Funding Round 5 comes to a successful end.
On Saturday 23rd January, almost twenty community groups came together at the Queen Mother Moore School in Clapham, a venue with a 30+ year history of activism; from Maya Angelou to Desmond Tutu, and Michael Manley has personally visited this humble place.
Although it was an early Saturday morning, the atmosphere was bright. As someone commented on later in the day, this was a room of people who represented the many corners of society and the people who are at the forefront of working against systems of oppression. Groups included the Focus E15 , Manchester Migrant Solidarity, Sex Workers Breakfast and Belfast Solidarity Federation.
The purpose of the day revolves around shortlisted applicants and Edge Fund members learning more about the work being done by this gathering of experienced community organisations. There was an opportunity for each group to give a two minute presentation, and then we set up stalls around the room to have further in-depth discussion about the nature of the projects and the plans for the Edge funding they would be receiving. We hope that these interactions allow for a cross-fertilisation of ideas, and for the amazing people in the room feel empowered and celebrate one another’s work.
It was great to hear from all the other organisations and the great work that they are doing – The process was really interesting and I think we can learn a lot about the distribution of resources
When not engaging around work, we enjoyed performances from dynamic young performers Maverick and Malachi, two brothers, whose activism takes the form of beatboxing and rapping about their life in Southwest London. As their chorus goes “I’m just trying to keep true to myself, I hate living in a world, we’re unequal we’re confused and abused by material wealth “, which rang so true for the reason why we were all gathered in the room together.
A later performance came from Xana, a member of the Care Collective , a disabled and able-bodied queer trans intersex people led group, created to provide a safe and reliable network for those who need assistance. Creating layers of sound on her looper, the song “Speak proper English” was a powerful hit in a week when David Cameron stated that migrants must learnt to speak English, forgetting his government have dramatically slashed funding for free ESOL classes.
The day ended in the serious business of voting for how much money each shortlisted community group would receive. Everyone in the room was given 30 chickpeas which they dropped into the pots of the projects they thought should get different levels of funding, based on the interactions and sharing during the day.
Prior to the voting, a crucial discussion was started up by one of the applicants as to why we do not share the money out equally amongst groups, a discussion that has been explored by Edge Fund members through the last five founding rounds. It was a significant moment to remind everyone that Edge Fund is membership based organisation, and we welcome input from new members particularly from groups we have funded or may do so in the future. Joining us will enable you to shape how Funding Round 6 will look like.
You can also read more on the this great blog from Michael Hamilton on his experience of the day: http://michaelehamilton.com/a-day-with-the-edge-fund/