Decision details

Enabling the Voluntary, Community and Social Enterprise (VCSE) Grant

Decision Maker: Chief Executive

Decision status: Recommendations Approved

Is Key decision?: Yes

Is subject to call in?: No


•This decision follows from the Cabinet decision taken on 1st September 2020 (ModernGov - Item 16), which approved the extension of the existing grant funding arrangement with Voscur to 31st March 2022; approved inviting suitable applicants to apply for Enabling the VCSE grant funding from 1st April 2022 and authorised the Chief Executive in consultation with the Cabinet Member -Communities to take all steps required to enter into a grant agreement with the successful applicants.
•Bristol City Council has a long history of supporting its voluntary and community organisations through grant funding infrastructure support to enable them to function well and thrive. The Enabling the VCSE Grant is the latest iteration of this support.
•It was originally intended to run 1st October 2020-30th Sept 2024, having been approved by Cabinet in December 2019. This timetable was not able to be delivered due to the Covid-19 emergency.
•The Grant commissioning exercise was re-started 7th June 2021 with a closing date of 4th October 2021. This Grant was approved to run for four years, from 1st April 2022 to 31st March 2026, a total grant of £1,266,432 (£316,608 per year)
•The grant approach set out 5 Priorities the council wanted to support, underpinned by 5 community-building principles. These emphasised Equity, Asset-based and Place-base approaches and strong delivery to groups in neighbourhoods experiencing the greatest inequality and to equalities-led groups. The approach also emphasised that proposals needed to demonstrate how they would deliver long-term capacity building, sustainability and enable the sector to be effective leaders in the city through strategic and operational collaboration with other organisations supporting.


a) To approve £1,266,432 Enabling the VCSE Grant to Voscur and Black South West Network to provide infrastructure support Bristol’s community and voluntary groups, and to deliver work to respond to the recommendations of the research report Designing a New Social Reality (February 2021) and implement the VCSE Strategic Action Plan from 1st April 2022 to the 31st March 2026.
b) To distribute the available funding to both organisations as follows:
•Voscur: £236,608 per year 1st April 2022 to 31st March 2026
•Black South West Network: £80,000 per year 1st April 2022 to 31st March 2026

Alternative options considered:

Option 1 - •The Voscur application set out a work programme delivering to VCSE groups across the city, requesting the full grant available: £316,608 per annum
Option 2 - •The Black South West Network application set out a work programme focused on a racial justice approach and on delivery to black-and-minoritised-community-led VCSE groups. They requested per annum £166,901 in 22/23 and £172,187 in 23/24.
Option 3 -

Publication date: 12/01/2022

Date of decision: 17/12/2021