DD2198 Young London Inspired - Microgrants

Type of decision: 
Director's decision
Date signed: 
17 January 2018
Decision by: 
Jeff Jacobs, Head of Paid Service

Executive summary

The Mayor approved, under cover of MD2171, a GLA youth-focused, social action and volunteering       programme, offering young people volunteering opportunities in schools, their community and beyond. 
The programme has three strands, one element of which is a micro-grants programme. We now wish to appoint a delivery partner for the micro-grants programme, which will distribute the funding via a debit card system to eligible young individuals and provide support in the application for and delivery of micro-grants.

The micro-grants programme will be delivered in partnership with v•inspired (delivery partners) and Thrive LDN (co-funders via the GLA Health team). 


That the Executive Director, Communities and Intelligence approves: 

1.    expenditure of up to £75,000 over the next three years comprising: 

(a) £40,000 of micro-grants (of up to £400 each); and

(b) £35,000 for services (from v•inspired) required for the delivery of the micro-grants programme including pre and post grant support, project planning support, social action workshops, monitoring and evaluation guidance; and

2.    a related exemption from the requirement of the GLA’s Contracts and Funding Code to seek competitive tenders for the services set out at decision 1(b) above.             

Part 1: Non-confidential facts and advice

Introduction and background

1.1     Team London worked with Step up to Serve’s (SUTS) #iwill campaign, which is administered by the Big Lottery, on a solicited bid to bring in matched funding to create a new programme of youth focused social activity across London. This will take lessons learned from existing programmes, such as our Team London Young Ambassadors and small grants programmes, and bring them together with new ideas.  The receipt and expenditure of funding was approved by the Mayor (under cover of MD2171), along with the proposed programme plan.

1.2     The aim of the programme is to create a London-wide environment where all young people are supported and encouraged to take part in volunteering and social action and can do this through the different activity types and support provided by the programme structure. These consist of a school based social action programme (Team London Young Ambassadors), a small grants programme which will allow young people and organisations the chance to access or create a funded project to address mental health and other wellbeing outcomes, and the v•Rewards strand, which is looking at reward, recognition and how to change behaviour around volunteering and social action. 
Programme streams

1.3    As stated above the programme contains three complementary streams, the Team London Young Ambassadors programme (TLYA), the Team London/Thrive LDN Small Grants Fund and v rewards, a volunteer reward and recognition scheme. The streams create a pathway of involvement for young people, starting from the base of school and working through to the ability to participate in or self-organise a project and gain funding for it – while being rewarded and recognised throughout this journey.
1.4    Stream 2, the Team London / Thrive LDN Small Grants fund, is a fund totalling £600,000 that will support youth focused social action projects addressing mental health and other wellbeing outcomes. The fund is open to community groups, charities, schools and individuals. In addition to the health outcomes of young people taking part in social action, this grant will be for activities in line with the thematic areas identified in the #iwill health and social care action plan:   
•    Keeping healthy: health champions, peer educators and social prescribing
•    Having your say: co-producing services, youth forums and campaigning
•    Supporting your community: community activities, befriending and helping patients

1.5    The fund is divided into three funding pots:

•    A funding pot of £300k for multi-year projects each of up to £50k
•    A funding pot of £225k over three years consisting of annual small grants of £5-10k
•    A funding pot of £75k over three years to support up to 100 micro grants of up to £400 each 
•    In addition to the £600,000 grant fund, there will be a grants conference each year and a dedicated member of staff within Team London, match funded by #iwill to manage the grant portfolio and associated programme activity, meaning the total funding for this stream is £766,000

Stream 2 – Total funding £766k, of which





GLA approved

100k in MD2124



GLA approved


100k (GLA Health budget in line with planned provision) and

£28k Team London

100k (GLA Health budget in line with planned provision) and

£28k Team London







1.6     To facilitate the efficient delivery of the micro-grants programme it is proposed that the GLA enter into a contract for micro-grant distribution and support services with v•inspired.  Under that contract the GLA will pay a: fee of £35,000 for administration services; and a sum of £40,000 to be used solely for the award of funding to eligible micro-grant recipients over a three year period. The administration services will include the provision of pre application workshops, a supported application process, the award of micro-grants, mid-project review and end of project reflection and support. 

1.7    Successful applicants will be issued with a pre-paid debit card which will be credited with their grant award of up to £400.

1.8    Officers acknowledge that section 9 of the GLA’s Contracts and Funding Code requires, where the expected value of a contract for services is between £10,000 and £150,000, that the services required should be procured competitively. Section 10 provides however, that an exemption from this requirement may be approved where there is a complete absence of competition for the services in question.   

1.9    Here after an examination of microgrant schemes available to young individuals it is apparent that V•inspired are the only organisation to offer the cashpoint micro-grant model, specifically the combination of a pre pay debit card, mandatory peer recruitment and the wrap around administration support. 

1.10    From examination of the support services offered and the track record that v inspired have in obtaining increased participation from young people not previously involved in social action and volunteering (our target group) we are convinced that this contract provides value for money and will allow us to reach our target group effectively. This matches with the aims and objectives of the programme for both Team London and Thrive LDN.  The Director’s approval of an exemption from the requirement of section 10 of the GLA’s Contracts and Funding to seek competitive bids for the services required is sought accordingly.     

