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New crowdfunding initiatives and support for community pubs

Funding update.

Crowdfunding is a tried and tested way of raising money via the internet for a project or cause that requires financial support. Originally crowdfunding was a way that entrepreneurs could raise funding to get a new business venture off the ground, but as crowdfunding is becoming more popular, community and environmental groups are using it as a practical way of raising funds for social projects that benefit people and/or the local environment such as play areas and nature reserves.

As crowdfunding becomes more widely known bigger companies and financial institutions are now taking an interest and I highlight three new initiatives below, one from a supermarket giant and two from high street banks. If you are thinking of raising funds for a project via crowdfunding and one of the initiatives below meets your criteria then it is well worth considering putting your project through that crowdfunding platform, however, there is of course no certainty of receiving any funding from these companies so if you do apply and get support then treat it as a bonus.

My other funding news item this month is around support for communities wanting to take on running a local pub. Having recently moved to the Isle of Wight I have seen the sad closure of several village pubs. Pub closure has a real impact on the local communities, particularly if there is no other pub in the vicinity. So, this support offered by the Plunkett Foundation with funding from the Government and a new charity supporting community business is to be welcomed.

Tesco Backit

Small food and drinks businesses have the chance to show off their products and campaign for funding through Backit – a Tesco and Seedrs run crowdfunding platform.

Tesco will review the campaigns and will provide advice and mentoring from industry experts. There is a £2000 minimum target with no maximum. The costs to the business are 1.4% (=20p) payment processing from Stripe the payment provider.

The offer is open to all UK businesses and might be useful for small Isle of Wight businesses who are developing their local produce ideas. Details and further information can be found here.

Life skills on Spacehive

Barclays is using Spacehive and crowdfunding to encourage young people running crowdfunding campaigns that develop their skills. If you are 16 – 24, they could pledge up to half of your funding target up to a total of £500. The idea of the fund is to develop skills such as marketing, creating videos, pitching to businesses as well as improving your local area.

Crowdfunder

And mentioned in a previous blog, Santander through their Changemaker Fund is putting up to £200,000 to support social enterprises, community groups and small charities in the UK that help disadvantaged people in local communities.

More than a Pub

The Community Pub Business Support programme is a unique two-year programme established to help support community ownership of pubs in England. The programme has a value of 33.62 million and is jointly funded by Department of Communities Local Government and Power to Change.

The programme is being led by the Plunkett Foundation and is well worth investigating if your community has lost or about to lose your pub.

As always please let me know how you get on if you do apply for any of these funds.

Photo Credit: Pete’s November travels on the Isle of Wight.

© Pete Johnstone.

 

A Great Place

October has been spent meeting some interesting people – perhaps you may know some of them from my mosaic – and in visiting places around the island to get to know my new home.  I am learning a lot of what the Island has got to offer and what it has not.

Finding the funds to do valuable work is a common theme when talking to people be it on church or parish projects, landscape improvements or those working on regeneration projects such as the Pluto Project in Sandown, mentioned in my last blog.  It is good to know that crowdfunding is being talked about with enthusiasm and hopefully my crowdfunding video – tips for success will be of help to those who have yet to venture into this form of fundraising.

I was really chuffed that On the Wight chose one of my photos, Abstract Sands to be their photo of the week – particularly pleasing for me as most of my photography tends to be of people rather of landscapes.

The two best venues I have been to this month are the Piano Cafe in Freshwater which serves excellent coffee and the Neil Williams Gallery in Ventnor whose landscape photography is truly stunning. The Island is certainly a great place and I look forward to seeing more of it and meeting new people in the months to come.

Crowdfunding partnerships coming on stream (UK, in part)

As crowdfunding becomes more popular, the larger grant funding bodies and institutions are not only taking notice but are starting to allocate some money to projects albeit with  conditions, not least being they will only fund crowdfunding projects in certain chosen areas in the UK.

However, if you happen to live in one of the chosen areas then it could be good news as the funding is targeted at largely environmental, heritage,community and art based projects – areas of funding that is now hard to come by.

So thumbs up to the grant bodies who have allocated money to crowdfunding – next step perhaps is to allocate funds nationwide!

Esmée Fairbairn Foundation with crowdfunding platform Spacehive has launched a new funding pot of £200,000 to support crowdfunding projects in Hull, Manchester and the London Borough of Lewisham.

More details: EFF/Spacehive

Crowdfunder have managed to secure agreements with the Arts Council and the Heritage Lottery Fund for arts projects in England and heritage based projects in Scotland and NW and SW England.

