Don’t bite the hand that feeds you: it’s a well known phrase and few could argue that disagreeing with those that support you is ill-advised if you want that support to continue. It’s a power game all too familiar in the non-profit sector – those with their hands on the purse strings get to dictate what happens with their money; bite ‘em and you won’t see ‘em for dust.
A recent report from NCIA shows clearly the power government funding has over charities, creating a “climate of fear and muzzling of freedom of expression” as charities are told to keep quiet or lose contracts. Corporate funding has a similar affect. Some charities will tell you that their government and corporate donors do not influence what they do. They may also claim that being a registered charity does not restrict them from bringing about radical social change. This may be true in some cases, however it depends on the degree of change they’re seeking.
If you believe that engaging with the current system, talking to politicians and influencing policy is enough to create the world you’d like to live in, then go ahead, register as a charity, maybe even get some government funding. You won’t find too many obstacles in your way. But if you hope for something more – a world free of all poverty, inequality, injustice and environmental destruction, then a more fundamental change is needed, and that’s where the power holders start to feel a bit hot under the collar.
With massive increases in poverty, homelessness and inequality, it is understandable that people would choose to use what spare resources they have to provide for people’s basic needs. Of course we cannot leave people hungry on the street. But we also have to think ahead. We can go out and give a meal to someone who needs it, but the next day there they are again, dependent on someone else’s aid. In other words traditional charity can deal with the consequences of injustice, but it doesn’t get to the root of it.
Government funding is never free of control. The minute you present a real challenge to the agenda that continues to give more wealth and power to the rich and powerful, support will be withdrawn. The same could be said of protesting. It’s OK to protest in this country as long as you won’t win. As soon as you’re in with any chance of winning, the state will come down on you hard.
The very fear of this is what keeps groups that might otherwise dare to stand up to power playing by the rules. The same applies to registered charities: the Charity Commission will attempt to withdraw your status if you get too political. You have to play nice. This is one of the factors that has led to the ‘professionalisation’ of activism, where salaries from big brand charities and other organisations dilute people’s politics and often distance them from the grassroots.
But what has years of playing by the rules achieved? Attempting to reform an inherently unjust system has had very little positive impact on people who were already struggling on low incomes and are now increasingly faced with benefits cuts and reliant on food banks. It’s also breathtakingly obvious that whoever gets into power after May won’t be offering much better.
In 2014 there were many grassroots campaign successes, proving that change from the bottom up works. From the Focus E15 Mothers and the New Era Estate residents, who successfully challenged our corrupt housing system by highlighting current threats to social housing. To the many who stood up and fought for a living wage in their workplaces, including the cinema workers of Brixton’s Ritzy Cinema.
2014 was a year to be remembered, but this year we can do better! Let’s make 2015 the year of grassroots action and people determining their own futures. If you want to have a real impact with your donation, support groups that are free enough, bold enough and optimistic enough to think big.
Even if just 0.1% of the £64 billion that goes to registered charities every year went to small independent groups challenging the status quo and demanding radical social change, we’d stand a much better chance of creating a just and equal world that works for us all.
Get behind the grassroots – join us at our fundraiser Saturday night!
Come to our fundraiser 31 January!
Join grassroots activists, poets and musicians to celebrate the power of the grassroots!
Including Jeremy Corbyn MP, Andy Greene (Disabled People Against Cuts), Shareefa Energy, Hilary Wainwright (Red Pepper), Pete the Temp, Nina Power (Defend the Right to Protest), I Sis, Anthony Anaxagorou, Spliff Richard, Focus E15 Mothers, Ritzy Living Wage campaign, Siana Bangura, Jembe Explosion and Crazy Divine.
Register using the link below:
(click CC to watch film with subtitles) .
Every year over sixty-four billion pounds is given to registered charities in the UK. The charity sector has become big business, and incredibly there are now over 1,000 charities with an annual income of over £10 million a year. And as competition for money gets tougher, the larger groups continue to take a larger piece of the pie.
