the time to work with parents and families.
CSC helped Youth Rally Mission to: (1) refine their programme design to channel support through parents and families, (2) communicate their existing achievements and good positioning in the community, and (3) create a compelling proposal and budget for the required funding.
Post-pandemic planning: researching the impact of Covid-19 on Barking and Dagenham’s social sector
We’re proud to have engaged with the social sector in Barking and Dagenham (LBBD) to assess Covid-19’s impact on the sector. Amidst the positive and adaptive response in the community, LBBD stands to be hit hard – especially when we consider longer-term. We collected and analysed trends, experiences, views and ideas to help plot recovery, a trailblazing initiative commissioned by BD_Collective. The report seeks to guide policymakers and funders who want the best for the borough and to enable them to decisions that will have the most impact. To give a sneak preview of our report, we put together a video of the key findings:
Social connection and emergency supplies in Coventry
The House of Empowerment is an African church community in Longford, Coventry. We met their community leader, Kwame, through our free one-to-one surgeries and gave them support and advice. Following this constructive one-to-one, CSC worked with the House of Empowerment to submit a proposal to the National Lottery Community Fund to support their emergency work delivering food and medicines – as well as social connecting support – to their elderly congregation during COVID-19. The funding bid was successful (!) allowing the House of Empowerment to fill a gap in the provision of vital services to its community members, whilst propping up mental wellbeing and social cohesion.
Carers Network: our work in impact assessment
We have undertaken over 40 separate impact assessment execises with small and medium sized charities, including in Blackpool for a residents’ regeneration project, in Peterborough for a refugee support organisation and in Barrow-in-Furness for an infrastructure support organisation, called Cumbria CVS. We believe that evidencing success is a crucial ingredient to ensuring a charity’s on-going viability, whilst also demonstrating impact, value for money and to examine how improvements can be made to project delivery. We always put the charity’s beneficiaries in the heart of any evaluative assignment we are doing. One very recent further example of our impact assessment work and extensive experience is with a carers charity based in central London, and this has centred on assessing the impact of a former carers project which has been funded (twice) by the Lloyds Bank Foundation. The impact assessment has involved one-to-one meetings with delivery staff and partner organisations, case studying, carer interviews and an extensive survey of project beneficiaries. This is the second impact assessment exercise carried out for this medium-sized charity called Carers Network.
We have also been working with:
- Together Middlesbrough and Cleveland
- Thrive Birmingham
- Overcoming Shocking Debt
- Transforming Communities Together (Wolverhampton, Walsaw, Dudley, Sandwell)
- Together Liverpool
“I cannot recommend James and Mark highly enough. They are two of the most professional, knowledgeable and hard-working individuals that I have had the pleasure of working with in my long career in Local Government.”Carol Yarde, Head of Transformation