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Funding for mentoring and befriending. Impact of spending cuts on the survival and sustainability of projects across the UK.

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Introduction Funding for mentoring and befriending Impact of spending cuts on the survival and sustainability of projects across the UK Funding survey 2011 MBF Funding survey report Headlines 72%
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Introduction Funding for mentoring and befriending Impact of spending cuts on the survival and sustainability of projects across the UK Funding survey 2011 MBF Funding survey report Headlines 72% of projects feel that the spending cuts are likely to have an impact on their project during the next financial year (April 2011 March 2012) compared to 44% in % of projects saw a greater demand for their service from users over the last financial year. Next year this is set to increase with 79% anticipating greater demand for their services. 40% of projects expect to have to make staff cuts in with 26% anticipating reducing the number of service users they support. 53% of projects anticipate an increase in volunteer applications to their project over the next financial year. 73% of projects said that they thought having a quality standard for their project strengthened their application or opportunity to gain funding. In response to the cuts, projects are developing a number of strategies which include new approaches to fundraising, exploring alternative sources of funding, improving outcomes monitoring, increased partnership working and raising awareness of their project through increased marketing and promotion. I do worry that the way things are going, there are going to be a lot more vulnerable children, young people and families who will receive far less support than before Mentoring project working with young people at risk of offending MBF Funding survey report Contents Introduction 4 Summary findings 5 Comparison of findings 7 Full report findings: 8 - Funding information: running costs, funding received and unit costs 8 - Impact of spending cuts and changed funding climate 9 - Impact on service users and volunteers 10 - Quality standards and relationships with funders 10 - Main challenges facing projects in an uncertain funding climate 11 - Strategies for responding to these challenges including fundraising 13 - Good practice tips 15 - Further support and training needs 17 Conclusion 18 Appendices - Appendix 1: Mentoring summary 19 - Appendix 2: Befriending summary 21 - Appendix 3: Survey data 23 MBF Funding survey report Introduction 2010 saw the government introduce the biggest planned spending cuts in the UK for decades and in this, our third report in our annual series of funding surveys, we asked mentoring and befriending projects about the implications and impact of the cuts both as they are affecting them now and how they see them affecting them in the future. We invited mentoring and befriending projects to complete an online survey during February and March 2011 and responses came back from 144 projects working with a wide range of client groups. The views that projects share with us help us to expand our knowledge of the funding environment facing mentoring and befriending projects, year on year. This enables MBF and others to better respond to the information and support needs of projects. future sustainability of mentoring and befriending projects. Note: the survey data was analysed to show the results from both mentoring and befriending projects separately so that we could identify differences and trends between the two approaches. A combined was also calculated to show the overall picture which is in general the figure used in this report unless otherwise specified. The data tables in the Appendices on pages illustrate this data breakdown. This year s survey also asked projects to share with us some elements of good practice around funding and fundraising activity which we hope will provide a useful source of information for other projects facing similar funding challenges. For the first time, this year s survey was promoted to mentoring and befriending projects working across the UK (not just in England). The following organisations kindly promoted the survey to their networks Scottish Mentoring Network, Befriending Network Scotland, WCVA (voice of the voluntary sector in Wales) and Volunteer Now (a leading volunteering organisation in Northern Ireland). We would like to thank all the organisations and projects that gave their time to both promote and complete the survey all their experiences and funding information will help us to support the MBF Funding survey report Summary findings Funding information Most mentoring and befriending projects support between 25 and 50 volunteers and provide a service to more than 50 service users annually. The length of time projects have been running reveals that just over half of all projects (51%) have been running for longer than five years with 29% running for between two and five years and 11% for less than a year. Funding received Most projects receive their main source of funding from a local authority (32%) followed closely by projects funded from a charitable trust/lottery (26%). Fewer projects receive their main funding from donations (6%), the private sector (4%) and from an NHS Trust / PCT (3%). The level of funding received by the majority of projects (46%) is up to 25,000 per year with another quarter (26%) receiving between 25,000 and 50,000 per year. Unit costs Of those projects that have calculated a unit cost for their service (the total cost of supporting one service user) a wide cost range was identified, this was not surprising as services differ in the level of support offered and delivery methods used. Unit costs for projects working with older people ranged from 80 to 900 per service user and projects working with offenders and those at risk of offending ranged from 120 to Impact of spending cuts and changed funding environment Just under half of projects (44%) said that the introduction of spending cuts by the government had an impact on them during the last financial year (April March 2011). However this figure increases to 72% of projects who feel that the cuts will have an impact on them during the current financial year (April March 2012). Just under a third (32%) have made cuts to their project as a result of spending cuts during the last financial year with 87% of these projects making staff cuts, 48% reducing the number of service users supported and 39% reducing their number of volunteers. Looking ahead, 40% of projects anticipate having to make staff cuts over the next financial year with 26% anticipating reducing the number of service users they support. Overall, 