The Bridge Programme, a Funder Plus offer
Free organisational support included with your funding agreement
City Bridge Trust works with a network of partners who can provide free, additional support for your organisation. This is called the Bridge Programme.
The support can take many forms and depends on what your organisation needs. For instance, the programme can support organisational development or governance, fundraising or business planning.
The programme follows a Funder Plus approach. This connects grant-funded organisations with a range of free, non-financial support to help address a specific issue, whilst enhancing the organisation’s capacity, resilience and longer-term sustainability.
The programme can include, for example, access to training courses, attendance at conferences, group or peer-to-peer learning. Lots of other support options are available. All of this is offered at no cost to your organisation.
The Bridge Programme is only available to organisations which have received funding from City Bridge Trust, the London Community Response Fund or the City of London Corporation’s Central Grants Programme.
What can the Bridge Programme offer
The Bridge Programme offers different types and levels of support which are tailored to meet your organisation’s circumstances and needs. These are determined on a case-by-case basis, but can include the following:
A detailed diagnostic of your organisation’s requirements which will determine your customised support plan.
Group learning sessions delivered on specific issues and themes in response to requests from Bridge Programme applicants. These include facilitated peer networks, action learning sets and expert-led webinars for similarly placed organisations. We have a dozen workshops lined up for early 2022, details will follow shortly.
Signposting and referrals. The Bridge Programme partnership offers unrivalled access to a wide range of organisational development and support services targeted at London’s civil society organisations.
Bespoke one-to-one support in a few special cases. The programme may offer one-to-one, or one-to many, consultancy support on an agreed issue or clearly defined task.
See our Bridge Programme flyer for examples of how the programme has been helping funded organisations.
What makes for a successful application?
Make sure you have time to discuss your needs with one of the Bridge Programme team and engage fully in the proposed support.
Be open to sharing information: The Bridge Programme team may need additional information to make sure they fully understand the position of your organisation.
Include your colleagues: Where appropriate, try to include other staff, volunteers, users and/or trustees.
How to apply to the Bridge Programme
Apply on Google Forms. It takes less than 10 minutes to complete an online form and checklist. You will be asked to provide a short summary of the work your organisation does and a rough outline of what you would like support with.
- If you are eligible, your application will be assigned to a member of the Bridge Programme team to assess what support you require.
- The Bridge Programme team will recommend appropriate support based on a diagnosis of your needs and subsequent discussion.
- Commit to the Bridge Programme’s support. You will need to set aside the required time to take advantage of the support offered.
Support the Bridge Programme as a service provider
Through our Bridging Divides strategy, City Bridge Trust’s vision is for London to be a city where everyone can thrive, especially those experiencing disadvantage and marginalisation.
Our mission is to reduce inequality and foster stronger communities by using all of our assets and resources (financial and non-financial) for a London that serves everyone.
Invitation to Providers
Do you provide services to build organisational strength and resilience? Are you interested in transforming how civil society finds and receives support to make it more relevant and useful?
Then you are invited to help us in the delivery of The Bridge Programme!
It is based on several principles:
- being diagnostic based, with both self-assessment and triage, as well as independence designed into the ecology of support provided;
- that there is an accessible point of entry for organisations into the ecology of support that provides for ‘informed choice’ and ease of navigation around the range of excellent support that exists to support civil society in London;
- that the ecology of support available is demand led rather than supply led and recognises the power of peer to peer support for problem solving and sourcing solutions;
- that the ecology of support is ‘network’ driven to provide opportunities for collective reflection, learning and problem solving;
- that is collaborative, both with other funders and resource investors in London’s civil society, and with existing and future delivery partner organisations.
How will it work?
Through the Bridge Programme, organisations funded by City Bridge Trust, the London Community Response Fund or the City of London Corporation’s Central Grants Programme will be offered support to address a wide range of organisation development opportunities. To receive support, they will:
- Register their interest on a programme portal and provide initial information
- Be assigned to a ‘Connector’ who will take them through a diagnostic, to determine what support is appropriate
- Be connected to a support provider from the ‘provider pool’
Rocket Science is the Bridge Programme’s co-ordinator and manages the portal and programme overall.
Where do I come in?
We work with a pool of providers who between them can cover the areas we have identified as associated with running a charitable organisation:
- Governance – to include a focus on Mission, Purpose & Values plus support around organisational culture & leadership;
- Planning – to include areas such as working in a complex environment;
- Leadership and management – to include a focus on Mission, Purpose & Values plus (possibly) support around organisational culture & leadership;
- User-centred service – how do you enable co-production to be at the heart of your activity;
- Managing people – to include a focus on Mission, Purpose & Values plus (possibly) support around organisational culture & leadership;
- Learning and development – to include systems thinking;
- Managing money – the emphasis here should be on organisational sustainability and medium to long term financial planning;
- Managing resources – the emphasis here should be on organisational sustainability and medium to long term planning;
- Managing property – to include accessibility, health and safety, and environmental considerations, as well as repairs and maintenance;
- Digital products – to include their role in the design of user-centred services;
- External communications – to include speaking truth to power and co-production;
- Working with others – to include a focus on Mission, Purpose & Values and to ask the big question around the fulfilment of charitable purpose – “does my organisation need to exist?”
- Assessing outcomes and impact – to include active consideration of ‘your place’ in the [appropriate] ecology and system and a focus on ‘collective impact’.
However, we do not see this list as exhaustive and there are other interventions that can play a valuable role in strengthening an organisation. These could include:
- Backfilling capacity in an organisation to enable key staff to attend conferences, networking events, training or action learning sets, for example.
- One-to-one mentoring.
- Resource to enable peer to peer support/shared learning amongst organisations.
- Facilitated coffee trials to spark ideas.
We are open, therefore, to other ideas for our Funder Plus offer. This is an exciting opportunity to help us shape how we give additional support to our funded organisations, to help us test what good ‘diagnostics’, ‘connecting’ and ‘support’ look like and to share our learning as the programme develops.
Register as a provider of support
If you would like to register with the Bridge Programme as a support provider, please register here.
Want to know more?
Please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org