Smaller groups struggle to get heard over the big brand charity names, but there’s good reason why they’re worth backing.
The government lures groups to register as charities with tempting benefits such as claiming tax back on donations. But once you’ve become a registered charity you’re restricted by Charity Commission rules, which are being tightened all the time to prevent groups seeking real change. Most larger charities take government and corporate money making them puppets of the very systems that create inequality and injustice. Since often they are carrying out government contracts they literally become an arm of the state, limiting them to work that only provides short-term solutions.
Small grassroots groups, those run by volunteers in their own time, and often with their own money, are closer to what’s going on on the ground. Many of these groups spring up to challenge an injustice their community is facing and are determined to bring about long-term systemic change for themselves and others. They know what their community needs much better than some of the larger charities who claim to work on their behalf, and their independence means they are free to challenge power and tell it like it is.
If just 1% of the £64 billion that goes to registered charities every year went to small independent groups challenging the status quo and demanding radical social change, we’d stand a much better chance of creating a just and equal world that works for us all. In fact, just 0.1% of Save the Children’s £342.6 million annual budget would be revolutionary in the right hands.
For your New Year’s resolution, will you pledge to back radical grassroots groups?
- Donate to a group near you, or if you’re not sure who to support, give a monthly donation to Edge Fund. If you give to a large charity, would you consider moving some of that donation to support grassroots groups working for a world where charity is no longer needed?
- If you’re a charity or other organisation with a large income, meetings rooms, printers and other resources, could you share them with smaller groups?
The average annual income of groups that apply to Edge Fund is £2,500. Small amounts of money go a long way. Make your donation count, move it to the grassroots. Give £10 per month, or choose another amount.
COME TO OUR FUNDRAISER! Saturday 31 January, London. Register here.
On Saturday 6 December Edge Fund members and applicants got together to decide on the allocation of funds between the final 14 applicants of Round 4. Around 60 people took part in the process, which includes short presentations, opportunities to have discussions with the applicants and then members and applicants voting (with chickpeas) to determine how much each applicant receives. As usual, migrant groups did well in this round, and also there were a number of groups working on issues of racism in the criminal justice system, such as deaths at the hands of the police. Grants agreed at the meeting were:
- African Rainbow Family (£5,000)
- London Black Revolutionaries (£3,000)
- Manchester Migrant Solidarity (£3,000)
- Sex Worker Open University (£3,000)
- United Families and Friends Campaign (£3,000)
- Unity Centre Glasgow (3,000)
- Abortion Rights Campaign (£1,500)
- Coal Action Network (£1,500)
- Foil Vedanta (£1,500)
- Framework Inclusion UK (disability rights) (£1,500)
- Generation Revolution (film about young Black activists) (£1,500)
- Justice for Mark Duggan (£1,500)
- London Campaign Against Police and State Violence (£1,500)
- Sisters of Frida (£1,500)
Prior to the meeting, smaller grants were also given to:
- Cardiff Homeless Action (£1,000)
- Travellers and Roma Against Prejudice (£1,000)
- JENGbA (Joint Enterprise Not Guilty by Association) (£1,000)
- Phillippa Willitts (sexual violence/ victim-blaming) (£1,000)
- Stop and Search Legal Project (£1,000)
- Homeless Tours United (£1,000)
- Re(al)-Productive Health (£800)
- Justice4Paps (£750)
- Shafted?! (£750)
- Anti-Deportation Ireland (£750)
- Asylum Seeker Housing Project (£750)
- REAL Network (£750)
- United Europe Roma (£750)
- Hampshire’s Romanys (£750)
- Frack Free Five Valleys (£750)
- Community Food Growers Network (£500)
- Feeding Manchester (£500)
- Food Not Bombs London (£500)
- Anti Racism Network Ireland (£500)
- ACORN Bristol (£500)
The average annual income of these groups is £2,555, with just two that received over £10,000 last year. Thanks to the crowdfund, we were able to give away more than our usual £40,000 this round. We also all made a collective decision to give the full £5,000 to African Rainbow Family because they received such overwhelming support from everyone at the meeting. Total funds distributed this round was £47,300. A more detailed account of the day to come!