More details: Crowdfunder

And finally Santander through their Changemaker Fund is putting up to £200,000 to support social enterprises, community groups and small charities in the UK that help disadvantaged people in local communities.

More details: Changemaker

Good luck and as always let me know how you get on with your crowdfunding project and your application to match funds from any of the partnerships above.

Crowdfunding Nature – evaluation video on recent work to test the effectiveness of crowdfunding for wildlife organisations in the East of England

Crowdfunding Nature – Project Update (June 2016)

Keep the Nightingales Singing!

Project update: As part of the Crowdfunding for Nature project, Natural England and local charity Nene Coppicing and Crafts raised £5200 from 90 backers from the UK crowdfunding platform Crowdfunder.
Crowdfunding Nature is an initiative run by the East of England Biodiversity Forum and managed by PJ.elements and CrowfundUK. The initiative is currently undergoing evaluation and a short video of the lessons learned to help other environmental organisations with crowdfunding campaigns will be out soon.

Crowdfunding Nature underway

The Crowdfunding Nature initiative is now well under way with Froglife successfully raising over £3500 for their nature reserve project in Peterborough.

Three other campaigns are currently live and it would be great if you could support them;

They include
The Greensand Trust’s Love a duck:http://www.crowdfunder.co.uk/love-a-duck/

The National Trusts Dormice project: http://www.crowdfunder.co.uk/giving-the-dormice-of-danbury-a-home/

And the Wildlife Trust BCN’s Great Fen Project: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/wildlifebcn/great-fen-great-fun

The East of England Biodiversity Forum with the support of Natural England is testing the effectiveness of crowdfunding to help raise the profile and funding for nature based activities in the East of England. The cost of maintaining and further improving sites of high nature conservation interest is significant.

These costs are further increased when public access, learning and education programmes are being encouraged on these sites. As funding from the more traditional sources is becoming more and more competitive crowdfunding is being looked at as a way of boosting funds for specific projects.

However, if the ‘crowd’ doesn’t pledge anything towards the projects then they won’t proceed. One project from Froglife has already been successful in raising £3500 for their nature reserve in Peterborough, 3 more projects have now gone live, some with only a couple of weeks left to raise the funds.

PS. All the video’s are worth watching – great fun was had by all!

Crowdfunding Nature: Love a Duck campaign!

Duck End is a much loved nature reserve on the edge of Maulden in Bedfordshire. It has ponds, marshy areas, pollards and a wildflower meadow and home for lots of wildlife. The reserve is also the last remnant of Maulden Moor, where peat was cut for fuel in the 18th century, so it has wildlife and some history but walking around the reserve, especially in winter, is getting increasingly difficult as it can be a very wet place.

The Greensand Trust who manage the reserve want to replace the old boardwalk with a new one and will be running a crowdfunding campaign, called Love a Duck!  to help raise funds for the new boardwalk.

Crowdfunding will be used to replace the old boardwalk

Crowdfunding will be used to replace the old boardwalk.

I met Jon Balaam from the Greensand Trust on the day of filming the crowdfunding video who explained that the volunteers have really enjoyed preparing for the video and the crowdfunding idea and that the Trust hopes to be launching the campaign next week.

The crowdfunding video

The crowdfunding video

The Greensand Trust is one of a number conservation organisations who are taking part in Crowdfunding Nature a pilot project run by the East of England Biodiversity Forum to test the potential for crowdfunding to raise funds and profile for nature based projects.

IMG_6292

Watch out for the Love a Duck crowdfunding campaign coming soon!

Photo: Pete Johnstone

 

 

Crowdfunding Nature with Froglife

Project Update. Froglife’s campaign is now live – please support it if you can: http://www.crowdfunder.co.uk/hoppy-families

 

At last the vision of Crowdfunding Nature is beginning to take shape. I spent a lovely morning with Cat Duerden from Froglife at their Boardwalks Local Nature Reserve in Peterborough as they filmed their pitch for their first venture into crowdfunding.

Cat explained: Froglife are planning to launch our exciting new crowdfunding campaign in early February to raise £3500 to create a ‘Hoppy Families’ Nature Trail. As part the campaign we want to encourage more people to visit the Boardwalks as although the reserve is free and easily accessible and close to the city centre, few people seem to know about this beautiful greenspace.

Getting the filming script right

Getting the filming script right.

Crowdfunding Nature is a pilot project being run by the East of England Biodiversity Forum with Natural England to test the effectiveness of crowdfunding to help raise the profile and funding for nature based activities in the East of England. Close behind Froglife are 6 other environmental groups working up their own crowdfunding project to be launched in the coming months.

