It’s that time of year again when I have to prepare the financial accounts of Cohort 4 to go to our Accountant. As well as counting actual £’s of income from funding and as a result our social enterprise trading function, I also count the number volunteer hours connected to our operations. Volunteers – the most valuable resource we as a successful, grassroots, womens, community organisation have.
I reflect on a meeting I attended this week to discuss funding and the need for community services for women who experience mental ill health and peer support work. The funders’ aim is primarily to fund women’s grass roots services who could authentically offer peer support for women in their community with mental health issues.This funding and its purpose had Cohort 4’s name written right through every presentation slide, every aim and objective. However, then the crunch slide arrived. Effectively meaning that this opportunity slips straight through our grasp.
We are primarily a volunteer run peer support organisation, this means that our annual income of volunteer hours is not counted by some funders as being relevant, they only count annual income in terms of £’s. Given this particular funding stream allows for applications of not more than 25% of the previous year’s financial income, this precludes Cohort 4 from making a meaningful application for funds, and which would be used to match the priorities of the funder to perfection. Yet, we are exactly the type of organisation that the funders are looking to deliver their peer support service. Curious.
642 Hours. A conservative count of the volunteer hours individuals provide for Cohort 4 to operate successfully and safely. We celebrate this, the community coming together to offer peer support for women with multiple and complex needs. Recognition and thanks to all of us who offer their time and enthusiasm to our community of women in North Warwickshire.