At the moment we don’t have enough funds to announce another funding round, if you can, please donate and help us spread the word so we can continue supporting grassroots action for radical social change. If you’d like to support any of the groups directly, please get in touch.
Today is GivingTuesday; ‘a global day of giving’. The campaign has been launched in the UK by the Charities Aid Foundation. Before you decide who to support, spare a thought for those groups that often get forgotten on days like this.
We won’t fix the world’s problems just by giving more to traditional charity work; we must also change the structures and systems that create those problems. Yet, it’s likely the big corporate and government backed charities, who have their hands tied when it comes to pushing for real change, will benefit the most today.
Please support grassroots, community-led groups and those with the courage to demand real change. For some ideas on grassroots social change groups, take a look at our previously funded groups.
You can search the charity register on the Charity Commission website for information on charities’ income and sources of funding.
While our members are at the final stages of drawing up a short-list from the 335 applications we received in this round, we wanted to update everyone on some important organisational decisions that have recently been made.
Earlier this year we held three review meetings in London, Manchester and Leicester in order to try to include people from all across the country and to break out of the London ghettoisation. The meetings were incredibly valuable and many diverse voices gave their opinions on some key decisions we needed to make as a group moving forward.
We are a democratic and non-hierachichal organisation so we wanted to hear from as many of our members as we could about how they felt Edge is doing. Even though it was tempting to charge on forward with the next funding round we felt as a group that it was important to allow enough time for reflection so that we can continue to grow and assist amazing grassroots action groups across Ireland, Scotland, Wales and England.
Below is a summary of some of the more crucial decisions that were made and the reason for them.
As an organisation that is member-run, we need to be careful about who joins Edge Fund. As much as we want to be inclusive, there is a danger our values and aims could change over time if we don’t apply some criteria to who can join, especially as many of our views are not mainstream. We wanted to keep the membership application questions very simple, so these were only changed slightly, but we added a statement to the Become a Member page of the website pointing out that we support groups that ‘have radical views such as being against prisons, national borders, the police or military. Some may be openly anarchist or anti-capitalist’. The aim of this statement was to make our values clearer, to attract people with similar aims.
Getting to know members
With 125 members it can be hard to keep track of everyone, but we felt it was important to ask members to complete a survey asking them about their background and identity, what requirements they have for taking part and what they would like to do as an Edge Fund member. This would help us ensure members get what they want out of being a member, and importantly, allow us to be more aware of gaps in representation in the membership so this can be addressed. More about our members.
In an ideal world, Edge would not need to reimburse anyone for assisting Edge on big projects, because there would be no barriers to access by everyone working for free. In a slightly less ideal world, Edge would be able to pay everyone for the work they did for Edge, because we’d be swimming in money. Sadly, we live in neither of those worlds.
Therefore it was agreed that Edge will decide on a case-by-case basis to pay for work that would take substantially more time than is normally expected of members. (Members are not paid for assessing applications). Payment will only be on specific time-limited projects – e.g. organising a big Edge meeting – and will be paid at a fair wage (at the time of writing, £11/hour was paid to previous paid Edge workers).
The main reason for deciding to pay members was to decentralise the work by sharing it out amongst the membership, but with a particular emphasis on diversifying the voice of Edge by prioritising those who are often under-represented and may face particular barriers to taking part.
Scrutiny will rest in the hands of the Facilitating Group who will co-ordinate the work and ensure that the right person/people carry out the work that is needed to be done.
Criteria on faith-based groups
We amended our funding criteria to include the following:
Individuals and groups who have a religious purpose are welcome to apply but we don’t provide financial support for any activity, initiative or project where the primary aim is to promote religion.
Forum for Radical Sharing
We agreed to pilot a new initiative that we’re calling “Forum for Radical Sharing”. These will be set up over the next year for groups (including those we’ve funded) to share what they’ve learned, explore collaborations, share skills etc. The first Forum for Radical Sharing is set for Manchester in November. More info.
