Beyond beneficiaries: resourcing user-led groups

29th November, 12.00-13.00 (registration now closed)

Watch the recording:

Click here to read the transcript.

If you’ve ever filled out a funding application, it’s likely that at some point you’ve had to answer a question like, ‘How many beneficiaries will benefit from your proposed activities?’

This jargon-heavy question assumes the person filling out the form has never been a ‘beneficiary’, a service user, or a person experiencing distress. It weights the application in favour of projects which get a lot of people through the door, and can erase the complexity and value of smaller projects. It sets up people experiencing mental ill-health or distress not as group members, friends or colleagues but as passive receivers of help.

In this panel, we’ll unpack these issues and more. Building on NSUN’s research ‘What do user led groups need?’ and the work of the Community Constellations programme and Side By Side Grant Fund, we’ll explore how user-led mental health work sits in relation to the current funding ecosystem, and what needs to change in order for this kind of work to thrive.

We’ll be asking:

  1. What assumptions do funders make about communities of people who have experienced distress, mental illness and trauma? How do those assumptions shape funding decisions and the sustainability of groups?
  2. In addition to trusts and grantmaking foundations, what other sources of funding and support are available to user-led organisations? How have people mobilized crowd-funding, commercial trading and existing resources to get stuff done?
  3. How can funders more proactively fund user-led work?

Chair: Ruairi White (NSUN)
Panellists: Emma Ormerod (Underground Lights), aaks (Misery), Leah Chikamba (Angels of Hope), further panellists tbc

Emma Ormerod (she/her)

Emma is the co-founder and Artistic Director/CEO of Underground Lights, a theatre company based in Coventry led by and for people with experience of mental health issues and/or homelessness. Emma has worked as a researcher for NSUN (2012 – 2017) and more recently as an NSUN Associate. She has also supported the delivery of NSUN’s Covid-19 Grant Fund (2020) and the Side By Side fund earlier this year.

Twitter: @ULtheatre

aaks (they/them)

aaks is a student, educator and cultural producer.

They are a co-creator of MISERY a creative mental health community and sober party for queer, trans, intersex, Black, Indigenous, People of Colour focused on joy, harm reduction, healing justice, and cultivating community care.

Much of their work focuses on collaborating with QTIBIPOC artists and collectives to redistribute resources and build resilience in the community.

As a capricorn they are often dreaming about a world where we do things differently and plotting safe and sustainable ways to make it happen.

They started their career as an LGBTQ youth worker, but over the last few years, their work has been focused on working with funders and policymakers to redistribute wealth and resources to sustain grassroots queer, disabled-led and BIPOC collectives.

Trying to understand how to “hack the system” led them to their current day job as the Relationship Manager for Diversity in London at Arts Council England.

Leah Chikamba (she/her)

My name is Leah Chikamba, I was born in Zambia and relocated to England in 2003. Since then, I have worked with children and families in Manchester.

In my current role I manage children centres in Manchester in my day-to-day job. My passion is to see women empowered to reach their potential and hence the reason I came up with my organisation in 2014. I worked with fellow women from the BAME community to register my charity Angels of Hope for Women and we have together supported a lot of women and empowered them to make informed decisions.

Twitter: @angelsofhopefo1

  • This session will have British Sign Language interpretation and closed captions. There will not be any presentations/slides used.
  • There are 100 spaces for this Zoom meeting, so please do cancel (using the link on the email sent to you after signing up) if you can no longer make the session. If the session is full, please email to be added to a waiting list (with the name of the session in the subject).
  • This event will also be livestreamed at the following link with no registration required. Click here to watch the livestream.