A year on from the launch of the Foundation, we reflect on the successes and a few other surprising outcomes.
The Fat Beehive Foundation was due to launch in April 2020 and it would have been reasonable and understandable if, In the midst of pandemic lockdowns and an uncertain economic outlook, we had decided to look inwards and postpone the launch until things got better. However we also realised that small charities were particularly hard hit by Covid and that many of their services could now only be delivered online – digital was more important than ever so we felt we should get the Foundation up and running as soon as possible and certainly in time for Q2 grant awards.
We launched in August 2020, with the aim of making a real difference to small charities by providing £10,000 worth of grants a year to assist with digital development. Nearly 500 applications were submitted in the first year and despite some tough competition from many potential worthy recipients, the Trustees were really pleased to be able to offer three grants – helping prisoners to rehabilitate, supporting a community initiative in a deprived part of Wales and supporting LGBT Asylum seekers, just as Priti Patel was making it more difficult, even for those fleeing from places that still have the death penalty, for being gay to get asylum in the UK.
The Fat Beehive Foundation were able to provide funding to Spark Inside, a charity that helps young people in prison find a purpose to strive towards upon release: a more attractive alternative to a return to crime. The grant has been used to develop a digital project to help rehabilitate young offenders in prison, who have been particularly isolated due to Covid-19.
The Foundation has provided funds towards a virtual climate change garden for the future, engaging with schools, environmental volunteers and helping to support the mental health and wellbeing of the community that has been hugely impacted by COVID-19.
The trustees were delighted to support Rainbow Home who provides specialist support and assistance to help reduce the psychological isolation and inequalities experienced by LGBTQ+ asylum seekers and those who have leave to remain but are not yet settled in North East England. Rainbow Home is a lifeline in an unfamiliar country with an uncertain future ahead of them.
They have never had an online presence and we’re excited to see how their website can support the amazing work they do across the North East.
More than just grants
Giving back has always been a core value to us here at the Hive and, in addition to the supply of grants, the Foundation has provided us with the opportunity to work more closely with small charities who provide incredible services.
An unexpected but welcomed outcome to the Foundation has been the reach gained to smaller charities through charity group events. Small grants can be few and far between in the charity sector and such events have allowed us to communicate best practices when applying for funding. Most recently, trustee Mark Watson spoke at a ‘Meet the Funder’ event hosted by the Ealing and Hounslow Community and Voluntary Service which you can read more about here. Moreover, we signpost all applicants to the services provided by Digital Candle, with a helping hand from our head of creative Ben Serbutt, who doubles up as a Digital Candle Expert!
In addition to the reach the Foundation allows us with smaller charities, we’ve been fortunate enough to be exposed to the amazing work organisations are doing and have been able to partner with some. We’ve joined forces with a number of small charities including Code4000, a charity specialising in breaking the cycle of reoffending through teaching prisoners to code and Ripple Africa, who empower local communities across Africa – and we’re now offsetting carbon with them!
While we’re limited to the amount of funding available, the Foundation has provided our team with the opportunity to reach out to small charities and offer their time (as a part of the Fat Beehive staff volunteer scheme) to help with other digital aspects. Senior Producer Anna Alabau explains more about her time with CREATE here.
The Fat Beehive Foundation was born out of the desire to help small charities with funding that would make a real and lasting impact to their cause. One year on, we’ve discovered that it has provided this and so much more and we’re all excited about what year two will bring!
Want to learn more about how you can apply for funding? Visit the Foundation site here.