New Reporting Requirements
Reporting back won’t be mandatory, but we will request that grantees provide a report and suggest the following formats (questions will also be offered as a guide):
5 -10 minute video
Half a page to a page written report
5 -10 minute presentation at the Forum for Radical Sharing
5 – 10 minute audio podcast (which could involve a member asking the questions over the phone or during a visit/ meeting and recording it)
Changes to funding application questions
It was felt by some members that our previous application questions weren’t bringing out applicant’s values and it was hard to get an understanding of how they see the world and how they aim to tackle the root causes of injustice and inequality. To address this we have reworked the application questions slightly. Question 4 now reads as:
What in your view is the root cause (or causes) of the issues you’re working on and how do you address it?
The reason we ask this is because Edge Fund does not want to fund groups that are only addressing the symptoms of a problem/issue. For example, a disability organisation that only provides support to disabled people or a homeless organisation that only provides support to homeless people.
Edge Fund seeks to fund those groups who are addressing the root causes of issues. For example, a disability organisation taking direct action against government cuts affecting disabled people or a housing organisation that is campaigning for a more socially just housing system.
Changes to process of assessing applications
This was a small change in policy. Previously the 15 applications with the highest average score from members were asked to send in additional information about their projects so that members had more information to help decide who gets how much money. However, at the final funding day each of the 15 groups receive a minimum of £1,500, therefore we decided that if the group had requested £1,500 or under they would not need to submit additional information.
Some other things we talked about were; how we can work with other funders to support and encourage democratic processes and grassroots funding, how much we should have in the bank before announcing a funding round, fundraising and communications, how we can work effectively across regions, supporting applicants, building members skills (facilitation, how change happens, power and privilege), reviewing the co-ordinator role and supporting new members.
If you’re reading this paragraph that means you have made it to the end of this blog post. Thank you! This blog was written just to provide a basic update on the most key aspects that came out of the 3 review sessions. If you would like to find out more then the full minutes of each of the 3 meetings can be found on our website here: http://edgefund.org.uk/get-involved/meetings/
Edge Fund supports groups creating social change, those that face many barriers to raising funds such as being very small with no or few paid staff, being led by communities that might not speak English as a first language, or being seen as too radical in their approach. We receive many more applications than we can support and need to raise more funds. Here are some statements from applicants in this funding round (whose applications are currently being assessed) about their work and the challenges they face getting the support they need. Please help if you can.
PLEASE SUPPORT OUR CROWDFUND AND HELP US SUPPORT GROUPS LIKE THESE
- OR CONTACT THEM TO SUPPORT THEM DIRECTLY
“The scale of what we are trying to fight for is so overwhelmingly massive, especially in a world where billions goes to funding consumerism and wars and local funding is being cut. Edge Fund provides an utterly unique opportunity for groups that are doing such incredible work and may never otherwise get funding, to have a chance of achieving their goals”.
Rose, Heathrow Arts Project
“AfricanRainbowFamily is a newly set up group led by and for LGBT Asylum Seekers of African heritage in the UK campaigning against injustices and mistreatments of LGBT asylum seekers by the UK immigration system. We are unable to access fund with the mainstream funders due to our political stand, hence unable to fund our group work. With Edge fund, we are positive of getting funded. Help us hit the £20,000 mark for grassroot groups like us to make a difference in the lives of vulnerable people and the voiceless”.
Jane, African Rainbow Family
“Working against something as contentious and important as immigration detention, we find it really hard to get funding. Many groups who engage with detention just want it to change for the better – we want it to end full stop, and as a result find it really difficult to find people to support us financially. Until the revolution, we need funds to support the fight!”
