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The 160 winning organisations in a great cash giveaway last year are encouraging more community groups in Croydon to apply for funding and support in 2014.

Grassroots Giving was launched last year by one of the country's oldest mutuals, Skipton Building Society, to celebrate its 160th anniversary.

But organisers are keen to point out that this was not just a one-off – and there are dozens more cash donations of £500 to be handed out in 2014.

Beth Pitchley, Branch Manager at Skipton's Croydon branch said: "We had an unbelievable number of applications for Grassroots Giving in 2013. We were overwhelmed by the number of community groups and projects which put themselves forward – in fact, more than 1,000 organisations applied.

"Even more surprising was the number of votes cast for our shortlisted groups. Almost 20,000 people took the time to go online to support their favourite group. What a superb effort by these community-minded supporters!"

"Now it's time to tell the UK that Grassroots Giving is ready to launch for 2014, and this time we're going one better with 161 cash donations of £500 going to organisations around the country when judging and voting is finally complete in November."

The 160 winning applicants in 2013 were keen to tell us how the money will make a huge difference to them and will help fulfil projects and ensure they can engage with more and more people in the future.

These are just a few of the comments we received from them:

Integrating Communities Active Network: "As a direct result of GRG, ICAN will be able to deliver more facilities to deaf and deprived children in the local community. We work towards making a difference in people's lives, with the help of Skipton Building Society we can continue to do this."

Aysgarth Station Group: "It offers our small group the opportunity to move forward with our plans to provide the opportunity for everyone to enjoy the experience while learning about the story of this wonderful Victorian station and how the railway influenced people's lives and shaped history in the Dales."

Transition in Kings: "When you are a very small start up organisation with few completed projects to inspire confidence in your ability to make a difference, it is crucial to team morale and survival to have access to seed funding schemes that are easy and straightforward to apply for."

The Society has this year teamed up with Project Dirt, a social network set up specifically to help community and voluntary groups from around the UK get better connected with one-another and their own communities. The Grassroots Giving 'cluster' on Project Dirt is accessible from the website (skiptongrg.co.uk). It will act as a 'hub' for all Grassroots Giving followers connecting  Grassroots Giving winners and past/future applicants from around the country, allowing them to promote their events, knowledge share, recruit and manage volunteers, share best practice and gain access to more funding and learning resources. 

Being part of the Grassroots Giving Project Dirt community will allow Skipton's groups to engage with a wider network of people local to them and better raise awareness of all the great work they do in their local area. 

Another highlight of Skipton's new community programme is the creation of a set of comprehensive free resources, to be available to all community groups. These resources offer help and guide grassroots organisations through challenges such as raising funding, recruiting volunteers, and project planning - advance registrations for these free resources show a huge amount of interest already.

David Cutter, Skipton's Group Chief Executive said: "We are, once again, delighted to offer our Grassroots Giving programme for organisations throughout the UK. It is a marvellous opportunity for groups which offer lots to their local communities but receive little financial help to be able to apply for funding.

"We continue to recognise that our founding values of 'by hard work and hope' have served us well and we know that many of our members continue to give something back to their communities through these type of organisations where people come together for the good of the cause.

"We believe that Grassroots Giving will continue to help us to discover and champion some real gems in communities across the country, and we're as passionate as ever about helping these organisations grow.

"In 2014 we will be helping 161 community groups with our donations and we're looking forward to seeing how this will help to improve the work of these wonderful organisations."

During the online application process, applicants are simply asked to demonstrate how the £500 would make a difference to them, as the Society is keen to donate towards helping develop sustainable projects.

When the closing date of 31 July 2014 arrives, a shortlist of entries will be drawn up and placed into regional groups. Each shortlisted application will be summarised and posted on the Grassroots Giving website in August - then it's over to the local communities across the UK to vote for who they'd like to see receive the 161 pots of support.

For more info on the criteria and how to apply visit www.skiptongrg.co.uk or follow @SkiptonBS_GrG on twitter


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