44% of projects expect their situation to worsen over the next financial year with 14% predicting it will improve. Many projects expressed deep concern that if they are unable to secure funding then the beneficiaries and volunteers of many services will suffer a severe blow leading to a detrimental impact on society as a whole. This view was shared by projects working across all ages and client groups. Projects also say that there is a growing expectation that projects will need to do more with less money. Impact on users and volunteers Sixty two per cent of projects saw a greater demand for their service from service users over the last financial year and 79% anticipate greater demand in the coming financial year. Forty four percent saw an increase in volunteer applications to their service over the last financial year with 53% anticipating seeing more volunteer applications in the current financial year. Quality standards and relationship with funders Almost three quarters of projects surveyed (73%) said that they thought having a quality standard for their project strengthened their application or opportunity to obtain funding. Of the projects surveyed, the most popular quality standards they MBF Funding survey report Summary findings have obtained are as follows: 63% have achieved the MBF Approved Provider Standard (APS), 23% have achieved Investors in People and 10% have Investing in Volunteers. Around half (48%) of projects rate the level of understanding and awareness of mentoring and befriending by their main funder as either good or excellent. There is some evidence of changes in demands being made by funders as 56% of projects tell us that they have seen an increase in demand to provide evidence of outcomes, 28% see an increased demand for partnership working and 24% see an increase in demand for social impact reporting from funders. Main challenges facing projects in an uncertain funding climate The most pressing problem that projects tell us they face in this uncertain funding environment is the severe impact that spending cuts are having on them. Many tell us that they are closing due to complete loss of funding while others are using their reserves in order to survive in the short term. This is felt to be due largely to there being less funding available from local authorities and charitable trusts as well as the growing competition for funds. A substantial knock on effect from this is the inability to plan long-term due to funding uncertainty and projects feel that this impacts severely on their future sustainability. Challenges are also being faced by projects needing to retain staff in the face of budget cuts while keeping morale and motivation high. This is proving difficult when staff have no certainty over their future employment. Many projects are also facing challenges with their volunteer management and are offering less support and reducing numbers. Another trend identified by many projects is that staff are managing a higher number of relationships which leads to less time available for other work. Some projects are re-prioritising and offering their service to fewer service users than before. There is also a feeling by some projects that they are increasingly unable to support those who are most vulnerable. Another significant problem is the loss of many projects partner organisations through the cuts leading to impact on referrals, ability to signpost users on and a reduction in the number of other support networks. Strategies for responding to these challenges Projects are developing strategies to deal with these issues which include increased partnership and collaborative working; more business planning; reviewing costs; restructuring, reducing or developing services in new ways; increased trading; more fundraising and promotional activities. Good practice tips Projects shared a range of good practice tips around developing new approaches to fundraising, successful fundraising activities, working with volunteers and service users and impact measurement. You can read all their suggestions on pages 15 to 16. Read the report s full findings on pages 8 to 18. MBF Funding survey report Comparison of findings We have undertaken a comparison of this year s funding survey responses with those we received last year to identify any significant changes in responses. We recognise that it is difficult to compare year on year but the following reveal a few interesting facts: Although the majority of projects still have annual running costs of less than 25,000, more befriending projects told us this year that their annual running costs are higher between 25,000 and 50,000 (39%) as opposed to 28% last year. The main source of funding for most projects is still from local authorities although this percentage is down on last year from 46% to 32%. There is an increase in projects receiving their main funding from a charitable trust/lottery up from 22% last year to 26% this year. Similarly, 39% of projects in this year s survey reduced their volunteer numbers compared with 3% last year. Whereas no projects surveyed last year had merged, 4% of projects had this year. Numbers of projects expecting their situation to worsen over the next financial year increased to 44% this year compared with 30% of projects in the last survey. The trend which we saw last year showing increased demand for the service from users continues to rise with a figure of 62% this year compared with 58% last year. Some changes to projects additional sources of funding show that last year 31% of projects got this through fundraising activities whereas this has increased to 41% this year. Also, trading accounts for 8% of additional sources of funding compared with just 2% last year. The cuts made by projects in this financial year are substantially greater than shown in last year s survey with 87% making staff cuts this year as compared with 16% last year. Again, 48% reduced the number of clients they supported this year in comparison with just 7% in last year s survey. MBF Funding survey report Full report findings See the Appendices on pages for all data. Funding information Profile of projects surveyed Overall, 144 mentoring and befriending projects responded to our third annual survey, split evenly between mentoring (51%) and befriending (49%) projects and supporting over 16 diverse client groups ranging from older, socially isolated people to looked after children and young people to individuals with a mental health problem and students in educational settings. For the first time, our survey reached out to projects working in or across all four countries of the UK and the breakdown of projects who responded was: 92% of projects are working in England, 10% in Scotland, 7% in Wales and 4% in Northern Ireland. We hope to build on