Billy, SOAS Detainee Support Group
“Trans-led organisations find it very hard to get funding because most of the funds available go to more privileged groups within the LGBT community. And when you adopt radical aims such as calling for a democratic trans healthcare system and take a stand against cuts and privatisation, getting funding is nigh on impossible”
“For most funding bodies, giving money to trans and gender variant people working for radical social change just isn’t an option. This means that in order to continue our work fighting for trans healthcare, we often have to fundraise within our own community, a community whose level of unemployment due to transphobic discrimination is off the scale”.
Jess and Tommy, Action for Trans Health
“Our public speech and therefore our politics are tightly controlled by narrow interests. New Left Project seeks, in this context, to provide an open space for people desiring transformative political and social change to think, debate, develop and learn. Unlike mainstream media we are unburdened by commercial pressures, freeing us to pursue those issues we judge to be important and useful to those seeking social change. But running an alternative media organisation without resources is extremely difficult. We have managed for several years without income as a collective of volunteers working in our spare time. But this is not sustainable, and does not permit us to pursue even half the ideas we have for articles, series, events and other contributions to public knowledge and exchange. The media mainstream depends financially upon big corporations, and this is reflected in its coverage. A media that works for the public must, by contrast, be financially supported by the public; fortunately, with non-profit organisations like ours, even a little help goes a long way”.
Jamie, New Left Project
“JENGbA (Joint Enterprise: Not Guilty by Association) is a grassroots campaign which we run from a desk in a shared office and our kitchen tables. We are campaigning on behalf of prisoners who have been convicted under “Joint Enterprise” – which is not a law, it is a 300 year old doctrine being used to convict people who were somehow connected to the perpetrator – some of these prisoners are children as young as 13 who had no previous convictions but were out with friends when a crime took place. Our prisons are overcrowded and we believe Joint Enterprise is a contributing factor – as we are trying to change the law we are also very political. We are not a charity and finding funds to carry on our fight is so hard, even when people believe in us. We are all volunteers and often pay our own travel costs to attend important meetings (often in volunteers’ homes as we can’t afford to pay for venues) or just to meet families who need advice, whose loved ones have been imprisoned for a crime they have not committed”.
“My name is Kwesi Shaddai, and I’m a black working class activist and community organiser. I’ve been working to bring about radical social change in my community for over ten years now, and during that time I’ve provided various services to the public. These have ranged from creative arts and sporting events, to workshops about stop and search procedures and intellectual property law.
However, despite my obvious experience of working first hand with marginalised people within my own community, I have nevertheless failed to receive a penny of funding for any of my social projects. As you can imagine, filling out application after application without any success can become disheartening. This is especially true in light of the allegations of misused funds that have been levelled at larger organisations like Big Society Network, who clearly have no problems accessing government finances, thanks to the significant resources they already possess.
As a dedicated activist, I’ve become a member of several non-profit organisations over the years that share my desire to bring about real change in the world. Collectively, our need for better access to advice and funding cannot be overstated. As members of marginalised communities ourselves, we believe that we are best placed to identify the most effective solutions to the problems that we face. Unfortunately, everything we do requires finances, and our services are often reliant on volunteers and the good-will of the public to continue.
This is why it is so important to support grassroots groups like Edge Fund. Although I have been disappointed with fund providers in the past, I have made an exception with Edge Fund because they describe themselves as an organisation that supports radical social change. It’s been encouraging to meet with them and discuss my future projects, as they place an emphasis on listening to the people and communities that they support. By taking this approach, Edge Fund has avoided the “top-down” tendencies of other organisations that can often ride roughshod over the aspirations and concerns of those they are attempting to help”.
