A community project in Derby has won first prize in a funding competition run by a social network.
Artcore, an organisation that promotes community cohesion in the city through arts and crafts based on the belief that arts activity can change lives, wins £500 towards the cost of 'Together We Stand' a community mural project that will help to celebrate the diversity of Derby's multi cutural population. The project will start in July and will involve hundreds of volunteers in the area who will come together to plan, design, resource and complete the project by the end of the summer.
Two second prizes of £250 were also available. Harrogate Volunteer Centre in Yorkshire won one for their 'V in the Park' summer party event which will promote voluntary action and aim to sign up 300 new volunteers. The other prize was won by Hear Us, a mental health charity based in Croydon, London, for their summer 'Well Being Event' for people who are affected by mental illness, their families, carers and staff.
Voting was fierce, with early leaders Kemp Town Carnival being overtaken by Derby who seemed to come from nowhere to take the lead. The second places were also hotly contended and it was a close call where anyone could have won with votes still being cast right up to the closing date.
The funding was provided by new social change network ivo.org to mark their launch in April 2012. Individuals and organisations were invited to submit ideas for events and projects that would help bring people together around a community cause. A total of 26 applications were submitted from across the UK and 8 were shortlisted so the ivo community could vote for the three winners by the 6th June.
Several thousand votes were cast, including over a thousand in the first 24 hours when the shortlist was published on the 22 May, and votes were still being made right up to midnight on the 6th June.
ivo founder Jamie Ward-Smith believes that this approach to funding adds a democratic twist to supporting community causes with limited funds. He said
'This was an exciting initiative to launch with. Almost all of the project ideas were fundable and frankly we would have struggled to decide which should win. Inviting the community to make the decision for us provided a great way to promote all of the ideas, providing added publicity and helping to get buy in from local communities - it's a funding model that we definitely want to do more of.'
'I'm delighted for Artcore, their mural will provide a lasting legacy for community engagement in the area. All of the shortlist and winners should be congratulated for the way they mobilised their supporters to vote - it was really impressive!'