Published 20 Dec 2021

Shaida Kwapong, our Community Grants Officer, tells us about the Catalyst Grant Project which has been commissioned by the Impact on Urban Health: 

My name is Shaida Kwapong and I am the Community Grants Officer here at Community Southwark. I have been commissioned by the Impact on Urban Health to manage the Catalyst Grant Project which is currently a pilot project with great potential for expansion.

The Catalyst Grant Programme is being rolled out in Southwark to test the delivery model and better understand the possible impact of a small grants scheme for individuals that has run in Islington since 2008. The pilot is providing small grants of up to £500 to low-income and disadvantaged residents in Southwark via five partner organisations from the voluntary and community sector. Its focus is to help overcome Social Determiners of Health and improve physical and/or mental well-being for its recipients with a consideration for emerging needs of the COVID-19 pandemic. The grant is flexible and focuses on the recipient’s need, allowing them the flexibility to consider what will be the biggest catalyst for change in their lives.

We are currently at the half-way mark of the project, with most partners having distributed their grants and the monitoring and evaluation tools (in the form a series of pre and post grant surveys for the recipients, as well as meetings and progress surveys for the partners) have already started to capture data and feedback from partners and grant beneficiaries.

“I call it our ‘feel good fund’. It makes us all feel good. People are amazed when we tell them they have a choice to spend the money on something for them, to make themselves feel better. They are amazed that there is someone out there who cares about them.” Quote from Catalyst Grant Partner, 4th partner meeting
"My hope for the grant is…that I will feel less anxious and stressed and have a sense of doing something for myself for once.” Quote from Catalyst Grant recipient, pre-grant survey

“I just have a bit more of a feeling of self-worth now” Quote from Catalyst Grant recipient, post-grant survey

The pilot project is set to come to an end in April 2022, by this time all grants will hopefully have been distributed and monitoring and evaluation tools fully utilised, resulting in representative and reliable data, enabling us to make solid recommendations that can be made for future planning.

Find out more

You can find out more about the Catalyst Grant Project on our web page here.