“Dear Edge Fund, we are so glad you exist!!! It’s been an incredible challenge, as a group of transgender students in Ireland, to obtain funding for our critical activities of peer support, obtaining a safe space, and upskilling ourselves on activism. We are marginalised both within our College and University settings, and in wider Irish society as a whole . Ireland is the last remaining country in Europe to have not yet recognised trans* experiences governmentally through Gender Recognition Legislation. Needless to say, there is not funding at government level for our work, and we find this exclusion to oftentimes be mirrored within community and advocacy work as well as in third-level education. We are overshadowed by ‘gay’ groups or non-trans*-inclusive ‘LGBT’ work, with our needs being so unique that having our own space to talk through experiences and support one another is fundamental to our work. We rely heavily not only on volunteers, but also on free and low cost use of space, which often comes at the price of limited safety and security. We are working to create a world where trans* people feel safe on campus as well as in wider society, but we have a long road ahead of us. To us, the best start begins in finding one another (we are spread throughout the island, many of us alone in our own communities). From these connections, we provide lifesaving support to one another. In the past year, we have seen our members ‘come out’ to family, friends and peer groups, and we have all truly blossomed in our identities. We do not have a choice but to continue finding each other and to ‘pay it forward’ to the new potential group members we have yet to make our friends! Thanks and solidarity!”
Irish Trans* Students’ Alliance (ITSA)
“It is increasingly difficult to exist if you dare to go into consumer spaces and do anything other than spend money, if you use the streets for anything other than getting to work, if you name and highlight social oppressions on the bus or are heard to use the term ‘anti-capitalism’. It can’t be anywhere on your website or anywhere in your public discourse or you are instantly shunned from all collaborations, funding, support. In London finding space to focus and train each other to tackle corporations and institutions through radical theatre is nigh impossible as workshop space soars. The crack down on squatting means there are few dependable spaces with the right conditions to meet and train and they rarely last long. We need anything we can get to have the resources just to keep our work alive!”
Alex, Experimental Experience
“We are a group of disabled and non-disabled people active in protests and direct actions against the Work Capability Assessment and other injustices disabled people face, as well as running a small outreach team. We help those who have been left with nothing as a result of brutal government cuts. Our clients certainly are not able to contribute to our costs, so our group, who are all volunteers, are funding ourselves. We don’t have the use of neutral, free, disabled friendly premises, so we mostly have to travel to clients, or meet in cafes, which adds to travel and other costs. We want to be able to offer more professional self help workshops and have a high profile at protests, with better materials, however currently, our funding is only enough to cover basic costs of helping our clients and very minimal leaflets and banners. Money from the Edge Fund would enable us to reach out to more disabled people, giving them skills to help themselves. It would enable us to raise awareness of the issues, highlighting what disabled people are facing in the current political climate. With a higher public profile, it will also be easier for us to raise funds for ourselves”.
Jennifer, Disability Solidarity Network
“Our campaign has been met with obstructive council officers, incomplete legal advice, and being blocked from addressing that legal advice with the council. With the Westminster elite enforcing their local parties to resist fighting austerity and the media backing that up, we have to work much harder to reach out to people just to tell them there is a legal and practical option in which to fight local austerity that can help the majority and tax the rich. We have an answer but the many vested interests don’t want us to succeed. We’re still moving forwards and every £1 of support goes a long way”.
David, New Deal for Brighton and Hove
“No-one in society can argue that there are enough provisions in place to tackle gangs or youth violence. Unfortunately, it is rare to find the holistic, impartial, neutral and non-judgemental support that Get Outta The Gang provides to young people. We are a youth-led organisation using innovative and creative methods which some may describe as risky, but we feel these new approaches are vital because young people are killing each other, so this is a life or death issue. Many funders are not willing to aid us to take the risks we feel are necessary to truly combat gangs and youth violence, but the Edge Fund is willing to support radical methods for social change, which is exactly what we, and many other groups that think like us working in different sectors, are relying on to continue to change the world”.
Temi, Get Outta The Gang
“There is strong evidence that psychiatric drugs taken for long periods are toxic, damaging the brain and shortening life by about 20 years. Yet week after week we hear from people distraught by the way they or a family member is coerced into taking these drugs and forced into hospital with no other choice being offered. We therefore strive, in the face of immense power and vested interests, to show there is a different way of understanding ‘psychosis’ and mental distress, and that there are proven alternative approaches which offer hope of real and lasting recovery. We passionately want to make these alternatives much more known and available for people to choose, and to support those who struggle to resist harm and oppression in the current system”.
