Joining a gym, enrolling in college or getting dental work done shouldn’t be seen as luxuries. But over 20% of people in Islington live in income deprived households and almost 18% of all Islington households are without work, which means that many families and individuals can’t even consider them as optional extras.
The Catalyst Programme awards up to £500 to peopleon low incomes to pay for opportunities that make a difference, shifting the focus from basic needs to personal goals. It’s a different way of funding that devolves power to organisations and ultimately to the individuals they work with.
We’ve been running this programme for 10 years, captured learning which can be used in other communities, and stories which show how this approach humanises people and changes lives.
Quick and easy to award
Unlike most grants awards processes, the Catalyst Programme keeps it simple for everyone involved. The programme doesn’t involve lots of rules. Simple criteria shape the spirit and boundaries of the scheme.
- Have a strong relationship with the people they work with, so that together they can think beyond immediate challenges or needs and develop ideas around their ambitions and potential.
- Are given a budget of £10,000 over 2 years to pay for items or experiences identified by people they work with. Up to £500 can be awarded to one person.
- Have full control over their budgets, giving the ability and flexibility to respond quickly to ideas and “seize the moment”.
- Needn’t refer a proposal or apply to the funder, and don’t need to jump through hoops to make an award. Decisions are taken quickly, often within day.
Can I start a Catalyst Programme?
Of course. Any funder can replicate the Catalyst model. You can choose local partners, provide guidance, and set expectations for impact measurement in a way that suits you. Remember that the principles of Catalyst are flexibility, trust, and a focus on people.
Are you interested in replicating the programme?
Get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you want to help us spread the word about the Catalyst Programme, share this blog in your social media channels and use #IslingtonCatalyst.