this in future surveys. Most mentoring and befriending projects support between 25 and 50 volunteers and provide a service to more than 50 service users annually. The length of time projects have been running shows that 51% have been running for longer than 5 years with 29% running for between two and five years, 11% for less than a year and 9% for between one and two years. Running costs We asked projects about their annual running costs and the survey shows that overall 40% of projects have annual running costs of up to 25,000. However there is some variation between mentoring and befriending projects with 48% of mentoring projects fitting into this category compared with 32% of befriending projects. A higher number of befriending projects (39%) have annual running costs of between 25,000 and 50,000 with 26% of mentoring in this category. Sixteen per cent of mentoring projects receive between 100,000 and 250,000 with just 2% of both mentoring and befriending projects totalling costs of over 500,000. Funding received Just under a third of all projects (32%) receive their main source of funding from a local authority, just over a quarter from a charitable trust/lottery (26%), 6% from donations, 4% from the private sector and 3% from an NHS Trust/PCT. The amount of main funding received by the majority of projects (46%) is from 1 to 25,000 with around a quarter (26%) receiving between 25,000 and 50,000. Most projects (38%) state that their main source of funding is for one year, 20% receive it for three years and 18% for less than one. As well as their main source of funding, the most common additional sources of funding are from donations (56%), fundraising activities (41%), charitable trust/lottery (33%), local authority (30%), NHS Trust/PCT (10%) and trading activities (8%). We asked projects that receive local/central government funding (37%) to tell us what proportion of this funding contributes to their overall total funding. Forty four per cent receive 100% from local/central government funding, 15% receive between 90-99%,16% between 40-59% and 24% between 1-20%. Unit costs We asked projects that have calculated a unit cost to share this with us. Not surprisingly, we found a wide range of unit costs depending on the client group, intensity and level of support offered and delivery methods used. Unit costs from projects working with older people ranged from 80 to 900 per service user, projects supporting looked after children ranged between 400 to 500, projects based within educational settings were calculated as being as low as 5 to 600 and projects working with offenders and those at-risk of offending ranged from 120 to MBF Funding survey report Impact of spending cuts and changed funding climate Impact of spending cuts and changed funding climate We asked projects whether the spending cuts had made an impact on them during the last financial year (April March 2011) and there was a fairly even response to this with 44% saying that they had, 52% saying that they hadn t and 4% that they did not know. However, when asked if they felt the spending cuts were likely to have an impact on their project during the next financial year (April March 2012), then 72% of projects said yes, 15% said no and 13% did not know. reducing the number of volunteers used and 10% looking to merge with another organisation. When asked about the possibility of their project expanding over the next financial year, 45% did not anticipate this. Of those that did think expansion likely, 45% anticipated an increased number of clients supported, 40% an increase in their volunteers and 13% an increase in staff. Forty four percent of projects expected their situation to worsen over the next financial year, 43% felt it would stay the same and 14% of projects felt their situation would improve. Of those projects that receive statutory funding, 31% had their funding cut during the last financial year and 38% stated that their funding level had stayed the same during this period. For others it was the first time that they had received statutory funding. Just under a third (32%) of projects have made cuts to their project as a result of spending cuts during the last financial year and of these, 87% have made staff cuts, 48% reduced the number of clients they support, 39% reduced the number of volunteers they utilise and 4% have merged with another organisation. Of the 68% of projects who did not have to make any cuts, 51% had not experienced any project expansion. However 38% had increased the number of clients they support, 34% had increased their number of volunteers used and 11% had increased their staff. Asked about the likelihood of cuts over the next financial year (April March 2012), 46% of projects felt that no cuts were likely. Of the 54% that did think cuts were likely, 40% were anticipating having to make staff cuts, 26% looking to reduce the number of clients supported, 22% As far as my projects are concerned and unless the cavalry make a last minute appearance at the top of the hill, it may be a case of Goodnight Vienna and for the last one to leave the building to turn out the lights! Mentoring project working with those at risk of offending MBF Funding survey report Impact on service users Quality standards and relationships with funders Impact on service users and volunteers Sixty two per cent of projects saw a greater demand for their service from users over the last financial year (April March 2011) with just 2% seeing less demand and 37% seeing no change. Looking to the current financial year (April March 2012), 79% of projects anticipate that they will see greater demand from service users with just 4% anticipating less demand and 18% seeing no change. An increase in volunteer applications was seen by 44% of projects over the last financial year with 46% seeing no change. Projects anticipate that in the current financial year, 53% will receive more applications, 9% will receive fewer applications and 38% foresee no change. Quality standards and relationships with funders Almost three quarters of projects (73%) said that they thought having a quality standard for their project strengthened their application or opportunity to obtain funding, 5% didn t think that it did and 23% didn t know what the impact of having a quality standard was. Of the projects surveyed, 63% have achieved the Approved Provider Standard (APS), 23% have achieved Investors in People, 10% Investing in Volunteers, 8% PQASSO, 6% Matrix and 21% of projects do not have any quality standards. When asked to rate their main funder s level of understanding and awareness of mentoring and befriending, 48% of projects rated it as either good or excellent, 37% rated it as quite good and 15% as either poor or very poor
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