Objectives and expected outcomes

2.    Objectives and expected outcomes

2.1    As set out above, the Young London Inspired programme will have three streams of activity, the Team London Young Ambassador programme, the Small Grants Fund and the v•Rewards programme. The headline objectives of the programme are as follows: 
•    More young people from diverse backgrounds get involved in and lead volunteering and social action activity
•    Young people gain reward experiences related to their interests and ambitions, personal, volunteering or career based
•    Improvements in community health outcomes by increasing volunteering and social action focussed on wider determinants of mental health through grants activity
•    Better awareness and communication of the benefits of volunteering and social action amongst young people and between organisations
•    Improved access to volunteering and social action by building organisations’ capacity to create appropriate and appealing opportunities 
•    Build a cross sector network of collaborators from community, public, charity, cultural, academic organisations to share learning and embed new youth focused approaches

3    Programme delivery

3.1    The allocation of £40,000 for micro-grants over the three years of the programme will enable    approximately 100 young people who have never led on social action or volunteering activity before to create and carry out their own projects. 

3.2    The “cash-point” model is a tried and tested one, which v•inspired have delivered for other funders such as Comic Relief and Sport England. Young people are given a micro-grant but in addition they are given wrap around support to enable them to learn about how to apply for funding, how to structure project delivery and how to reflect on success.  A condition for them receiving the micro grant is also that they recruit at least two friends/peers to take part in the project with them. This model has resulted in young people getting involved who are from more diverse communities and who have not previously led social action projects – which matches exactly with the aims and objectives of our project. For this reason, the matched funder was keen for the GLA to take advantage of this model and deliver the micro-grants via v•inspired. 

Equality comments

4.1    As noted in section 1 above, the aim of the programme is to support and encourage all young people in London to take part in volunteering and social action. The programme will specifically target young people with protected characteristics including race and sexual orientation. A key goal of this programme is to advance equality of opportunity between persons who share a relevant protected characteristic and persons who do not share it. In particular it will target young Londoners from more diverse and deprived backgrounds who might experience significant barriers to participating in social action and volunteering, look at how to overcome these barriers and motivate and reward young people in ways that support them to grow.

4.2    Equal Opportunities are enshrined within Team London’s programmes. Team London volunteering programmes and projects aim to ensure that all Londoners can access volunteering opportunities. They seek to eliminate discrimination, harassment and victimisation, and indeed by doing so support other Londoners equally throughout the city. 

4.3    Our projects promote: equal life chances; the reduction of barriers to social mobility; and seek to enable and demonstrate improvements in social integration and effective community engagement. This programme will involve working with young people, under-represented and disconnected Londoners to connect them through volunteering, with education, training, the world of work and other opportunities to enhance their life chances and improve social mobility and social integration.

4.4    Our work also embraces London’s diversity by connecting Londoners from a variety of demographical and geographical backgrounds, including those with protected characteristics together in support of commons causes. 


Other considerations

Key risks and issues



Risk description

Mitigation/ risk response




Risk Rating


The programme does not deliver the required outcomes

This is a tried and tested approach with a robust logic model and is integrated into an overarching evaluation framework. We will track outputs and outcomes against the model and take mitigating action if it seems that sufficient progress is not being made.





The programme does not have sufficient young people applying

The organisations that we will fund for our medium and large grants pot will promote the micro-grant opportunity to their young participants. In addition we will be promoting via the Team London Young Ambassador schools where we have thousands of young people involved in social action.





The young people are unable to deliver their projects

The project support provided enables young people to develop a realistic project plan and delivery plan. In addition they are able to reflect partway through the project in a supported way which allows them to reshape their project if necessary.





The young people apply for funding which is then used in a fraudulent manner

The project support enables the delivery partner to have frequent touchpoints with the young person delivering, which mitigates against the risk of misuse of funds or non-delivery of the project. The delivery partner has substantial experience of successful delivery for other funders, with no fraud having taken place.






Links to Mayoral strategies and priorities

5.1    The Young London Inspired programme will contribute towards:

•    Working with communities and civil society groups across London to encourage active participation in community and civic life from young Londoners
•    The micro-grants will encourage more young Londoners to get involved in volunteering for, and connecting with, others in their community
•    The micro-grants will inspire young people to foster valuable life skills by becoming active citizens in their local area, and bringing communities together in a way that is now more important than ever

Impact Assessments and consultations

5.2    We consult relevant groups and stakeholders when undertaking any new programmes e.g. we        scoped out existing reward and recognition programmes working across London, explored the ideas in a roundtable with voluntary sector organisations and think-tanks and are using a test and learn approach to this work so that we can adapt and flex the work as we go.

5.3    There is an established Advisory Board for Team London to ensure we have the voice of all relevant parties shaping the future of the programme to ensure it is relevant, efficient and delivering the best volunteering related outcomes for Londoners. 

5.4    The #iwill and SUTS board will require monitoring and evaluation of impact and proactive working with the independent #iwill learning hub which is being established. There will be distinct programme strands to look at the individual outcomes and outputs and we are working with the Intelligence Team to establish an overall measurement framework for the programme. There will be a programme advisory board drawn from across the GLA and external organisations. 

Financial comments

6.1    Approval is being sought for expenditure up to £75,000 with costs incurred over 3 financial years in 2017-18 (£25k), 2018-19 (£25k), and 2019-20 (£25k) for the administration and distribution of micro-grants within the GLA’s Young London Inspired micro-grants programme. 

6.2    The expenditure will be funded from the Microgrants and support programme within the within the Team London and Sports unit.

6.3    In line with the GLA funding agreement toolkit it is recommended that all payments of the micro-grants are made in arrears, on achieving agreed project milestones and providing the receipt of evidence of expenditure (including receipts of pre-paid debit cards uploads). v•inspired must keep records of all expenditure with full supporting evidence such as invoices, receipts and any other relevant documentation for a period of at least 6 years after the date of the project and provide access at any time for inspection visits and scrutiny of records by the GLA or its agents.

Planned delivery approach and next steps




Enter into contract with v•inspired to deliver the micro-grants  

January 2018

Microgrants are promoted via networks and through large and medium grant organisations

January 2018

Delivery Start Date

January 2018

Delivery End Date

September 2020

Project Closure:

October 2020


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