Need some help with your finances? We provide support for voluntary groups through improving their financial skills, knowledge and practice. The programme offers workshops, 1-2-1 surgeries, large networking events, access to financial toolkits, fact-sheets and more.
Thanks to the generous funding of the City Bridge Trust, Aston-Mansfield are offering this programme free of charge. We will be delivering these activities in eight local places, but we can also visit you and/ or your team at a suitable place. To book a 1-2-1 session or to find out more information, please send an email to: FFP@aston-mansfield.org.uk
The Fitter Finances Programme is open to individuals and voluntary groups that are based in Newham.
Due to the coronavirus situation, our events and meetings with groups have been postponed. However, we are still meeting groups via online mediums.
We have worked closely with a number of local organisations, empowering them to be financially resilient. Below are some of organisations we have worked with.
The Magpie Project, Bajuni, Women Advocacy Group, Art for fun East End Hamlets, Forest Gate Community Garden, Royal dock Community Market, Newham City Farm, Newham Steel Band, African Future Development, Favour of god Ministries, Somali Womens Advisory Network (SWAN) Ltd, Dramatic Momentum, CYANA, Basic Sports and Fitness, Global Support Ministry, Newham Stroke Club, Drop In Bereavement Centre, Money A+E, Fair and Share, Newham Welfare Trust, Jannath Foundation, Newham Chinese Association, Olive Twassey Kids, INUF, Ekota Care Trust, African Future Development, Global Support Ministry, Set 4 Life Promotion, British Asian Women’s Association, Faith in Schools, TWAZKIDS, London Somali Community Association, New horizon Leadership and Enterprise CIC, Forest Cubs, Carpenter’s Café, Community Care Worldwide, Newham Somali association, Salem Health Project
The workshops and training sessions have enabled individuals and groups to be confident in understanding the importance of financial procedures, and the need to apply them to their organisation. One person said: ”I was able to set up my social enterprise.”
Kemar Walford is our Fitter Finance Programme Manager. His experience includes working with mainstream charities such as London Youth, Caritas Anchor House, Ladies Who Learn and the Bromley by Bow Centre. He worked for the Big Lottery Fund for the bulk of his career in grant assessment, management and more recently supporting groups in the West Midlands and East & West London. He also volunteered as a mentor working for Sported in the West Midlands to capacity build small community based sports groups. He is also the Chair of a special interest group of the Institute of Fundraising (Black Fundraiser’s UK). He joined Aston-Mansfield in 2017 where he regularly conducts 1-2-1’s and workshops with Newham based groups, empowering them to be financially stable.
Mustafa Arrale is our Fitter Finance Programme Officer. He has spent over 20 years working and volunteering in the voluntary sector. His jobs have included capacity building, fundraising, consultancy, training, financial advice etc at a variety of organisations, including Ealing CVS. Since 2017, he has been working as the Fitter Finance officer at Aston-Mansfield, and has been supporting groups in Newham develop their skills, knowledge and expertise in financial management. He has also run training on topics such as Gift Aid for groups in Newham.
The Fitter Finance Programme has empowered numerous groups in Newham; from cultural groups to youth charities; they have enabled voluntary groups to be financially resilient. One of the groups they have supported throughout the year is: the Chinese Association (NCA). NCA provides a range of services to the Chinese community in the London Borough of Newham. Its principal activities include elderly luncheon club, interest classes, library service, community projects, and festive and birthdays celebrations.
The NCA faced several issues. For example, their Programme Coordinator, Gill stated that: “most of our board members don’t know English so they don’t know where to apply for funding or don’t have capacity or skills. They don’t have the knowledge of how to fundraise, they were only doing it on a small scale”. The Fitter Finances Programme encouraged the NCA to apply for small, medium and large funding opportunities, and asked them to explore different avenues for income. They also signposted the NCA to several funding applications that they could apply for, explaining to them how to write a strong case. Through going to FFP events, Gill stated: “meeting the funders was very helpful in exploring different ideas. Knowing how to meet the needs of the beneficiaries. Hearing from other organisations was very helpful”. Gill was able to hear from funders who she had not been in contact with.
Gill stated that “we didn’t know how to effectively fundraise, we were only doing it on a small scale… now as a team we are more confident, we don’t give up on funding applications even if they are lengthy. It is very assuring to know that the Fitter Finance team are going to support us”.
It is evident that the Fitter Finance team has enabled the entire team to be more confident: “The center, due to lack of language did not venture out to different places. Now we can talk to different organisations, our members have attended citizens assemblies.”
The team are always looking to improve their services and regularly ask the groups they work with how they would like to move forward, Gill stated: “I would like to learn budget plans and gain further practical support to go through the applications.”
The Fitter Finances team are committed to spending sufficient time with each group that they work with, Gill stated “I am grateful that the team are very generous with their time. They gave us moral support and guidance.”