RSA launches Community Grant Programme

Based on nominations from employees

170 community groups benefitted so far

donations range from £500 microgrants to £5,000

RSA recently announced that it is awarding more than £280,000 worth of small grants for community organisations struggling because of COVID-19. The programme is a direct response from RSA’s UK employees to lockdowns hindering the volunteering and fundraising schemes normally in place.

UK employees last year dedicated over 7,300 working hours to volunteering in their local communities and more than £214,000 was raised through fundraising events in RSA’s UK offices. Lockdowns and social distancing requirements in 2020 meant staff were keen to find another way to help the communities in which they live and work.

This year, through the community grant programme, RSA is distributing £283,500 worth of grants to 168 community organisations in the UK, with the focus on helping them meet the challenges posed by the pandemic. These organisations were nominated for grants by employees – and represent local community charities and social organisations which improve the lives of people around RSA’s main UK office locations.

Employees were asked to nominate causes which mean something to them, and explain what the organisation does, what size of grant would help and how it’d be used. In total, more than 240 small community charities and organisations were nominated for donations by workers at RSA. RSA’s charity committee reviewed all the applications and agreed on the value of the donation per charity, with the maximum value of £5,000.

The core part of the new programme was built around five themes: young people in education, food poverty, homelessness, the elderly, and mental health. The bulk of donations went to charities in these areas – with groups receiving grants of up to £5,000. All the organisations supported have a yearly income below £1 million.

The core themes represented donations worth £244,000. The breakdown of this is:

£61,500 towards Young people in education

£52,500 towards Mental health

£43,000 towards Food poverty and financial hardship

£27,500 towards Homelessness

£24,500 towards Domestic and sexual violence

£24,500 towards family essentials

£17,500 towards Elderly isolation

RSA also honoured the applications that did not fit the core themes with microgrants of £500 - totalling £39,500. Themes supported under the microgrants include Health and Medical support, Animal welfare, Maternity care, Community service, Art, culture and sports. On top of this, charities bringing awareness to road safety and charities supporting the armed forces, refugees, and tackling substance misuse have already or will receiving donations.

Commenting on the programme, RSA’s head of Corporate Responsibility Laura Spiers, said:

“This programme is a first for RSA, and the huge number of applications received from our employees on behalf of community groups and charities shows just how much need there is for extra support. We targeted our support at small, local charities who often rely on fundraising events which can’t take place at the moment – but whose services have seen surges in demand for their services during the last few months. We wanted to help provide extra resources for them to continue their much needed work helping families and individuals withstand and recover from the impacts of COVID-19.

“Due to the incredible response of our employees, we exceeded our original goal to distribute £250,000. We’re also looking at other ways we can offer our support, with RSA employees participating in fundraising and remote volunteering through several programmes.”

Regional breakdown across the UK

RSA has offices across the UK, so the nominations from employees and resulting grants reflect that geographic spread. The value of localized donations broadly reflect the proportion of people based in those offices, as follows:

Liverpool - £55,000

Horsham - £43,500

London - £28,500

Halifax - £26,500

Manchester - £26,000

Peterborough - £23,500

Chelmsford - £22,500

Sunderland - £22,000

Birmingham - £12,500

Home - £11,000

Channel Islands - £4,000

Isle of Man - £3,500

Bristol - £2,500

Glasgow - £2,500

Total £283,500.

Making payments – partnering with Neighbourly

Neighbourly, an existing charity partner of RSA, was chosen to distribute the grant payments to the winning charities. So far, over £250,000 worth of grant payments have been made with the final amounts expected to be paid out before the end of the year.

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