07 —

Obviously a big thing this week was the launch of the Government’s Coronavirus Community Support Fund. We are distributing this fund in England, where £200 Million is available.

At 2pm yesterday, the launch day of the fund, this was a snap shot from our Grant Management System.

  • 100,000 Requests on the website already. It peaked at 50,000 on Thursday. We are on track for our busiest day on the website ever. Even beats the 25th Birthday!
  • Currently 360 people on the website pages now, normally less than 100.
  • Had 217 people register for an account already today. Yesterday we had 158.
  • Currently on Simple we have 157 in progress applications.
  • Currently on Standard we have 129 in progress applications, and 25 ready to submit today.
This image shows the huge spike in applications yesterday.

I don’t know what the figures were like at the end of the day yesterday, but I think we can already see the kind of demand that’s out there. The England team have done a brilliant job getting ready for this, alongside other teams like legal, finance, data, service design, the development team and so forth, and for the funding team and the continuous improvement team the work has only just begun. I’m in awe of the team effort. 👏🏼

Alongside this we’ve also been distributing National Lottery players money with our own Covid-19 funding response and stats from this week show that since 1 April, we have funded 569 new grantees, 65% of which were micro and small organisations. The number of taxonomy classified funding commitments since 1 April is 1,776, an increase of 537 (43%) on last week. Number of all commitments since 1 April is 2,554 and we have £80 Million of proposals in the pipeline.

  • Personally I’ve been less focussed on our immediate response this week, though have still written 3 assessment papers for our Covid-19 decision making panels which now happen twice a week on a Tuesday and Thursday, alongside reading 400 pages of other assessment papers.
  • I’ve been focussing my attention towards the medium and longer-term, with the UK Portfolio, alongside other colleagues across the fund, starting an enquiry about what civil society will need going forward, and wondering how we can even know that. Over the next weeks we will be doing multiple interviews with the wider sector, and other sectors too. Pockets of the Future content will be gathered online and we will share as we go. These interviews will compliment what we are learning from our fund-wide Scanning & Sensing Network, and work that the Knowledge + Learning teams are doing across the fund.
  • I presented the work the UK Portfolio is doing on the medium and longer-term to the England committee this week, with my colleague Laura who is leading England’s part of it. One of the committee members said — “Please don’t come back in a months time with a plan set out, because we know that it will be impossible to have that kind of clarity or certainty about what to do.” I loved the honesty of that, and it’s true. Designing funding strategy in an ever-more complex world requires a different way of doing strategy, and a different set of questions.
  • In relation to the work above I’m trying to attend at least a few external events a week with communities who are holding space about the future. I joined 30 people from across Europe, hosted by More In Common to look at whether Europe will emerge more united from Covid-19 and the drivers influencing that. This weekend I am going to delve into the work Alex Evans has been doing on Long Crisis Scenarios.
  • We had our 4th sense-making session with Graham, using the Three Horizons framework. I’m going to write up a longer blog specifically on this over the next few days, as a summary, and my colleague Hannah has been writing weekly about them here.
  • Earlier that day Graham and I were on a call with Dave Snowden talking about how we can use the Sensemaker software “An anthro-complexity approach to a pandemic” — to underpin the work we’re doing. More on that soon!
  • I had a lovely long chat with Panthea, someone I met in NYC last year at a UNDP workshop (thanks Millie and Giulio) and who’s work I’m an avid fan of. I’d really recommend her work on collaboration, reimagined and I’m excited to see how Reboot’s thinking about a People’s Taskforce in NYC develops. I’m sure there will be things we can learn for here in the UK.
  • We had the first in our series of learning sessions that I’ve designed for my team. I shared the series in my Weeknotes last week, and first on the list was Bill Sharp. Bill walked the team through the Three Horizons model, we talked about where the voices of the horizons show up in our work, and about how the framework could be usefully applied. I also asked Bill to talk about future consciousness and what he means by ‘the patterning of hope.’
  • I joined the weekly team meeting for the ACF incubated Collaborative Funder Hub focussed on recovery and renewal in the context of Covid-19. We have set up two groups, an Advisory group who meet next week for the first time, and an implementation group, which is the one I’m on. I’ll be joining the first Advisory group session to share with them our proposed design-lead approach for the Hub.

Lastly, a few events for your diaries.

I’m chairing a panel for The National Lottery Community next week on ‘rapid digital adoption’ and what that means for civil society, with Laura Bunt, Julie Dodd and Phoebe Tickell from my team. Sign up here.

I’m going to be running a session on Stewarding Loss at the States of Change Learning Festival. Find out more about all the great sessions they have programmed.