Catalyst Grants programme brief (from Guys’ and St Thomas’ Charity - GSTTC):

Catalyst provides small grants of up to £500 to low-income and disadvantaged residents. Funds can be used flexibly for what people feel will make a meaningful difference to their lives and help fulfil personal goals. 

Awards are granted in blocks of £5000 to trusted partner organisations who then distribute funds to people they are already working with. Individuals use the funding for a wide range of educational and recreational opportunities that are meaningful for them, such as Pilates teacher training, taking The Knowledge test to become a taxi driver, gym membership, therapy sessions, or a new mattress etc. You can find out more about Cripplegate & Islington Giving’s previous run of the programme here.

The evaluation of Catalyst is limited due to the small budgets associated with the project, with case studies reported via organisations. Some of these case studies have shown the catalyst grants to have – as the name suggests – the power to catalyse impact. This project is part of GSTTC's programmes focusing on social and economic determinants of health in order to ensure longer, healthier lives for all people living in urban areas. Please read more about this here.

Following Cripplegate and Islington Giving's model, Catalyst organisations will meet quarterly (or more often if needed) to update one another and share best practice. We anticipate that bringing these organisations together through this programme will give us a focused method for building deeper partnerships in Southwark. 

Details of project run:

Host organisation: Community Southwark

Length of project: 14 months

Project start and end time: February 2021 until April 2022

Number of partner organisations: We are looking to have a maximum of 5

Funder: Guys’ and St Thomas’ Charity (GSTTC)

Area: Southwark

Next steps:
  1. Co-design a ‘Catalyst’ programme to be implemented in Southwark
  2. Deliver the programme
  3. Evaluate the programme

The aim is to design the programme as of February 2021 and open grant applications from the 1st of April 2021 and finish 12 months later. However, the time frame does have some flexibility. As Community Southwark will be running the programme, we will be managing all of the administrative tasks we can perform from our end to try and make the partner organisations’ involvement as easy as possible. 10% of the grant (£500) to cover partners’ admin costs will also be made available.

Introductory meeting

Please join me in an introductory meeting on the 20th January at 11:00-12:00 (sign up here) to find out more and to discuss your possible involvement as a partner organisation. After this, there may be an application process that our 5 partners will be selected from. Please note we can only accept 5 partner organisations to distribute grants at this stage but welcome input from more organisations if there is interest.

Criteria to become a partner organisation:

  • You need to be an established organisation who can commit to a one-year grant scheme (you would be given a 10% admin cost of the grant funds they are distributing, as mentioned above)
  • You need to have an existing relationship with service users who are looking for help improving their quality of life (can be physical or mental well-being, upskilling or similar, something that 'brings them joy')
  • Your service users need to be based in Southwark
  • You are especially encouraged to apply if your service users belong to ethnic minorities but it's not an essential criterion for service users to receive the grant

To sign up to the introductory meeting on the 20th January between 11:00-12:00, please click here.

The first meeting with the selected partner organisations will be held on the 17th February between 14:00 – 16:00.

If you have any questions ahead of the introductory meeting, please email Madeleine Marcateus (Community Grants Officer) at [email protected] or call on 020 7358 7704.