Learning brief – New Grant Programme focusing on Single Parent Families
We’re looking for a learning partner to support us to capture, develop and act upon learnings from the pilot phase of the redesigned fund.
Turn2us is a national charity offering information and practical help to people facing financial insecurity. Our new strategy sets out a vision where everyone in the UK has financial security so that they can thrive. We contribute to this by offering high quality information and support, strengthening communities through place-based programmes and helping to build a fair and just economy through systems change. Our grants programmes provide financial assistance to support individuals directly and via our network of partners.
We are looking for a learning partner to support us as we pilot a recently re-designed grant programme that will focus on supporting single parent families from ethnically diverse communities. The National Grants Team (13 staff) operates primarily from our London office and has a remit to deliver grant programmes to people across the UK. The team distributes approximately £2.5m of grants per year providing assistance across three grant programmes.
Background and context
The old grant programme’s design, especially the occupational criteria, limited those who could be supported and had a focus on ‘professionals’. This excluded a broad sector of the population, many of whom were likely to be most impacted by financial insecurity. The old design also reinforced historical stereotypes of the ‘deserving and undeserving poor’, perpetuating patriarchal structures and systemic injustice.
Its two-stage application process asked for a lot of financial information, putting the onus on the applicant to prove their need and specifically their occupation status. Its model placed the emphasis of the majority of decision-making power on the grants team and Turn2us. While the fund was open to anyone across the UK who fit the criteria, it was not targeted.
The fund historically has not reached a diverse demographic of people or necessarily reached those people who most need our support. The fund closed in December 2021 whilst it undergoes a complete review and redesign.
The fund’s redesign process
In April 2022 service design agency Noisy Cricket was commissioned to facilitate the redesign process. With a working group of internal and external people including co-production partners, the Noisy Cricket team redesigned a new purpose and approach to grant-making. The fund’s new grant purpose is empowering single parents from the Global Majority – impacted by financial crisis or persistent financial insecurity to thrive independently.
We are exploring definitions and terminology, with co-production partners, but for clarity, people from Africia, Middle East and Asia, The Americas and Caribbean, Antarctica, and Oceania, people who categorise themselves as being Black, Brown, Asian, Dual Heritage and people indigenous to Global South (Global Majority). The fund aims to enable shared understanding to inform purposeful and personal journeys towards financial goals with facilitated support. With new underpinning principles the programme team will seek to apply simple and accessible processes, ground conversations in belief, empathy, and respect, being considerate of diverse needs, leveraging storytelling to help eliminate stigma, and integrating grants with holistic support.
The fund will provide financial support in the form of flexible needs-based grants up tailored to the needs of individuals; however, we understand to help someone change their situation, we envisage grants could be in the region of £4,500 per grantee. We will facilitate regular catch-up calls with grantees to discuss progress, hopes and fears. Partner organisations will work with grantees, offering holistic support to help them feel more connected to their communities.
What we’re looking for
We’re looking for a learning partner to support us to capture, develop and act upon learnings from the pilot phase of the redesigned fund. This support should be informed by the objectives of this fund and the wider objectives for Turn2us as an organisation. We particularly welcome proposals from people from the Global Majority and/or those that have extensive experience working with people from the Global Majority.
• For our team: Test new ways of working and support programme team development.
• For the grant programme: Develop deeper understanding of need and the role of Turn2us in supporting people through the fund.
• For those we support: Better understanding the user journey and potential impact of the fund.
Our products and programmes lead to improved financial security for people most affected by financial shocks.
• People feel they are more financially secure having used Turn2us’s products and programmes.
• Turn2us has a clear understanding of how much money is enough for an individual to thrive.
• Turn2us is free from oppression and centres equity, diversity, inclusion and belonging across all aspects of its work.
We are looking to appoint a learning partner to focus primarily on supporting learning around delivering our objectives for our team and for those we support.
What’s beyond the scope of this brief
We will take a hybrid approach to evaluating the fund, with the internal Insight & Impact team collaborating with appointed consultant or organisation acting as learning partner. Turn2us’s own Insight & Impact team will focus on evaluating the grant success and some audience success. This team will have responsibility for data collection and impact measurement and will primarily focus on evaluating the objectives for our grants programme.
We’re open to suggestions on how to support us to capture, develop and act on learnings and ask you to identify the spaces and methods you would deploy in supporting us in this work.
We envisage that the approach would as a basis include the following activities and deliverables:
- Developing tools or spaces for individual reflection from the grant delivery team
- Designing and facilitating spaces for collaborative learning and to develop ideas to improve our approach.
- A final report identifying opportunities to improve the fund beyond the pilot phase and celebrating the successes so far.
How the evaluation will be used
This work is critical to the success of a high-profile grant programme at Turn2us.
A successful learning partner will support us to:
- Develop our understanding of how to provide a grant fund that is equitable, where people feel respected and safe. We will use this to improve the fund (through action learning) and share this learning across our other grant funds we run.
- Understand the impact of the grant for people & the extent it supports them to achieve financial security.
Skills and experience
We would expect the learning partner to have:
- Experience of supporting organisations to capture, develop and embed learnings at a programmatic level.
- Experience of convening and facilitating a range of internal stakeholders in productive collaboration.
- Knowledge of monitoring, evaluation and learning approaches used in the charitable sector.
- Understanding of the grant making sector and, ideally, experience of supporting programmes aimed at reducing financial insecurity or related experiences.
We are planning to carry out a series of small pilots in identified locations. We are currently co-designing piloting the newly designed fund and anticipate launching in December 2023, at the earliest and would like the consultant onboard by the end of December 2023.
We anticipate this work spanning 12 months but due to the nature of this piece of work this may be shorter/longer depending on how the fund evolves.
We anticipate proposals around £25,000 excluding VAT.
How to respond to this brief
Please respond to this brief in a format of your choosing to Insight@turn2us.org.uk by 1 December 2023. A small number of learning partners will be invited to interview. If you are successful, these will be held on the week starting 11 December 2023.
• A summary explaining why you are interested in this work and what you feel you or your organisation can bring to the project
• A description of how you would approach the work including the methodology or activities you would undertake and the deliverables you would produce
• An indication of how you meet the criteria in the Skills and experience section including at least two examples of work that display how you meet these criteria
• Short bios including key skills and experience of the people who will be working on the project
• A full budget for the project, including VAT (if applicable), the day rate/flat rate for all team members, an estimation of days allocated to the work and any direct costs
• An estimated timeline for the completion of the work
• Contact details of two previous clients you have worked with on similar project