Margaret Turner, On behalf of all members of Soteria South-West.
“Grassroot level is the front line help desk for people living in local communities. If we mobilize resources and support grass root groups, we can make their voice heard on a larger scale in the demand of radical social change. More importantly we need to hear the voices of ethnic female minorities who are of undeniable value for the development of our society”.
Anna, Women’s Solidarity Fund
“We can’t apply for most funding because we are not and do not want to be a registered charity because we want to retain our independence and ability to be political – something we could not do as a charity. The attacks on immigrants are political, if we were to reduce ourselves to fit the requirements of a charity we would have to cut off our arms – our ability to criticise and organise politically, to speak the plain truth about racism unhindered. Thats why organisations like the Edge Fund are crucial, our options for funding are so limited; to have an organisation and people willing to fund grass roots organisations, ones that are bold and critical of the system, is amazing”
Movement for Justice
“We really value funds like Edge Fund. It is so hard for tiny groups of people who are fighting for change and for rights to be recognised and access funding. Understandably most funders go for large, established organisations with fundraising departments, finance managers, human resources departments, substantial operating budgets and reserves.
But if we want to build change and a transformative movement then we have to support those committed, hardworking, passionate individuals giving up their time for free at the grassroots who really know what life is like on the frontline.
And the great thing is that they don’t need much money – they don’t have the overheads and the salaries and the premises: a small amount of money goes a very long way when you do things on a small scale at grassroots level.
We are trying to challenge attitudes that enable violence against women, we are working in a context that is complacent and thinks gender equality has been done. It is a context which often finds feminism and women’s rights challenging and hostile – for instance we thought we were going to attract some sponsorship from a company but when the found we were “feminist” they refused to do so”.
“Most charitable funding is tied up with objectives which only treat the symptoms of social problems, not the causes – in other words trying to deal with huge trends like social alienation with band-aids like lunch clubs. On top of this the monitoring and reporting obligations attached to most grants can often take more time to fulfil than the activities for which the funding was given! And of course political activism of any sort rarely gets a look-in. We were very happy to find the Edge Fund, with its commitment to real social change and simple application and administration process.
Unconditional basic income is like a social dividend paid regularly – to each individual, without meanstesting, obligations to work or look for work and high enough for material existence. It would allow full participation in society for all, without the shame, bureaucracy or bullying attached to means-tested and other conditional benefits, or the rank corruption of privatised schemes to ‘help’ people back into work. Between bank bailouts, financial transactions, war and what’s stashed in tax havens there is more than enough money to fund it.
A basic income paid to each individual would help women in violent domestic situations, people on zero-hour and other precarious contracts, people who want to or have to care for family members or friends, people with disabilities currently facing demeaning and vexatious Work Capability Assessments, people made unemployed by technological advances, people who want to set up small businesses or volunteer in their communities, students, activists, people who want to do some real training for work they want to do, communities who might want to pool their money to set up (for example) clean energy projects…
We have already seen an unprecedented amount of coverage for the idea of unconditional basic income over the past year. Basic Income UK wants to get it firmly on the political agenda next year. Basic income is the obvious policy to replace Universal Credit which is neither universal nor paid in credit, and the raft of sadistic welfare reforms brought in by this government.
It is a positive demand to make against the current government’s austerity measures chipping away at every aspect of people’s lives. Everyone deserves the means to live!
Whether we succeed in our own application or not, the Edge Fund is a very special initiative. Please give as much as you can – it will go to groups working for positive social change, not just more band-aids”.
Barb, Basic Income UK
“RADTV is an programme making company specialising in alternative analysis and reporting. We cannot normally apply for charity as we are deemed to be political. Almost all funding is directly or indirectly either state administered or from charitable trusts. So for us the Edge Fund is a very rare opportunity to get funding. It is increasingly hard to make alternative initiatives as potential volunteers struggle to pay the bills and middle class donors feel the pinch”.
PLEASE SUPPORT OUR CROWDFUND AND HELP US SUPPORT GROUPS LIKE THESE!