The Crowdfunding Nature project initiated by PJ.elements with the help of CrowdfundUK is providing training and ongoing support for the environmental groups involved in the project.

IMG_6161

The Boardwalks Local Nature Reserve, Peterborough.

Crowdfunding has proved itself as an effective way of doing commerce in the business world yet I believe their are real opportunities for nature to benefit as well. We just need to get the right mix of people and projects together and inspire public to get involved. I am looking forward to the Froglife crowdfunding campaign coming out and seeing the video too – it is going to be fun!

I will be sure to blog the crowdfunding campaigns on this website and on Twitter as they go live – all help in promoting the campaigns once launched we be gratefully appreciated.

Pete Johnstone

PJ.elements

Photos: ©Pete Johnstone.

Main picture: Katie with video, Cat Duerden centre and Richard with Lionel the Frog.

Urban regeneration in New York

The High Line, New York

The High Line, New York showing viewing platform

I had a great opportunity to visit the High Line in New York recently to meet some staff and volunteers who gave an excellent tour of this city regeneration initiative.

Built in the late 1920s as a freight only line the ‘High Line’ in New York served many factories and warehouses and was raised above ground to reduce congestion, improve safety and increase efficiency.

By 1980 the last train ran along the tracks and for the next decade or so the High Line became derelict and a no go area. It was only with the threat of demolition in  the 1990s that local people and city organisations came together to work out a future for the line.

And what a great example of urban regeneration it has been! I was particularly impressed with how well it is managed with a combination of the Friends of the High Line volunteers and staff and the city parks dept among others. Plus how the old architecture fits in with the modern new build of offices and homes. Now a tourist attraction in its own right the next section to be opened, with views of the Hudson River, will have minimal management where visitors  will be able to walk along a path through self-sown vegetation to contrast that of the more managed southern section.

The High Line

The High Line’s unique planting set against new build.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The High Line is well worth a visit when next in New York and hopefully inspiration for UK projects in Liverpool and London who have used Spacehive to help crowdfund and promote their work

More High Line images can be viewed here.

Environmental crowdfunding in Scotland

Well done to the charity greenspace scotland for having the initiative and for being brave enough to trial out environmental crowdfunding as a way of funding improvements to local green space in Scotland. With funding and support from Nesta’s Rethinking Parks programme and the Heritage Lottery Fund they have created their own bespoke crowdfunding platform for Scottish parks and greenspace. 

 The eventual success of MyParkScotland will no doubt lie in the hands of local communities coming up with the projects and finding the funds to make them happen themselves. However, could the wider UK (and even further afield?) parks and greenspace community give them a helping hand and  support them on their way by making a small donation online?  If we as a community can prove that environmental crowdfunding can work then friends of parks groups and greenspace organisations across the UK and elsewhere will learn and may gain from this success.

 

Julie Procter, CEO of greenspace scotland explains the background:

 

“With funding pressures, finding new and innovative ways to make the financing and management of parks and greenspace sustainable is vital to ensuring their future.  We need to make sure we maintain and keep our parks in good heart today and for the benefit of generations to come. MyParkScotland is our response to this challenge.

MyParkScotland provides a new way to raise funds for projects in parks today and to develop endowment funds to safeguard these national treasures for future generations.

Park users often told us they would like to be able to support their local park but there wasn’t an easy way to do this. That’s why we developed MyParkScotland as a safe and easy way for people to donate to support park improvement projects developed by Friends of Parks and other local groups.

What makes MyParkScotland different to many traditional crowdfunding platforms is that, as an independent Scottish charity, we are able to reclaim Gift Aid on most donations. This ‘extra funding’ is being used to build sustainability and endowment funds for Scotland’s parks. If there isn’t a current project in their favourite park, park lovers are also able to make donations through the website to a specific park or city park endowment fund.

MyPark Scotland FULL COLOUR low res

 

We’re pioneering the development of MyParkScotland in Edinburgh and Glasgow, with the intention to extend across Scotland. We hope that MyParkScotland will make an important contribution to the future sustainability of our parks and will encourage people to think about using crowdfunding as part of the project funding mix.

We would be delighted if supporters of environmental crowdfunding would take a look at the MyParkScotland website – we’d love to hear your feedback – and you might like to make a small pledge to support one of the projects!”

 

MyParkScotland is the only Scottish project within Nesta’s Rethinking Parks programme and is funded by Nesta and the Heritage Lottery Fund. Rethinking Parks aims to support organisations to develop new approaches to sustaining and making the most of the UK’s parks.

 

Pete Johnstone is an advocate of environmental crowdfunding and his case study on the subject can be seen here

Images:  © greenspace scotland