In this age of chaos, with global turmoil, mass migrations due to wars and climate disasters, and our local councils struggling to stay afloat. It seems like nothing works! Everything's seems to be broken; education, the NHS, criminal justice. but amungst this cayos Community Interest Companies (CICs) have emerged as our saving grace.
These special entities are on the ground, running community projects that directly tackle the gaps left by overwhelmed public services. They're not just cost-effective; they're a lifeline in a sea of government inefficiencies.
I see many of you everyday doing the most impactful amazing work in your communities. Most of your ideas come from seeing the problems and creating your own solutions. It's really empowering for communities to essentially help themselves.
As crises mount, and public services buckle under staff shortages and budget cuts, CICs shine as beacons of efficiency. With minimal grants, they manage to accomplish what big-budget government projects often fail to. This becomes even more crucial as our communities grapple with the daily challenges brought about by these crises.
CICs are not bogged down by bureaucracy; they're nimble and quick to respond to the changing needs of their communities. They are also led by people with lived or professional experience. This is a far cry from the often sluggish pace of larger government initiatives. By addressing specific local needs, CICs prove that sometimes, a targeted, community-focused approach is what's needed to make a real impact.
Not all charge comes from government, people and communities can create change 🏼
Local authorities are catching on to the benefits of outsourcing to CICs. If you're running a CIC, now's the time to step up and pitch your services. Showcase the transformative projects your CIC has spearheaded, underscoring the financial savings you can offer compared to the traditional, bureaucratic government machinery.
Here are some tips to get a local gov contract;
Get your foot in the door with a grant funded pilot project you can offer the gov agency for free to prove your concept. I did this a few years back with a prison course. I got a pilot funded by the lottery Community fund. It was really successful so I was able to get great feedback from prison staff and people in custody. I then sold it to the same prison and a couple of others.
Get on they purchasing systems. Prisons and DWP have dynamic purchasing system. They will only buy service though that. Schools and other agencies may not have this structure and can hire who they like. Check out by asking.
Get a meeting with the right person by going though your MP. My MP got me a meeting with the top minister and head of education in the MOJ! That was a key advantage.
Once you get one contract you can use that to get more. Roll it out. Grow your team.
Fill a void where you know there is money. Find what and who has funding. No point pitching if they turn around and say there is no money.
Try to get a three year contract. You need stability and time to create impact. That requires longer contracts. Try to lock them in.
If you can’t get a contract due to lack for funding. Think outside the box. How could you find it? Could you ask for sponsorship from a private company? Again try to lock them in for three years. Or think of an entrepreneurial way to May income for support the service.
Lastly, try to apply for larger longer grant pots to give you stability. When you writing the grant remember due to all of the cuts and high demand you need to pitch yourself to be the most cost effective, low risk and high impact application the panel has seen! Let them know how you're saving money, using volunteers, and having a high impact.
The real strength of CICs lies in their ability to create life-changing impact where it matters most. Whether it's supporting those affected by poverty, deprivation or plugging the gaps left by stretched public resources, community-driven organisations are proving indispensable.
CIC’s are in a great position to leverage into filling these gaps. There is still money out there in economic downturns. Make sure you are competitive and target driven. That’s what counts in these hard times.